Molly Elkind’s Collage to Tapestry Workshop

I had a fun weekend adding tools to my workbox of tapestry design techniques when Molly Elkind came to the Weavers Guild of Minnesota. The rest of the world dropped away as the industrious class worked away–thinking, planning, weaving. It was a joy.  One of my favorite parts of participating in a workshop where student projects vary so greatly is following the explorations of others–color combinations, choices of yarns, and images.

I guessed that Molly would deliver an interesting and thought-provoking workshop ever since I read her detailed blog post about using collage for tapestry, and the importance of sampling.  See: Using a Collage to Make a Tapestry Design: The ATA 2018 Blog Tour.” You should follow Molly’s blog, at: See her website at, and her Instagram feed at @mollyelkind.

We started with a day of collage-making.  Some were five-minute-quick, such a great challenge. In the afternoon we made many more at our leisure. One thing I learned was that cutting shapes from paper freehand, rather than drawing and cutting out shapes, frees me from too much precision and adds life to the image.

I had a plan in my head for a collage theme, and for my sample.  I abandoned it, and went with a different challenge.  This is the collage of which I wove a small section.  It was inspired by a book of Lenore Tawney postcard collages.  When making it, I grabbed an old issue of Art in America and set myself the challenge of using circular images. You can see that it was made as a postcard (so really not complete without writing and stamps), with places to write the address and the return address.

The second day was devoted to analyzing our collages and choosing what we might weave as a sample.

The small bit I chose–circles are always a challenge, right? I knew the red and white section would be difficult to weave in a small piece and still retain the look of meandering red lines. I was right; it looks OK in the weaving, but the lines, woven in a vertical orientation, are certainly not smooth.  
I scaled it up to weave on my six-inch wide warp, and thought about the values of each section. 
Color cartoon on vellum

Day three, weaving.

In process.
I wove on my Glimåkra tapestry loom (an older model, no longer available, which I got for a steal at the Weavers Guild of Minnesota).

My sample wove up quickly, using doubled yarns.  The process was very instructional.  For those of you into the technical weaving part of this, when I wove the bottom angle of the green square, I made my turns of the black section on the covered warps. It made a jagged, rather than smooth line. I realized that I would have to do it the same way on the other two sides. I liked the jagged-y look. My yellow circle was pretty successful, and I was especially happy that I was able to position the lines at the top and the bottom to actually look like a circle. Here’s looking at you!



  1. Robbie, you are such a fantastic Weaver, Organizer and Person. I feel so fortunate to know you. Have a great day, Patty

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Robbie, I especially liked your comment about abandoning your original plan…..your piece is great, lots of movement and intrigue.

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