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Customer Story: Tapestry For Artists Who Can't Draw Straight Lines

Customer Story: Tapestry For Artists Who Can't Draw Straight Lines

Customer Feature: Cindy Burdette

Tell us a little bit about yourself, your art/craft background and what got you into tapestry?

My name is Cindy Burdette. I have been a fiber artist for over 50 years. My background started when I was 8 or 9. No one in my family showed any interest in fiber but for some strange reason, I was drawn to it. I started making stacks of crocheted granny squares and then started dabbling in knitting through my teen years. I always kept with the knitting as a side interest through all my years. In my 20s I took up needlepoint which led to counted cross stitch. In my 30s was a combination of all the fiber arts that I had already learned. When I hit my 40s I had a yearning to learn weaving. I went to a local shop, bought a loom and took lessons. Everyone in my family got towels. I loved the process, it made sense to me. I always wanted to be an artist but frankly can’t draw a straight line. I tried some drawing but that frustrated me so I was drawn back to fiber. When I got in my 50s it made sense to start putting all my passion into a mix of artwork and fiber. That’s where I purchased a Mirrix loom and started to learn the art, which is ongoing. I took a class with Rebecca Mezoff online. A wonderful experience. The whole process is fascinating and I plan to keep at it.

If you met someone on the fence about learning to weaving tapestry, what would you tell them about the art form?

What I would say to all of you who are considering tapestry weaving. . . just do it. This is a beautiful way to get your art into a form that has depth and dimension and is so warm. I love all fiber and wool or any kind of natural fiber. I would tell you that if you are considering tapestry that you don’t have to be an artist in the traditional sense because blending wool or fiber into your tapestry gives you an immense sense of satisfaction in your fiber journey.

What is one piece of advice you’d give a new tapestry weaver?

My advice since I am fairly new to this art form is to first get a dependable loom. There are many wonderful brands out there but a constant warp tension is so important. I chose my Mirrix because it holds a nice even tension and was so easy to warp. I would also tell you to seek out a local weaving guild or find online help while learning. You will need some support to learn and grow.

What do you like about tapestry vs. other fiber arts?

I like the art of tapestry because it allows me, not a traditional artist, to be able to create something beautiful. You form your canvas and picture together. Such a wonderful process. Like I said, I can’t draw a straight line; this is so satisfying to me to be able to create my art work in this form

What is your favorite tapestry technique? Why?

Probably my favorite technique is irregular hatchling. As you can see in my piece I have color blended the sky and grass with this process. It allows color movement and blending. It gives me freedom to fill my tapestry with lovely color. 

Tell us a little bit about this piece, your inspiration for it and what you learned from weaving it?

The inspiration for my art was my border collie, Abe. I lost him a couple of years ago and miss him. I am a collector of whimsical sheep ... yes ,, they are all over my house. This art represents the love of these two things: my dog and sheep. I had this idea for a long while. Tried to draw it, needlepoint and cross stitch. But none did it justice the way my tapestry did.

You used the Spencer Treadle for this piece, how do you like using it? 

I bought my Spencer treadle before Christmas. My kids helped me. It is wonderful. I could really concentrate on the art and not really worry about the shed changing process. My foot moved in a rhythm with my work. Sometimes I would have to back something out and it was seemlesly easy.I loved the freedom.

What is the next piece you are planning? 
My next piece is for my granddaughter who is 14. She loves to draw and has created a character. I am going to weave two equal pieces and make her a tapestry bag with her art work. I will make a matching strap on my inkle loom, or even better, an extender for my Mirrix so that I can match it perfectly. When it is done, then back to my cattle dogs I go.



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