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Golden Cocoons - 10 1/2" x 8 1/2" x 3"
The Golden Silk Worm (Cricula Trifenestrata) - 55" x 8"
What Lies Beneath? (desk cover) - 28" x 23" x 12"
Caught in the Web - 4” x 4”

Form & Function

We are probably most familiar with the wall hanging forms of tapestry, whether they are mural or miniature, that have continued into the present time. In fact most historical representations of tapestry other than European have had another form and a function. For example in pre Columbian times in the Americas the tunic, loin cloth, mantle, coco leaf bag and sometimes gloves, jewelry, turbans, boots, quivers, papoose board straps and pillow covers and not wall hangings were the predominate mode. In Early Asian culture we find the kimono, obi, boots, desk and book cover, scrolls, bags for all sorts of items as well as ritual and ceremonial items that might be used on a wall. Actually much can similarly be said for many early cultures where form followed function. And so these works represent an exploration of form using multi selvedge weavings with reference to historical use.

The desk cover “What lies Beneath?” uses a typical Japanese form and under the flaps of the lower Manhattan skyline you will find many wrecked and sunken ships, which in reality support the underlying function of this extension of land as well as the traditional form and function of the desk cover.

The Asian obi form in “The Golden Silk Worm” and “Golden Cocoons” is used as a reference to introduce the strange and rare animal of the Golden Silk worm and their cocoons as well as the naturally gold color silk of their production. The obi comes in many forms and is a sash that was used to hold the kimono closed and developed through history into a decorative accessory that protected against evils when tied in a particular way. It was most often of woven silk. “Golden Cocoons” is tied in a traditional way around a small pillow and at first sight we do not notice that one of the cocoons is actually a tapestry woven illusion. “The Golden Silk Worm”is not tied and is left open with the lower part of the sash woven using the natural silk from the cocoons and the upper part of the sash using different silks from around the world.

“Caught in the Web” is a tiny 4” x 4” three dimensional apple computer that can open and close. It is a singular loom shaped form that is then folded and secured (think of cardboard boxes). It uses multi-selvedge construction and supplemental silk warps and wefts that are then used to weave the web into which the tiny crochet people are caught. Historically many early cultures wove loom shaped garments and accessories. This is simply a take off on one of today’s most loved and hated accessories.

For more information on multi-selvedge weaving see the educational pages on www.brennan-maffei.com.

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