Tapestry of the Heart

It is a daunting task to weave a tapestry of an important person. Do I have enough skill to give what this project deserves? I started with a photograph of a beautiful woman in her eventide years, and made a workable cartoon. The person in the picture is someone who has significantly influenced my appreciation of beauty all around. This is my mother.

Tapestry weaving that starts with a photo of a beautiful woman.
Photo enlargement is printed and taped onto poster board. I keep it near the loom for reference while I’m weaving.
Planning a new 4-shaft pictorial tapestry!
Cartoon replica is printed and taped to foam board. I plan out butterflies for the first few rows of the tapestry and pin them in their place on the picture. Yarn overflow is on the windowsill beside the loom.

In preparation for the tapestry, I have been weaving sample areas of the cartoon. The eyes, the chin and neck, the mouth, the edge of the ear. The biggest lessons I’ve learned are to exaggerate contrasts in value, and to dull the colors that are adjacent to colors that I want to appear bright. It’s time to step out and give myself to the task. This is where I aspire to show more than the unique features of my mother’s face. It’s where I show her heart.

Beginning wool butterflies for a new tapestry.
First row of the tapestry has only four butterflies. Additional butterflies are added gradually over the next few rows. (Tapestry begins with a few rows of white 6/1 tow linen.)
Weaving a pictorial tapestry of this lovely woman.
Printed reference cartoon helps me check my work as I go along. The cartoon that is under the weaving on the loom is not only larger, it is printed at a lighter setting, which makes a better weaving guide for me.

A generous heart always has enough. Giving out of our surplus is not generosity. However, if I give you what I’d rather keep, I give you some of myself. Give time, resources, support. Share talents, fascinations, insights. Mom, thanks for giving me so much of yourself.

May your loved ones benefit from your generosity.

With gratitude,

16 thoughts on “Tapestry of the Heart

    1. Hi Beth, The first line of one of my mother’s favorite hymns is “Abide with me, fast falls the eventide.” That phrase came to mind when I was writing this. Eventide is a gentle and honorable way to describe these years. Thank you so much for your kind encouragement.


    1. Hi, A Schipf, You are describing what I hope to portray. It’s her eyes that tell the story. Thank you so much for seeing what’s in her eyes.


  1. Your mother is in good company. My friend Barbara Burns is a tapestry weaver mentored by Archie Brennan. She does tapestry “portraits” as well as other glorious works. Her work can be seen at Markings Gallery in Bath Maine as well as Burns Studio in Harpswell. Both have websites.

    1. Hi Stephanie, I have seen pictures of some of Barbara Burns’ wonderful tapestries. Thank you so much for the information. I will look up those websites today!


  2. Good morning Karen,
    Your cartoon caught the love between you and your mom. Precious.

    Coming after you siblings tapestry, no doubt the final project will represent what you described.

    The weather report from the Wisconsin northwoods is snow dusting. Nothing like the impressive snowfalls in the middle of the US. Thank goodness. The shingles were taken off yesterday. 😉

    Am I seeing a twill weave?

  3. Karen, you have such a generous heart giving of yourself with kindness.
    This tribute to your mother shows as a work of love. I also see her humor, love and kindness reflected there.

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