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The Daily Tar Heel

Q&A with tapestry teacher Amelia Roberts

Multifaceted artist Amelia Roberts is teaching a tapestry weaving class Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Hillsborough Road Co-op in Carrboro.

Staff member Tat’yana Berdan spoke with Roberts about what she hopes people learn from the class and why tapestry weaving is a significant art form.

Daily Tar Heel: Can you describe your class in detail?

Amelia Roberts: The class is basically teaching people how to do tapestry weaving.

The way I am approaching it is like a sketchbook. It’s about just experimenting and having fun.

DTH: Why did you choose tapestry weaving as the subject of your class?

AR: Because it is a skill I have that a lot of people I know expressed an interest in learning how to do.

And I thought it would be fun to offer it.

DTH: How did you initially become interested in tapestry weaving as an art form?

AR: I was a textiles major at Savannah College of Art and Design, and tapestry weaving was one of the first things that we learned.

I thought it was a cool way to create art using weaving as almost a drawing, painting medium.

DTH: Can you tell me a little bit about the history of tapestry weaving?

AR: It’s a really ancient type of art. Many tapestries have been found in Egyptian tombs, and I am pretty sure it’s a lot older than that.

Textiles, in general, are really hard to know the history of because they predate written history and many of them don’t preserve well.

In terms of what we know about recent history, the Bauhaus weavers in Germany, in the 1920s, created tapestries (to reach out) to a wider audience.

When many of them emigrated to the U.S. during World War II, (the art form) continued here, and it has spread. Now it’s a modern art practice.

DTH: What do you hope students will get out of taking your class?

AR: I hope that students will take away new skills, first of all.

I also hope they will take away an appreciation for the importance of tapestry weaving and see it as a way to play and experiment.

DTH: How do you plan on structuring the course?

AR: It’s going to begin by preparing our looms. Then we’ll learn some stitches, and I will give people time to practice those while I go around helping people individually.

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Then we will probably learn some more stitches and take out some experimental materials.

DTH: Why do you think tapestry weaving is an important art form?

AR: I think tapestry weaving is important in terms of preserving craft mediums in the field of art.
The reason I am teaching this workshop is for fun and entertainment.

Also, North Carolina has a rich textile history and I think that having that connection to the past is important.

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