Karen Hiser

What do you do and how would you describe your work?

I am a tapestry weaver. This slow, meditative art is an ancient form of expression whereby warp (vertical) threads are wound on to a frame and weft (horizontal) threads are hand inserted to create an image. Tapestry weavers take many years to master their craft, and many legendary weavers insist they are still learning. I am at the beginning of my journey. I take my inspiration from patterns, forms and colours in nature.

What are the materials/equipment you use?

I mainly use wool yarn (weft) wrapped onto cotton twine warp. These yarns are woven onto a loom, which is sometimes just a simple wooden frame, but is most often a pipe loom made from copper pipe and tensioning rods.

Where does your inspiration come from? For example: Artists, architecture, nature

Beauty in nature is my inspiration and my guiding principle. It has the power to uplift, amaze, humble and transfix: the patterns and shadows of leaves on a tree; the rich colours of fruit and flowers; the luminosity and space of sky and sea. My heroes are artists and tapestry weavers who use the forms and colours of nature to create bewitching art. I love the decoration and beauty of Pre-Raphaelites such as Edward Burne-Jones and Frederick, Lord Leighton; the depth and the richness of the Dutch masters’ still lives, including Rachel Ruysch and Maria van Oosterwyck; and the genius of tapestry artists such as Dom Robert, Joan Baxter, Jane Riley and Louise Oppenheimer.

How does it feel being part of the Arts Central community?

I don’t know! I had only just rented my pod when we had to vacate due to COVID19. I am looking forward to meeting everybody properly and being a part of the community.