The show starts with large three historic tapestries.
The first is Birth of the Prince of Peace. It was woven in an unknown Flemish workshop, probably in Tournai, in 1510 - 1530. It is an allegorical tapestry and here we see the new mother receiving her son (the prince of peace) from her attendant. The baby is difficult to see now as those yarns have faded in color in the five centuries since it was woven.
|Birth of the Prince of Peace (detail)|
|Birth of the Prince of Peace|
|The Five Senses (detail)|
This piece got 300 hours of restoration work and is about 9 by 20 feet. During this time period, poor quality silk was used and the parts of the tapestry that were silk (large parts of the sky, part of a pig, other parts that they wanted to be shinier), have largely disappeared. Alison McCloskey, the conservator who talked about this work, said that metals were added to silk at that time. The metals made the silk weaker and it breaks easily.
|Village Festival (I have also seen it called Peasant's Feast)|
This is the frame they used to restore the piece. It has two large rollers on each side and they can scroll through the tapestry as they work.
|Village Festival on restoration frame at the Denver Art Museum|
|Village Festival, detail of restoration|
Here is a detail of Birth of the Prince of Peace which I saw being restored a few months prior to Village Festival. You can see the DMC floss. This tapestry, though a couple hundred years older, is in better shape. There are some old repairs and multiple slit sewings that had to be removed. The old repairs were either done in an orange color or the colors have changed in the intervening centuries. The conservation team did remove some of those old repairs especially in the faces of the figures where they were extremely distracting.
|Birth of the Prince of Peace, restoration in process|
The photo below shows a few of the old repairs in an orangish, thicker tapestry weave. They are the blotches that don't seem to fit. You can also see where the slits have been resewn repeatedly. Alison thought there were perhaps 20 different resewings over the 500 years this tapestry has been around. You can see more images of the restoration of these tapestries in THIS POST.
|Birth of the Prince of Peace (detail of repairs)|
|Village Festival (detail)|
Here are some overview photos from the exhibit followed by some more details.
|left to right: Josep Grau Garriga, Mark Adams, Irvin Trujillo, James Koehler, Ramona Sakiestewa|
|Irvin Trujillo, Saltillo Shroud (right), Don Leon Sandoval, Las Cinco Estrellas (left)|
|Saltillo Shroud (detail)|
|Ason Yellowhair, Bird and Flower Pictorial Rug (detail)|
This massive piece that you see from all over the gallery was woven by Josep Grau-Garriga (Catalan, 1929 - 2011). He studied with Jean Lurcat in France and then returned to Spain where he became the director of the Catalan School of Tapestry. He took traditional tapestry into a sculptural form which, in this piece, was meant to be viewed in the round.
The very large, Flight of Angels, designed by Mark Adams (1925 - 2006), was woven in 1962 by Paul Avignon in Aubusson, France.
Ramona Sakiestewa is an artist/weaver of Hopi heritage.
James Koehler had a piece in the show and you can see more photos as well as watch five videos the museum made about his work and practice HERE.
|Josep Grau Garriga, Tapis Pobre|
|Mark Adams, Flight of Angels|
|Flight of Angels (detail)|
|Flight of Angels (detail); Mark Adams' signature with the atelier's mark|
|Ramona Sakiestewa, Katsina 5|
|Rebecca Bluestone, Four Corners/8, 1997|