Trailing Threads: Wendy Bredehoft


Images emerge from the free hand of the artist.
Captured in digital pixels,
speak the binary language of the first Jacquard loom.
Warp and weft, dictated by punch cards,
translate imagery into the language of textiles.
Technology continues weaving traditions,
materializing from the history of that first loom.
Colors and patterns woven on a grid of threads,
plucked to the surface
Reveal the artistʼs original image in new form.
A canvas for contemplating
old and new,
past, present, and future.
All bound in threads trailing from the artistʼs hand
Stitch time together.

The original images seen here began as field research, resulting in acrylic Strappo mono-prints, pastel paintings, or digital photographs. These were then converted into Jacquard tapestries by a computerized, digital weaving mill in North Carolina working with the online company, Quality Tapestries. Some tapestries remain in this finished Jacquard form, while others are embellished with hand-stitching, creating new textures, and bringing visual emphasis to the imagery of the weavings.

Jacquard fabric is a process in which the image and its colors are incorporated into the weaving of the fabric rather than dyed onto the fabric surface. The Jacquard loom is considered the predecessor of modern computers. Created by Joseph-Marie Jacquard in France in 1803, it used a binary punch card system to manipulate individual warp threads to create textile designs on the loom.

Todayʼs computerized looms capture exciting detail in the weaving process, adding engaging dimensionality: the path of the threads; the juxtapositions of colors in the warp and weft; or the nuanced details of a 10 x 10-inch print that emerge as fascinating elements in a 48 x 48-inch tapestry. This is the DNA of a new creation story, complete as woven. Or the tapestry becomes the canvas upon which the story unfolds in new ways as the textures and colors of added materials play off woven surface patterns, visually shapeshifting into other directions and dimensions. Pairing traditional handcrafted techniques with
contemporary digital weaving creates space and time to revisit ideas and find new associations and meaning that were not originally evident. Living adds context. Slow art making provides the time to digest experiences and sort through them, leading to new ideas and ways of thinking and making. Time stitches it all together, linking past with present through an intricate evolution of ideas and process.

Exhibit Details

  • Artist: Wendy Bredehoft
  • Gallery: Mary Durham Gallery
  • Start Date: July 14, 2023
  • End Date: Dec 23, 2023