Misty Mountains is a commissioned tapestry of the PNW Coastal Range Mountains. The client, a part-time resident of Oregon's north coast, approached me with the desire for a nontraditional headboard. They resided in a uniquely built house one block away from the beach and wanted something to align with their architecture and eco-centric values.
The original ask was broad. To help sharpen the outcome, I compiled a visual presentation with examples and materials. The client and I agreed upon a woolen tapestry of the coastal range mountains. For the next few weeks, I photographed ranges and observed them at different times of day and weather patterns.
Both the client and I reside close to Neah-kan-nie Mountain. This landmark is hard to miss and was considered by the Tillamook Tribe to be where the highest deity resides. Therefore, I wanted to include a whisper of this great mountain in my tapestry.
After processing the visuals, I sketched and painted the composition to scale and digitized it. The digital version could then communicate composition and color execution to the client.
After the composition was sketched, I wove a 12" x 12" sample to present to the client for color, scale, and hand feel. The client initially wanted a charcoal sketch look. Upon seeing the sample, they decided they wanted to integrate green hues.
DYE TO MATCH USING PLANT PIGMENTS
Green is one of the more challenging colors to produce using plant pigments. I used existing colors that I have made to create palette options. The client determined their top choices. From there, I developed four values based on a particular hue. Dye to match is a difficult task, but not impossible. Shades produced from the same plant can vary based on soil, water, and location.
MATERIAL SOURCING / COSTING
I calculated the amount of woolen yarn needed to complete the 80" wide x 26" long tapestry using the woven piece. I have to balance cost constraints with my ethical values in sourcing yarn. My approach is to source as local as economically possible. I prefer to know the farmer and how the sheep are treated. I cross analyze this with the cost and amount of yarn needed. For this project, I used domestically grown and spun wool.
The finished tapestry is photographed below (by Trav Williams) in a home built by PNW architect Tom Bender. Although this isn't the final home for the tapestry, I wanted to capture it in a controlled, curated environment. The client has this piece hanging over their bed and uses it as a functional headboard.