Technique and manufacture

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'''Technique and manufacture'''
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<b>Technique and manufacture</b>
  
'''The technique is, in theory, a simple one.'''&nbsp; A loom is needed, which may be one of two types: horizontal (known as a low-warp loom) or vertical (a high-warp loom). In both cases, the loom has two cylinders; strong threads, usually made of wool, are arranged in parallel between them, close to one another. This is known as the “warp”, and its length determines the width of the tapestry, while the space occupied by the loom in the cylinders determines the height. The weavers would pass finer, coloured threads transversally over this base, upwards and downwards in turn. These threads could be made of wool, silk or, as was often the case, silver and gold. This part, which is the visible side of the tapestry, is known as the “weft”. However, despite its apparent simplicity, tapestry making was extraordinarily hard work carried out in highly specialised workshops. Tapestries came with a high price tag attached.  
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<b>The technique is, in theory, a simple one</b>. Firstly the warp thread is set up using strong yarns, usually wool, arranged close together in parallel. The weft, which creates the visible part of the tapestry, is then threaded into this structure. Other finer threads of silk, or sometimes gold or silver, are interlaced with the warp thread by passing them over and under the warp at right angles. However, despite its apparent simplicity, tapestry making is extraordinarily hard work done in highly specialized workshops.  
  
'''A tapestry could only be made with a model as a starting point. '''This ''disegno'', or ''petit patron'', was a drawing on a reduced scale which was not usually made in colour; sometimes it was preceded by a simple sketch. Once the person commissioning the tapestry had approved it, the painter, often with the help of those in his workshop, created a “cartoon”. This word comes from the fact that the model was copied onto a paper base (the Spanish for “cartoon” is “cartón”, which also means “paper” or “card”). The cartoon was created in colour and was the same size as the final tapestry. The weavers worked directly on this cartoon. On low-weft looms, the cartoon was placed beneath the warp, and thus, as the weaving was carried out from behind, the image would be inverted in the final tapestry. The painters had to bear this in mind when creating their designs.
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<b>To produce a tapestry panel a pattern is needed</b>. A painter would usually create a sketch on a reduced scale and other painters would then enlarge this into what was called a tapestry cartoon, the same size as the tapestry. The weavers would then work directly on this cartoon.
 
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'''This was not the case with vertical looms''', because the work was not done directly on the cartoon. Instead, the cartoon was reflected in a mirror which the weaver worked from. Because of this double inversion, the final tapestry showed the same image as the cartoon.
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Revision as of 12:30, 2 December 2014



Briseis is returned to Achilles by Nestor.
This is one of the cartoons Rubens made for a series of tapestries based on the life of Achilles.
Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain.

Technique and manufacture

The technique is, in theory, a simple one. Firstly the warp thread is set up using strong yarns, usually wool, arranged close together in parallel. The weft, which creates the visible part of the tapestry, is then threaded into this structure. Other finer threads of silk, or sometimes gold or silver, are interlaced with the warp thread by passing them over and under the warp at right angles. However, despite its apparent simplicity, tapestry making is extraordinarily hard work done in highly specialized workshops.

To produce a tapestry panel a pattern is needed. A painter would usually create a sketch on a reduced scale and other painters would then enlarge this into what was called a tapestry cartoon, the same size as the tapestry. The weavers would then work directly on this cartoon.


Miguel Ángel Zalama



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