Friday, May 21, 2010
Tapestry and weaving has always held a fascination for me, even though I’ve never learned the craft. I’ve seen weavers at reenactments, and tapestries in museums, though. Many of them reflect the geographical location and time period in which they were created. If you google “tapestries” in Wikimedia Commons, you’ll see what I mean. Those by Spanish artists are different from the French, just as painting style and medium differ.
Today, though, I’m blogging about a different kind of tapestry—one created with flowers. Every two years, since 1971, the city of Brussels has an exhibition that draws tourists from miles around. The image above shows the completed floral masterpiece, made of 700,000 begonias. The flowers are arranged on a transparent piece of plastic, perforated to allow enough humidity to reach the blooms to keep them looking fresh longer.
This particular pattern was copied from a tapestry, one of the French Savonnerie. The Savonnerie workshop was founded in Paris in 1628, and produced lavish tapestries for royal palaces, as well as for state gifts and commissions. Now, almost all original Savonnerie tapestries of the 17th and 18th centuries are in museums.
The workshop apprenticed orphans to work in the factory. Where they came from and what they learned is the subject of my next blog.