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Stephanie Hoppe handwoven wool rugs
Iris 1
                     
                             Iris 1: Baseline
Iris 2 "Raised Outline"
                 
                          Iris 2: Full Bloom
Iris 3 Wedgeweave
              Iris 3: In Green Waters
Iris 4 Eccentric weft
                   Iris 4: Iris Dances
IIris 5
                   Iris 5: Iris Endures
Iris 6
                   Iris 6: Electric Iris

Iris 7: Iris Ghost
                     Iris 7: Iris Ghost
Iris Dreams-of-Spring
           Iris 8: Dreams-of-Spring



       From a Weaver's Garden: Iris

Early in the drought year 2014, I realized that what gardening I did would have to be on my loom rather than in my yard. A promising model had appeared in my yard a few years earlier: clumps of a small iris that flourished with or without watering, though only where it chose. Some I transplanted into a tidy border soon died.

In spring the plants produce small, unremarkable blossoms, dull tan in color, shading to pale violet and lasting only a day or two. The leaves actually interested me more, turning and stretching in a seemingly infinite variety of curves. I liked to sketch them.


I discovered this plant is called  Iris macrosiphon, or less formally, Ground Iris or Evergreen Iris. It is native to Mendocino and surrounding counties. Local Native Americans used fibers from the leaves for nets, snares, and the like. (For instructions on harvesting the fibers, click here for a link to the wonderful Paleotechnics website)  This textile connection confirmed my impulse to weave a series of tapestries, the same design of curving leaves and two blossoms in a variety of weaving techniques, including the Navajo and Pueblo techniques I have been studying for some years as well as the freer style of my most teacher and mentor in recent years,, the Bauhaus-trained Swiss tapestry weaver Silvia Heyden.