I’ve been making small tapestry portraits of family members, mostly to explore portraiture in tapestry and to experiment with different yarns. The small pieces are so instructive. I wove an small-scale interpretation of a large wall portrait of my great-grandfather August Von Wurden more than a year ago, but was inspired to mount it nicely in order to enter it in the Minnesota State Fair.
It won a blue ribbon! Here’s the original portrait.
Since I was on a roll, I decided to finish and mount the tapestry of his wife, my great-grandmother Gunvalda. Edge threads had hung half-knotted for more than a year. The portrait experiment in this case was using blocks of color to create the image. I also used doubled threads so the resulting piece is a bit stiffer that the previous piece.
The process was rewarding; steaming and blocking transformed the lopsided, flimsy textile. Overall I don’t think the experiment had a fabulous result, but I found it interesting that it is more appealing when seen from a distance than viewing it close at hand.
Here is the larger photograph from which I adapted the portrait.
I love this image. Great-Grandmother Gunvalda is clad in Victorian glory, while her daughter, my great-aunt Valborg, sports a flapper-style dress and haircut. What was the occasion?