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European Traditions in Linens and Housewares

Our discoveries along the byways of France and Beyond



Woven French TapestryTapestries, or woven art work, are ancient art forms.  They were originally used to hang on walls in castles and fortresses to help defeat drafts and cold and to hide ugly walls.  After a while they were also used to tell stories, usually something from the bible or relating the family history.  The weaving process is very intricate and when done by hand, very time consuming.

The process begins with a picture drawn by the artist or designer.  Sometimes the picture was as big as the tapestry was intended to be but usually not.  It was placed where the weaver could see it and depending on the finished size of the tapestry, it was either sideways or straight up.  In any case, the weaver worked only with the wrong side up on the loom.  In order to see what was developing, a mirror could be placed on the underside of the material being worked so that the weaver could see how well the piece was developing.  The first challenge was to string the different color threads in the proper order and density for the final product.  Then the weaver had to hand pick each thread so that when the shuttle was run through the threads, the proper colors in the proper order would show and thereby develop the picture or design.  As might be expected, this was very tedious and exacting work.

Today, computers provide the manufacturers with valuable time saving assistance with both the design and the weaving process.  Never the less, it is still a very complex process and a well designed and executed tapestry is valuable.  Although it is possible to purchase very large tapestries, they are for the most part appropriately sized to hang on walls just as you would a fine piece of art.  Additionally, tapestry fabric is used for bed spreads, table coverings, throws, pillow covers, purses, luggage and almost anything else the creative imagination can design. 

Quality tapestries are firmly woven and have a good backing on them to hide the places where threads have been attached during the weaving process.  The choice of design and color is of course up to you, but I prefer the historical designs.

Click on the following link to see and buy a large selection of fine woven tapestries.

US and European tapestry wall hangings

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