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The Appeal of Contemporary Art Tapestries

Drawing from History for Today's Homes

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Godfrey Bazalgette writes on a number of subjects related to art and history. He has offered this article for publication on About.com.

Since antiquity people have used textiles for all range of purposes. From blankets for warmth, to elaborate woven fabrics for commerce, they have been at the very center of human life.

The need for textiles, combined with our desire to embellish the world around us, has given rise to a huge range of fabric-based art, everything from basic colored cloth to complex woven textiles. Tapestries and wall hangings have long been one of the most accomplished forms of this art, having a history dating back millennia, and artists from almost all cultures have contributed some form of textile wall art.

Recently tapestries and wall hangings have enjoyed a rise in interest, with many people looking beyond traditional options for wall decor. The tactile nature of tapestries, combined with their long history, has made them once again a choice for the discriminating home improver.

  • Contemporary Tapestry Design

    Although there are a vast range of traditional designs available, a more recent development is the growth in contemporary art as a basis for modern tapestry designs. Because of the nature of the modern weaving process almost any design can be successfully incorporated into a tapestry, providing the weaver has the skill to do so. This has led many contemporary artists to consider wall tapestries as an alternative medium to framed canvases and prints.

    The range of artists who now license their original work for tapestry wall hangings is impressive, and growing. Leading contemporary artists such as Malenda Trick, Elizabeth Brandon and Stewart Sherwood are now being introduced to a whole new group of art lovers.

    Encompassing a vast range of subject matter, from modern cityscapes and impressionist inspired landscapes, to idyllic coastal scenes and fantasy art, these contemporary works of art are adding a new dimension to fabric design, marrying traditional weaving techniques with modern, vibrant images.

    Although prints enjoy a unique position in home décor, paintings and designs from these popular artists are increasingly exploiting the unique qualities of woven textiles. The tactile nature of wall hangings adds depth and texture to these already impressive works and makes a distinctive alternative to framed art often bringing alive the designs in ways not originally planned by the artists.

  • Modern Textile Art

    Additionally many textile artists who use fabric as their main medium are enjoying a renewed prominence in the art world. Rather than plying their art in paintings there are a growing number of artists using tapestries and other types of wall hanging as their primary medium for expression. Modern artists such as Ulrika Leander, Monique Lehman and Elda Abramson combine their artistic vision with the depth and range available through fabrics to create a new, modern twist on this ancient art.

    Many of these textile works of art are abstract in nature, often employing bold colors and striking, modern designs that incorporate the weave of the fabric as an essential part of the design to create a depth not available with traditional materials like canvas. As a home décor option they can add a splash of color to brighten up a room, and often become a great focal point in almost any setting.

    Like abstract art prints, contemporary tapestry designs often allow art lovers to take more of a chance with their wall décor choices. Unlike a traditional painting, where the subject matter can be too modern, old-fashioned, fussy or just plain wrong, contemporary art allows us to concentrate more on the hues and tones of a piece to match the ambience of a room. Because of this they often afford a great deal of flexibility when decorating, adding to the reasons so many are looking towards contemporary tapestry art for their wall décor choices.

  • An Ancient Appeal

    Contemporary artists are increasingly attracted to tapestries and textiles primarily because the individuality of the weaving process makes each piece produced a unique work of art unlike any other. In a world driven by mass production art lovers are often drawn to the uniqueness of wall tapestries as an antidote to the monotony of many other options.

Now, despite their ancient origins, many people are again looking towards tapestries and wall hangings as an answer to their modern home decor aspirations. With an ever growing range of options the choice has never been better for art lovers.

Read other articles about using tapestries for home decor at The Tapestry House.

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