Pheasant tapestry project

2022-02-07 by Ture Goldkuhl

Documentation of the pheasant-inspired tapestry I made at Nyckelviksskolan around the beginning of 2022.

The completed tapestry hung in wires

The process:

A gif put together from my photos of the weaving process.

Put togehter photos from the weaving process


In my textile art class, we were tasked with creating a tapestry starting from a bird. We were to incorporate the overall look of the bird, its sound as well as a specific spot around the school that we could choose as we liked. I had a hard time choosing a bird as I know nothing about them but I searched around for different birds that I somewhat recognized and listened to their sounds. The pheasant made a horror-sounding call that I found interesting as well as the pheasants colors. I did not incorporate any location at the school. Started off sketching and liked this general shape even before I choose the pheasant but it fit with the scariness of the sound as well as the sounds double-repetition which is mirrored in the mirrored shapes.


My sketch/blueprints which I followed My work station

The weaving itself consisted of me dragging the thick black yarn over and under the corrects strings in the warp. I then took a rod and took out one loop of the black yarn inbetween each thread of the warp and pulled it around the rod (so they all got the correct size). In this step i used "tuskaft"-pedals which pulls upp each other string in the warp. The next step was to put in the colors, also at the correct spaces. Now using pedals 1-2-3-4, the "goose-eyes". I put three colored strings inbetween each black row of loops, because they cover the inbetween anyways. After all this, I pulled back the bar ("slagbom") and packed all the threads back into the whole weave. Then I began again with black.

"Noppror" makes up the black shapes Test I did for shapes

The way I threaded the loom made these "goose-eyes" when using the pedals 1-2-3-4 and at times switching the direction. Liked that there are the yellow large phesant eyes prominent in the tapestry but also the small "goose-eyes" are present throughout the whole structure. Like the whole thing is looking back at you.

"Gåsögon"(Goose-eyes) makes the structure.

For the turquoise and brown fields i used four~five differend yarns. In the small part where every field is weaved at once (they are on the same horizontal plane. Here around the yellow eye), I think I used 21 different hand-yarns at once for all the color fields. (2 whites, 2 blacks, 5 variations on brown ...etc.)

Closeup POV

When I got to the middle, the rest was to create a mirror of what I already had. The beginning of this second part was easy, because I could see what I had done on the other side and just count loops and rows and copy them exactly. But when I got further and had to pull the whole weave back to have space to work, the thing I was looking for was folded under the loom. Luckily I had pictures but they were not as exact as looking at the weave in front of me. I put pictues of where I was and a mirror of the first half together in my phone to get a sense of where I was and mostly freehanded it. I had taken measurements and was very familiar with my design but it was still difficult making the hole thing backwards.

The thinnest part of the back. The thickest part of the back

The backside. I started off with lots of yarn, and carried the same thread across the whole width. During the process, I switched to having multiple threads for each field (like two whites on either side). This change made for much cleaner back and less messiness.

Freshly removed from the loom. With other test-tapestries The completed tapestry hung in wires The not so polished back.

Start side, heavy in threads ------ end side, more polished

Weaving was a very enjoyable, meticulous and meditative craft which I would like to try again some day. I am pleased with how my pheasant-tapestry came out in the end, although next time I would like to make something more subtle. This one is very much big defined shapes and fields, even with the 3d effect of the black loops which makes them pop. They are maybe a bit too thick and emphesized. I really like the brown middle, which I think is almost consuming as you gaze at it. I think I got the color variation right here with also just a bit more light colors in the middle. The yellow eyes got a little crammed in between the black spikes and that was just a fault of the process and me not being able to handle the turns as I began the project. Overall, I am happy:)

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