As you approach and enter the new Periodicals Reading Room on the first floor of Carrier Library you will notice the latest addition to the room. This tapestry, by art department faculty member Barbara Lewis, depicts the landscape of the Shenandoah valley. Lewis is influenced by her natural surroundings and draws her inspiration from nature. The Blue Ridge series depicts fluctuations of daylight upon the hills of the Shenandoah valley.
This piece is woven in the Gobelins tapestry technique, which uses an upright loom. and is worked from the front of the piece. In tapestry weaving the weft (horizontal yarn) does not travel edge to edge, it only covers warp (the lengthwise yarns) to the edge of the color block, where the next color starts. Using a hand-held comb the threads are pushed down to cover the warp threads. Strands of different colored wools are wound onto bobbins to blend the colors. A tapestry in process can have hundreds of bobbins, each with a blend of different colors. Close inspection of this tapestry reveals the complexity of the color blending. Thirty-five or more were blended to form the palette of this piece. The tapestry seems to change as the daylight flows across it, just the way the Blue Ridge mountains change from morning to evening. This tapestry was a direct gift from the JMU Foundation.
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