Join tapestry artist Shelley Socolofsky for La Romita’s first workshop in the fiber arts!
You will begin your workshop by sourcing local plants and sheep’s wool from the Umbrian landscape, then dye the wool using the very recipes dating back to the 10th century. The natural dyeing of wool and linen during Medieval Europe regularly took place in convents and monasteries. What an amazing experience it will be to dye a full spectrum palette at the very location dyers used hundreds of years ago at La Romita!
The group will travel to a special set of La Romita’s usual destinations, gathering sources of inspiration for tapestry designs, taking photographs of the rich surfaces found on architectural elements and developing a series of small tonal drawings inspired by the light and shadow play of the hills and architectural planes. You will then create – through collage and experimental drawing – compelling compositions to be used as “cartoons” for our tapestries. Through guided one-on-one discussions and group collaboration, you will learn to translate your compositions into weaveable designs.
Using medieval tapestry techniques of the Aubusson and Gobelins, the group will practice the ancient craft of tapestry weaving, translating those field sketches into handwoven contemporary relics using naturally dyed woolens.
Students with little or no experience will be comfortable in this course as will the more experienced weaver.
There will be an additional $100 lab-fee to cover the costs of wool, dye materials, and the loom.
Students will be provided a small portable frame loom at the workshop and will be able to complete several small tapestries during our stay. These small looms are easily transportable making for the possibility of weaving onsite in the landscape an option. The looms are about 12” x 20” and can easily be transported home in a suitcase after the workshop.
Shelley’s passion for tapestry weaving began as a young student abroad. A weekend visit to Musée national du Moyen Âge Cluny in Paris changed the course of her life when she encountered the Unicorn tapestries, woven between 1495-1505. After that chance encounter, Shelley went on to study with Gobelin tapestry masters in France and Jacquard weavers in Italy before earning an MFA in textiles. Today Shelley’s practice engages both ancient haptic and contemporary digital methods of tapestry production.
Her current work is rooted in philosophies of Shintoism, exploring ideas of impermancene, transformation, and the interconnectedness of the animate to the inanimate. The ritual, rhythmic process of weaving and the networks created through the interlacement of systems offer up a language of thread connecting past, present, and future, reminding us of our place within larger systems.
Shelley’s work has been exhibited at venues including FOFA Gallery Millieux Institute for Arts, Culture and Technology, Concordia in Montreal, Quebec, Canada; New Hampshire Institute of Art, Manchester; Urban Institute of Contemporary Art, Grand Rapids; Praxis Gallery, Cleveland; Sarratt Gallery at Vanderbilt, Nashville; Bellevue Art Museum, Seattle; San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, San Jose. Recent residencies include the Civita Institute, Civita di Bagnoregio, Italy and The Jacquard Center, North Carolina; with fellowships awarded from the Oregon Arts Commission National Endowment for the Arts, the Astra Zarina Fellowship of Seattle, and the Chenven Foundation of New York. Her work can be found in public collections and publications in the United States, United Kingdom, Taiwan, and Italy.
Currently the President/ Director at Large of American Tapestry Alliance, a non-profit international organization with membership spanning 28 countries, Socolofsky lives and works in Portland, Oregon where she is on the faculty at Portland State University in the School of Art + Design.
As La Romita School caters to multiple levels of instruction and various forms of the arts, prices will vary by session, season, instructor, and offerings.