Visions of Textiles Dancing in My Head...

Leonore Tawney
The Bride Has Entered, 1982
Art Institute of Chicago

Lenore Tawney (May 10, 1907 – September 24, 2007) was an American artist who became an influential figure in the development of fiber art. Originally trained as a weaver, the above work was done later in her career, when she had abandoned traditional textile design and began to use fiber purely as an art form. The above piece is made from cotton, plain weave; painted with pigment and gold leaf; attached linen threads in grid pattern... I nearly cried when I saw it. It is that beautiful. Imagine my surprise when I Google her name and found she also began to make collages later in life...

Lenore's work is currently hanging in a smaller gallery at The Art Institute of Chicago (AIC) in an exhibit called Contemporary Fiber Art: A Selection from the Permanent Collection, which explores how fiber art has developed as an art form from the middle of the 20th century through today using examples from The Institutes vast collection of textiles. The exhibit  is featured at the in conjunction with June Wayne's Narrative Tapestries: Tidal Waves, DNA, and the Cosmos - (November 3, 2010–February 7, 2011).

Photography was not allowed in the gallery, so I was not able get images of the amazing fiber artists shown. Like The Bride Has Entered, I was captivated by many of the pieces like the work of Marie-Hélène Guelton, Luba Krejce, and Robert Sailors... I came home inspired for some paper hangings I want to try. For me there is a real connection between textiles and paper. One which I am happy to continue to explore...

You can access AIC's amazing Department of Textiles, which contains more than 13,000 textiles and 66,000 sample swatches ranging from 300 B.C, by clicking HERE. Here also are a few pieces from the show...


1) Tawney in her South Street studio, New York City, working on Vespers, 1961. 2) Another shot of "The Bride Has Entered"; 3) "God of Dreaming," by Luba Krejce; and 4) "Red Doors," by Robert D Sailors.

Book Suggestion: 

Lenore Tawney: Signs on the Wind: Postcard Collages

 Noted weaver Lenore Tawny--now well into her 90s and still exhibiting her imaginative work--began creating postcard collages in the 1960s, sending them to friends and colleagues through the U.S. mail. A form of communication without specific messages, the cryptic notations were often enhanced by Tawney's handwriting. As Tawney explains the cards, "They were signs thrown to the wind." The selected postcard collages reveal the creative, mystical, and humorous side of the artist, giving the viewer an intimate glimpse into the personality of this most innovative woman.



  2. Hi Paper girl-- I have the book of collages by Lenore Tawney SIGNS OF THE WIND. She was a fabulous collage artist too.

  3. Thanks Donna, that's nice to know, I was thinking about purchasing that book. Think I will now.