Of tapestry marketability

Whynot

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A good friend of mine would like to sell good quality Romanian made tapestry (contemporary I guess)in the American market and figured (what a mistake!) that I must be knowing everything about this.
Well, my answer to him is going to be just as good and useful as yours are to my questions, for I know next to nothing about it, and this is why I'm running this matter through you.
Is high quality tapestry, in general, of interest in America? Do you frequently get to frame such things? I don't recall any special American interest in such artifacts. If Europeans are fond of them, Americans did not strike me with a particular eagerness to acquire and display such form of art, unless it was very old.
I also am anxious to learn whether tapestry and needlework are synonimes. Though both are the result of working with a needle, in my mind the resemblance between tapestry and needlework kind of ends there, tapestry being a much superior type of needle work art. Am I being right in here?

[ 01-19-2004, 12:36 AM: Message edited by: American Choice ]
 

Rebecca

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Hi Cornel,

As to marketing, I am not your person.

As to technique, tapestry is a "loom thing". There is a warp, onto which colors are woven in a pattern. Each color has a separate shuttle, which is worked only in the desired section. This results in vertical slits in the woven fabric, because each color has its own selvedge.

To complicate matters slightly, it is also possible to interlock these adjacent selvedges,(thus closing the slits) a technique known as "interlocking tapestry".

Lots of "loom things" are not tapestry, but this term has become a loose catch-all phrase for all sorts of wall hangings.

Needlework is an "additive thing". Colored threads are stitched onto an already woven fabric.

If you are really interested in this, a very good reference is "Warp and Weft", by Dorothy Burnham. She catalogues every type of woven fabric into an easily understood classification system.

Rebecca

[ 01-19-2004, 12:50 AM: Message edited by: Rebecca ]
 

Whynot

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Hi Rebecca,


Thank you for your prompt reply. Since you are an expert in paper and textile conservation, I'm getting nervous about the way I was using the tapestry word. I have the feeling that what you just told me about tapestry does not quite match the thing my friend is wishing to sell.
In Romanian, that art is called "goblen" and I suspect that, in French, it's named "gobeline" or something close to that. As I recall it, the thing is made of hand weaved thin threds of colored silk on etamina/etamine (?) support (some sort of very fine screen like textile). The silk is crisscrossed in very minute "knots" (?) which are named points; their large density per square inch and their perfect look (front and back) is one of many marks of a quality "goblen". Finally, a "goblen" works like a regular picture made with colored threds and a needle over many months or even years of painstaking, perfect stichings.
Goblen is what those English princesses were making while sitting by the window, and day dreaming about their impossible love affairs. I guess that, more than my words, this last image is likely to make things clearer (a picture is worth 1000 words). ;)

[ 01-19-2004, 05:42 AM: Message edited by: American Choice ]
 

Whynot

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Jana,

After checking out your links I am now convinced that TAPESTRY is not the right word for what I am trying to describe in here. Perhaps Gobelin tapestry works better? Those items are rather small and always very expensive items. Their pricy tag is calculated by square centimeter...

Using your links I learned that a 54" x 38" large piece of tapestry is tagged $129. If it was a quality "goblen" that size, it would cost just like a brand new good car!


Sorry for misleading you all. Apparently I don't have the right name for that type of artifact, but I hope you do. In all honesty, I never saw a "goblen" in any of my clients’ stores, but I was not looking for it either. This is why I was under the impression that gobelin art is not in demand in America.
 

Frank Larson

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It sounds to me like you are describing needlepoint. Sometimes referred to as petitepoint if it uses extremely small stitches.

Oh, and don't mistake real tapestries with the $129 machine made stuff you saw in the catalogs. It's like the term "Oriental rug" that can refer to a $300 rug from Lowe's or a $100,000 hand tied rug from a dealer. Big difference.

As far as saleability who knows? If it's needlepoint, I've seen some stuff done by artists and it's beautiful but I don't think it brings very high prices. People tend to think of it as a craft similar to counted crosstitch and that anybody can do it. The fact that it's an original work of art done in thread rather than paint just doesn't seem to register with most people. It would be interesting to test the market in a higher end gallery though. The high end collector maket is quite a bit different than what most of us deal with.
 

jframe

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This won't help you, Cornel, but it may be of interest to someone. My European friend says goblen in Europe is what we call needlepoint in America. There are various spellings for goblen depending on what country you are in. She believes it was originally a French term. The continental stitch is an English term for a technique developed on the European contintnent.

So, Cornel, the goblen, or tapestry you are talking about selling here would need to be called needlepoint for Americans to understand it. The pictures I found on the web do look like something that might be called tapestry even though they are actually needlepoint which is hand stitched rather than woven.

[ 01-20-2004, 10:49 PM: Message edited by: jframe ]
 

Whynot

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Sorry, I am in Florida and have little time to check out on TG.
Thank you so much for your input.
It looked to me right from the beginning like this was not a hot item in here (America that is) and you did not reject my educated guess. So, probably my friend is better off selling in Europe and just forgetting about America.
I wish I had better news for him, but if there was a market you, grumblers, would have known of it first.
Incidentally, I lost touch with those things long ago, but I still remember westerners (mostly Germans) coming to Romania and paying very good money (in local acceptation) for such items. Many were ordering and paying for work to be done and finished for their next visit, one year later. Twenty-thirty years ago most every woman was petite point-ing to supplement her income. It was like an avalanche or epidemics and for a while the gobelin was sort of a paralelle national currency. Of course, not every woman was able to do the right thing but hope and desire to get rich off it was there, much like the Gold Rush, here in America.

[ 01-22-2004, 04:25 AM: Message edited by: American Choice ]
 
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