Library's Public Art Collection Begins with Tapestry by Local Artist
January 06, 2009ABINGDON, Va. — A dedication ceremony for a new commissioned tapestry weaving developed by fiber artist Nancy Garretson will be held Sunday, Jan. 25, at 3:00 pm in the conference room of the Washington County Public Library in Abingdon.
The dedication will take place prior to the first "Sunday with Friends" event which will feature novelist Martin Clark. There will be a reception following the dedication.
The weaving, "Washington County/July," was commissioned by the Friends of the Washington County Public Library to honor the memory of Shirley Fullerton Abell, secretary of the group for many years. Abell was an active patron of the Washington County Library from its inception, sometimes reading as many as five books a week. She also volunteered for the adult literacy program at the library. Abell retired in 1991 as Director of Social Services from the Southwestern State Hospital in Marion, and she died in 2007.
The three-dimensional weaving (48"x 32") features wildflowers projecting several inches from the surface. Garretson explains, "I was told that Shirley loved flowers and trees. I decided to do a landscape that would be typical of Washington County. In order to get flowers, which are small, and trees, which are very large, in the same landscape, I needed to have a long view which allowed me to have close-up flowers and trees in the distance. Mountains, a farmhouse, hay bales, cattle, fences and a country road filled up the rest of landscape."
Garretson is a resident artist at the Arts Depot in Abingdon and has been perfecting her weaving techniques for more than 30 years.
Here is how she describes her process: "Tapestry weaving is not the adding on of color to a surface as painting is. It is the creation of a whole cloth using threads of color. Both the illusion of depth and actual thread can be created. Tapestry cloth can be folded, draped, stuffed, or sewn to become three dimensional, and textures can rise up off the surface or can be woven in. Not only can colored shapes be woven into the tapestry, but also the tapestry itself can be woven into a shape."
The tapestry weaving is the beginning of a public art collection at the Washington County Public Library and was subsidized by a project grant from the Virginia Commission for the Arts.