Sarah Swett
I have been a textile person all my life. From my earliest crumpled needlepoint squares to later embroidery and my ever present knitting I have tried to tell stories with fiber. Not until I was in my late twenties, however, did I learn to weave. My years of messing about with textiles prepared me well for the process of making tapestry. Living and working as an outfitter, carpenter, camp cook, weaving teacher, trail crew foreman and, not least, mother, has given me endless material from which to draw.

There is something particularly satisfying in the rhythm of tapestry. Fingers pull taut warp threads forward, pass lustrous strands of wool and silk weft behind, and beat each into place with a satisfying "thunk". All the while the colours build on each other, creating shapes, forms, images. In tapestry the picture is the fabric --one cannot exist without the other. My tapestries are built of the people and places and fiber that fill my world, frequently to overflowing. So entwined am I with the process that it would be hard to imagine my life functioning properly without the structure of continual drawing, spinning, dying and weaving. Time, life and the occasional strand of hair are woven into every square inch.

Tapestry is an ancient art--people have given shape to their dreams and legends with strands of wool and silk for centuries though to many it seems an almost unbearably slow process. Perhaps the rest of the world is simply too fast. Giving shape to a dream a "thunk" at a time allows it to be thoroughly explored by the time a piece is done. A friend remembered over months of weaving truly has time to materialize in my thoughts and on the warp. Each work is a story in itself as well as the story of my life while I wove it. Most viewers are instinctively drawn to the warmth and immediacy of the textured surface and strong, saturated colour. I cannot imagine making pictures any other way.

2001 Two Mediums and a Large, Business Incubator Gallery, Moscow, ID
2000 Hartung Theatre, Moscow, ID
2000 Allied Arts Association, Richland, WA
1999 Weaver's Studio, Twin Bridges, MT
1996 IN THE WESTERN TRADITION; Weaver's Studio Twin Bridges, MT
1996 Western Tapestries; Latimer Textile Center, Tilamook, OR
1994 Pritchard Gallery, Moscow, ID

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