Woven Wall Art
Learn how a weaver creates wall art using materials found in nature.
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Weaver Susan Roberts experimented with many crafts before basketry enveloped her. Now she creates wild woven wall art, incorporating wood, walnuts, pine needles, and any other natural fibers she can find.
Her wall hangings begin with a center piece to which the coil can attach and build out. She begins by slicing a cross-section of a walnut, removing the nut's meat, resulting in a sort of "wagon wheel" shape. She then takes a bundle of pine needles and begins her coil by attaching the bundle with wax linen thread, which she gets from Ireland.
Adding more and more pine needles as she goes around, Roberts does not use a straw to maintain an equal thickness; she prefers to do it by hand. She continues to coil weave, adding more walnut slices where she feels they belong, until she is satisfied with the overall size and shape. Then it's all about embellishment.
One technique for adding flair to a piece is to create a sort of cording by wrapping a cluster of pine needles and an 18-gauge florist wire very tightly with wax linen. In this case she used black linen, so the resulting cording is a bendable black cable which she can shape any way she wants, usually weaving in and out of the larger sections of her piece. Another embellishment using the linen is the fringe on this piece. Using a curved needle, she threads individual pieces of linen under the linen ties that holding the coils together. She ties it down and pulls apart the four-ply threads until they are frayed. She'll often also use twigs, feathers, and even beads to fill in any space she feels needs more activity.
As with most weaving, the process is laborious; her pieces can take from 40 to 80 hours to complete. The end result is an all-natural, captivating work of art.