Artist’s Statement

My Unweavings fiber art pieces convey spiritual narratives through form, color, texture and calligraphy. My work alludes to the oldest traditions of narrative textiles, but in a completely contemporary idiom.

The words within each piece and the unwoven form that suggests these words serve as visual interpretations of various Biblical and poetic texts. Calligraphy for these texts may be in English, Hebrew, Arabic and Greek. The Unwoven spaces form symbolic shapes – wings, ladders prayer shawls, veils, trees, falling waters, and the sacred architecture of windows, domes and gates. The narrative is enhanced by my own distinctive iconography, indicating guardians, messengers, journeying and praying figures, processional figures and more. The calligraphy and my own iconography – raised from the surface of the textile – serve as both conveyors of meaning and part of the abstract patterning of each piece.

By unweaving the fabric, I make manifest what is hidden within the material – liberating the threads to create shape, then “reweaving” through color, texture, and text. The narrative emerges from the juxtaposition of images within the surface, from the texts I choose, and from the combination of color, texture and pattern which convey a sense of time and place. And the pieces become carriers of my individual and our collective memories through the spiritual narratives they transmit.

Method of Working

The textile used is a heavy cotton canvas. I first release either the warp or weft threads to create the desired shape. Various textures may be collaged onto the surface, such as fibrous papers, sand and pumice. My images and calligraphy are applied with modeling paste. I then apply acrylic paints to the surface, and a final thin layer of gold wash. Where gauze is used, the fabric is dipped in diluted paint, then hand-painted and embellished with fibrous papers. In the last part of the process, beads – prayers and marking points – are affixed with acrylic gel.

Laurie Wohl, Fiber Artist