A few weeks ago, my friend and I visited a fabulous fabric store in Toronto. She likes to sew and was looking for some fabric. The photos in this collage were taken there. It was delightful to admire all the tapestries with their beautiful colours and diversity of patterns. Quite suddenly, I thought of the weavers who had spent countless hours to produce these priceless works of art.
They were, in fact, very expensive. Although many people I know have fine Oriental rugs, I haven’t seen too many tapestries hanging on their walls. I wondered about when humankind started to create these exotic masterpieces and this is what I found: “Tapestries have been woven for hundreds of years in diverse cultures. Both ancient Egyptians and the Incas buried their dead in tapestry woven clothing. Important civic buildings of the Greek Empire, including the Parthenon, had walls covered by them. However it was the French medieval weavers who brought the craft to fruition. In the 13th and 14th centuries the Church recognized the value of tapestries in illustrating Bible stories to its illiterate congregations. Few of these have survived. The oldest existing set is the Apocalypse of St John, six hangings 18 foot high, totalling 471 foot in length which were woven from 1375 to 1379 in Paris. This was the centre of production until the Hundred Years War (1337 – 1453) caused the weavers to flee north via Arras to Flanders (now Belgium and northern France).” None of the tapestries that I saw were anything the size of the one mentioned here and don’t portray any Biblical scenes. They are just meant to bring joy to those who hang them on their walls and not to teach any lessons.
I don’t know much about the kind of weaving I’ve been admiring. One kind of “weaving” I know is weaving in and out of traffic, crowds, and the like. The other kind of “weaving” is a lot like making a tapestry. The weaver chooses the colour of the threads for the tapestry and follows the pattern to completion. The finished product looks beautiful on the finished side. We don’t see the threads that have become tangled or knotted on the other side. Nothing’s perfect.
This other kind of weaving is called “weavinga life.” It’s about trying to make a “perfect” life or, at least, to make it seem that way to others. I don’t want to let others see the other side – the threads that have become tangled or knotted. I want that beautiful tapestry. However, the weaving is still going on: “The tapestry of life continues to be woven. Occasionally a chance arises to repair an older, tattered piece of the weave. Something happens to jolt our awareness back in time to an event that resulted in tears and rips. With new, more mature vision, we see the circumstances in present time and have compassion for the unclear events of the past. While the new experience is being woven into the design, the old rip is simultaneously being repaired. All is well.” -Bessie Senette
Hope you are captivated by the beauty of the tapestries in this collage as much as I was. Enjoy!