I'm sitting here waiting for a client, but for the last 2 hours the imagine ART Gallery has been abuzz with tapestry hanging. Three of the TWiNE (Tapestry Weavers in New England) weavers, Tricia, and a very able helper have been measuring, a-fixing, eyeballing, questioning, conferencing, then scrambling up and down ladders to hang 36 tapestries. The entire process is just wonderful to observe. I know nothing of weaving tapestries, but the minute the possibility of hosting an exhibition named "a piece of TWiNE" became a reality I've been excited.
For the last week, tapestries have been showing up in boxes, rolled cardboard. or wrapped in linen like a hotdog casing. Tricia took down Richard Hawley's Dreamscapes photography exhibit earlier in the week, and our gallery looked a little like a warehouse with drums, cymbals, a bass amp, a ladder, and tapestry containers all over the place. The space had a feel like a theater backstage with props and equipment waiting for the next show to materialize.
I have to say it was fun listening to Tricia collaborate with the artists as to what would be the very best placement for each piece of work. They had to be hung just right to showcase the shapes and colors meticulously woven into being. Light had to bring out each work just so. The folks doing the hanging were making important decisions for the weavers who weren't present - that's trust ... and serious responsibility.
As a musician who's been a contributing member to all manner of rehearsals, and has played hundreds of performances from stadiums to living rooms, I just love the anticipation of putting a performance together. So much potential lies waiting to be tapped. People feel a hope for what might materialize and how the audience will receive it. These artists are no different. They've spent hundreds, and in some cases, thousands of hours producing their work, and it's to be shown, so they want the presentation to do high justice to their creations. Set up is not throw together. Set up is more orchestration, visual choreography. It's never merely "hangin' a picher" in the den.
I'm also enjoying the congeniality evidenced in the collaborating. Everyone was in good spirits. They seem to freely offer ideas of what should go where. Later they sat and took a minute to eat dark chocolate together - a weaver's pre-show tradition? I don't know. All of them added something valuable to the setting up. It felt they liked being together. If there were egos colliding it was very subtle.
The long and the short of it, you just have to come and see the exhibit! Our walls are ablaze with fabricized color. The tapestries range from being from smaller to larger. Each weaver's style, color palate, textural sensibility, and subject matter is different as you might expect, but the variety holds one's interest on every wall. You can see evidence of substantial skill and care from each piece. It's a pleasure to see.
The exhibit will be up until June 1st. But I need to say it's fun to come to Northampton, get a bite, then visit all the exhibits around town. There is often much to see. Many people come in town so there'll be street energy galore. We're anticipating the largest opening night Artist's Reception we've had to date. So join the party!!!