Hatching or hachures

In September 2016 Caron Penney, Master Weaver and textile artist came to the Studio to teach a two day course on understanding tapestry. As textile conservators a good understanding of how tapestries are made and of different weaving techniques can only be beneficial when carrying out conservation treatments. So everyone was very excited to have the opportunity of weaving a tapestry sample for themselves.

IMG_4731Caron Penney demonstrating weaving a diagonal line

 After learning how to warp up a simple tapestry weaving frame, we tried out different weaving techniques that are used in both historic and modern tapestries. As historic tapestries are traditionally woven from the reverse side and modern tapestries more commonly woven from the front, we tried out various techniques from both sides.

IMG_4705 adjStudio overview – setting up the weaving frame

The first technique we tried out was weaving diagonals. This is often used as a dividing line between two colour blocks in a design.

IMG_7185 adjDiagonal lines – sample

IMG_7194Diagonal lines – Gideon tapestry “Gideon chooses his army” Hardwick Hall

Other techniques included slits, and single and double interlock. A slit is created by weaving two blocks of colour that meet but do not go over the same warps, so consequently a gap is left between the two colours. The weaver then sews this up. Historically a linen or silk thread was used.

With a single interlock, a line is created by weaving with two colours towards each other and interlocking the two threads. A double interlock is similar but can only be woven from the reverse side. One colour thread is linked around two threads of the adjacent colour, creating a strong bond between the two colour blocks. The linking can be seen from the reverse, but gives the impression of a simple line on the front.

IMG_7187adjSewn slits and double interlocks – reverse sample

IMG_4839 adjSewn slits and double interlocks – as found on reverse on a late seventeenth century tapestry

Hachures is a weaving technique used to let two colours run into each other. It is often used with a lighter and darker tone of the same colour to create shading.

Hatching is a technique used more often today to create a shift in colour.

IMG_7192 adjHatching and hachures – sample

IMG_4843 adj

Hachures – as found on a late seventeenth century tapestry

The last technique we tried out was blending. Different colour thread strands were mixed prior to weaving to make up a weaving thread. By regularly changing the strands of coloured thread, you can create a mottled effect.

IMG_7185adjBlending – modern sample

IMG_4945adjBlending – as found on a late seventeenth century tapestry

I very much enjoyed the course and learnt a lot about historic and contemporary weaving.  I am sure that all of us will take this knowledge back to the tapestries we are currently working on and have a closer look at the different techniques used.