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The Singing Weaver

Theo Moorman Weaving Technique

Theo MoormanTheo Moorman (1907-1990) was a prolific weaver from England. While figuring out how to weave pictorially without the time-consuming labor of tapestry weaving, Theo developed the technique that carries her name. The technique is a variation of plain weave. Her innovation was to differentiate the weight of the warp threads - a heavier ground warp and a finer tie-down warp. The design on the surface of the fabric is achieved by inlaying yarns under the fine tie-down warp.

Theo Moorman's 1975 book, Weaving As an Art Form: A Personal Statement showed how far she had come from the concept of weaving as purely utilitarian. When she was in school in the 1920s, one did not weave wall hangings or art pieces. However, Theo found her way to self-expression as an artist by taking her artistic visions and weaving them.

After her death, Theo Moorman was commemorated in an exhibition at the University Gallery in Leeds, England. The exhibition was the occasion for a retrospective volume, Theo Moorman 1907-1990 Her Life and Work as an Artist Weaver, edited by Hilary Diaper. This book gives further insight into her work.

The Moorman technique is not complicated to weave. Only 4 harnesses are required. If you can warp a loom and do plain weave, you can learn the Moorman technique. The book Theme & Variation: More Weaving that Sings, by Nadine Sanders and Joyce Harter is a good place to start.

Photo of Theo Moorman courtesy of Deborah Elliott.

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