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Celebration of Scholarship and Creative Activity 2023

Explorations in Fiber Through Weaving

Sarah Vandersee

Junior, Fine Arts


Over the pandemic, I became fascinated with the medium of fiber for the unique tactile experiences it can produce and its wide variety of applications. In further exploring these applications, I became interested in the process of loom weaving as it was a completely new use of fiber that I had yet to try. Since then, I have experimented with smaller looms and while they were excellent for small, quick projects, I wanted to expand my options to the much larger floor loom. The goal of my research then became to understand the basics of operating a large 54” width loom using foot treadles instead of hand switches and the opportunities this would allow me. I took inspiration from Zapotec and Oaxacan tapestry weavers to explore the designs, colors, and techniques they use to make their unique textiles. I also was inspired by the ponchos and raunas of Peru and wanted to create something similar from alpaca, which allowed me to use the full capabilities of the treadles to create a complex weave. In doing this, I aim to explore textiles from other cultures, learn the basics of operating a floor loom, and combine these elements to create visually and physically pleasing textiles using the design concepts of color, texture, and pattern.

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