DESIGNER/WEAVER STEPHANIE T. HOPPE

After two decades working with words and papers, first as an attorney and then as a freelance writer and editor, I was seized with a hunger for something more tactile, specifically weaving, and particularly the weaving of rugs, for I wanted what I make to be of practical use in daily life as well as beautiful. I weave on the vertical frame loom perfected by the Native Peoples of the US Southwest 1,000 years ago. The loom is simple, for the weaver’s own hands and body form critical components. This weaving is slow and requires close and constant attention, but also yields the physical and spiritual rewards of all contemplative practices as well as a sense of participation in ancient rhythms of work.

My initial teachers were several fine centruy-old Navajo rugs (the corner of one can be seen on the floor in the photo to the right). The strong and enduring colors and bold, timeless designs continue to inspire me. In 2008 I met the Swiss tapestry weaver Silvia Heyden, who became my treasured teacher and mentor, expanding my sense of design and encouraging me to experiment more with the possibilities of wall-hung tapestries, in which the weaving need not be right-angled and flat as in rugs intended for floor use. Although, she died in 2015, her teaching and influence remain very much alive for me.

 My rugs and tapestries are woven with a continuous warp, which gives each piece finished selvedges on all four sides. To obtain the range and variety of colors I like to work with, I dye and paint the wool and silk weft yarns myself.

 I have been exhibiting and selling my work since 2001.

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