Louise Abbott - Her Story / Our Interview

We bring Louise Abbott, well-known,and masterful Tapestry weaver, to the Blog as our December interviewee. She has been a member of the American Tapestry Alliance (ATA) which is a non-profit organization supporting contemporary handwoven tapestry. Louise shows her work through ATA and other local galleries in New England. it is our pleasure to share her story and her most recent work with you.

1. What motivated you to become a weaver / fiber artist?

I never gave it much thought. I loved textiles and working with yarn/fiber, so it seemed like the right thing to do. I am fortunate as my avocation became my vocation. I taught knitting and weaving, maintained a working studio in an artist co-operative, and had a small business.

2. What is your favorite part of the process?

I love the tactile nature of fiber, knitting and weaving and the problem-solving element of creating. I am curious and love the challenge of figuring out how to create a design, the best yarns to use, weave structure, loom, set, and beating technique for whatever I plan to construct.

"Poppies" by Louise Abbott, Tapestry , 8" x 9" mounted on Plexi, Cotton warp and wool weft

3. What people, elements, or challenges contributed to your personal growth as a weaver / fiber artist over the years?

I have belonged to two artist co-operatives and galleries and have found the relationships with other artists and art mediums to be extremely beneficial. Also, I have attended many textile workshops with different instructors over the years. For several years I wove yardage for a Boston Designer which added to my knowledge base.

4. On the whole, if you could categorize your current approach to tapestry, what is your focus and why?

There is so much to learn about weaving Tapestry, I am constantly challenged to improve. I try to keep an open mind about the process. Every weaver has their own style, and I wish to find my own voice and develop my personal style. Lately I have been interested in social justice issues and weaving nature.

"Which Way Climate Change" by Louise Abbott, 13" h x 12" w,

Cotton warp and wool weft

5. Lately, where do your design inspirations come from?

My travels have fed my curiosity and inspired my designs. I recently took a tapestry tour in France which was amazing. Networking with other tapestry artists and sharing ideas has been an inspiration. Also, entering ATA tapestry exhibits has been great.

6. What is one of your favorite pieces? What makes it special to you?

It is difficult to pick a favorite piece as there is something special about all of them or I wouldn’t have woven them. The process is so time consuming .... about 90% labor and 10% materials. But perhaps, if I were to choose, I would select a 3D tapestry piece called Conundrum that won First Place in a gallery exhibit at the Arts League of Lowell, MA. It is rounds, using a pulled warp technique. Life is truly a Conundrum, we keep going round and around not necessarily finding solutions.

7. What other fiber artists inspire you? Can you describe what they bring to their art that is attractive to you?

I have been fortunate to have studied under some wonderful teachers. Jean Pierre Larochette stands out for his accomplishments in Tapestry, his thoughtful teaching and kind mentorship. We need to share our knowledge so others might do tapestry as well.

8. Please tell us something we may not know about your work or process.

I worked in the textile industry for two large manufacturers as a yarn designer for new product development. It was a unique experience that enabled me to view the textile world outside of hand weaving.

"Tumbling Blocks" by Louise Abbott, 31" h x 23" w , Transparency, linen and wool

Image on the All Posts page is: "Boundweave Rosepath Rug", 36.5" x 59" , Linen warp and hand dyed wool ( 60% mohair/40% wool).

All photos are by Louise Abbott.

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