Tuesday, December 06, 2016
Encounters & Departures: Tapestries by Peter Harris and Line Dufour

Encounters & Departures: Tapestries by Peter Harris and Line Dufour

Tapestry is an ancient form of pictorial weaving that is believed to have come into existence over two thousand years ago. During the medieval and renaissance periods, apart from being decorative, it was also functional, hanging on castle walls to keep the cold and drafts out.  There are several technical features that distinguish tapestry from other forms of weaving: the main difference being that woven fabric has a repeating pattern while tapestry generally does not. Tapestry depicts a pictorial image and is mainly intended for hanging on walls, and thus, is decorative. Fabric weaving is generally more 'mechanized' as opposed to tapestry which is entirely ‘finger’ manipulated in construction.


Tapestry is a medium well suited to Harris’ character. His extensive knowledge about the traditions of weaving, both Western and Eastern, fuels his inquiry into form, pattern and colour. It also enables him to challenge existing preconceptions by pushing the expectations of the woven surface. Harris challenges the weavers craft and also the viewer’s expectations, by juxtaposing the nature of textile and imagery both figurative and narrative.  Harris uses digital technology and the breaking down of images into pixilated bits, “contemplating a relationship between tapestry and modern digital images,” he said.   He also plays with photo imagery to create more painterly landscapes.   


Harris is a graduate of the University of Toronto and the Ontario College of Art, Toronto.  He has traveled and studied textiles in India. Currently, his home and studio are near Ayton, Ontario.


Line Dufour is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design. She obtained her Bachelor of Fine Art degree at the University of Guelph and a Bachelor of Education at the University of Toronto.  She presently teaches weaving with the Toronto District School Board in their Continuing Education department.


Art and weaving magazines such as Shuttle, Spindle and Dypot and Southwest Art have spotlighted Dufour’s work and more recently a book entitled Tapestry, published by Phaidon Press and written by Barty Phillips in Great Britain bestowed Dufour with the title of "Contemporary Master". She is one of only two Canadians to appear in this international and historical retrospective on tapestry.


Her work can be found in many private collections all over Canada. More recently, Cooperators commissioned Line to create a tapestry for their main office in Guelph on MacDonnell across from the bus station.


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