Gretchen is our newest interviewee at the Weavers' Guild of Boston Blog, and an masterful weaver. She has studied and completed advanced weaving programs in Finland, New York, and Canada and received her MFA from Indiana University. She has many awards to her name and her work is part of the collection at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Please enjoy her story and her wonderful work presented here.
1. What motivated you to become a weaver?
a. I started weaving on bead looms and Inkle looms in 1969. In 1973 I saw a floor loom at a shop in Montreal, (LeClerc – of course). I haven’t stopped yet.
2. What is your favorite part of the weaving process?
a. I like all parts of the process. There is always hope and anticipation in the design and set-up phase. The weaving part is more meditative but can also be a time for design changes and opportunity to shift a design in a new direction. Finishing the piece brings the weaving forward to its best state. The hardest part is having an empty loom.
3. What people, elements, or challenges contributed to your personal growth as a weaver over the years?
a. Dorothy Liebes, Mildred Constantine, Max Lenderman, Jack Lenore Larsen, Mary Snyder, Annie Albers, Mary Megs Atwater, Harriette Tidball, Palmy Weigle, Mariette Rousseau-Vermette, Joan Sterrenburg, (to name a few).
b. The Northern Adirondack Weavers Guild, (Canton, NY), The School for American Craftsmen, (Rochester, NY), Banff Center of Fine Arts, (Banff Alberta, Canada), Joensuu Handcraft School, (Joensuu, Finland).
4. On the whole, if you could categorize your current approach to weaving, what is your focus and why.
a. My own work is based on color interplay in 8 to 16 shaft double-woven fabrics. I have been using double weave as my prime structure for 25 years. I have not reached the bottom of the well yet. Most of my work is made for hanging on the wall or to be used as tableware.
b. I take side trips into other weave structures to get a better understanding of a particular draft or to create a functional fabric. A particular fiber will sometimes dictate what I want to weave.
This wall hanging is titled "18-2", it measures 56" x 36" and is made with 10/2 cotton fiber using double weave on a 16 shaft loom.
5. Lately, where do your weaving design inspirations come from?
a. Inspiration comes from any source that has a striking or compelling color interaction; (art magazines, all seasons outdoors, weaving research, daily life, a box of colored pencils).
6. What is one of your favorite woven pieces? What makes it special to you?
a. Tough question, there are so many fantastic woven pieces in the world. If the question is about a favorite piece of mine, it would be a summer and winter pick-up piece I wove as a beginner in 1973. The image features oak leaves on a branch. Of all the things I have ever woven, I still like looking at that piece. I find it interesting that I started right into weaving art work over functional fabric.
7. What other weavers inspire you? Can you describe what they bring to weaving that is attractive to you?
a. See my list from question #3. Some of the weavers inspired me by their professionalism, some by their inventions, and others by their love of the craft of weaving.
8. Please tell us something we may not know about your weaving.
a. I started weaving because I wanted to create FiberArt of the 70’s. Now that I have found a solid style that is my own, I am enjoying the discovery of different drafts and weaving structures for their own merit.
This wall hanging is titled "20-14", it measures 44" x 32" and is made with 10/2 cotton fiber using double weave on a 16 shaft loom.
The image on the All Posts Page is "Raw Opal" and measures 22" x 50"
Gretchen Romey-Tanzer 2021
Tanzer Weaving Studio and Gallery
2623 Main Street
Brewster, MA 02631
Weaver’s Guild Memberships:
1973-79 Northern Adirondack Weaver’s Guild
1988-98 Cape Cod Weavers Guild
1988-98 Nauset Weavers Guild
1990 Convergence, San Jose, CA. Speaker
1990-91 New England Weaver’s Seminar presenter
2015-21 Weavers Guild of Boston
1977-78 Joensuu Handcraft School, Joensuu, Finland.
1979 BFA School for American Craftsmen, RIT, Rochester, NY.
1979-80 Banff Center of Fine Arts, Banff, Alberta, Canada.
1981-82 Studio Assistant to Mariette Rousseau Vermette, St. Adele, PQ, Canada.
1984 MFA Indiana University, Bloomington, IN.
1998 and 2010 Award of Excellence, ACC, Baltimore Winter Market, Baltimore, MD.
2002 Director’s Choice Award, Purchase Prize MFA Boston, Crafts at the Castle, Boston, MA.
2005 Artist Grant in Crafts, Massachusetts Cultural Council.
2016 and 2017 Award of Distinction in Decorative Fiber, Craft Boston, Society of Arts and Crafts, Boston, MA.
2019 Artist Fellowship Award in Crafts, Massachusetts Cultural Council.
Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Boston, MA.
The Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN.
The Racine Art Museum, Racine, WI.