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Materials Lab Workshop: Byzantine Tapestry Weaving [AT CAPACITY]

Fragments of a Hanging: St. Theodore and Inscription (detail), Byzantine period, 6th–7th century. Wool and linen. Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, 1939.112.1.

Workshop

Harvard Art Museums, 32 Quincy Street
Cambridge MA

This event is at capacity.

Join Katie Taronas, Ph.D. candidate in Byzantine art history at Harvard, to learn about the tapestry weaving techniques used to create the vibrant and colorful Byzantine textiles of late antiquity.

The desert landscape of Egypt has preserved thousands of early Byzantine (3rd–7th century CE) garments and textile furnishings woven with elaborate scenes from Classical mythology, the Christian tradition, and the natural world. Taronas will offer insights on the history and techniques involved in the production of these textiles, which survive mainly as fragments in museum collections. Fabrics unearthed in burials were cut up and reconfigured by 20th-century art dealers to eliminate areas of damage or staining. This makes it difficult to understand their original appearance, patterns, and function.

The workshop will begin with participants looking closely at examples of early Byzantine textiles in the Art Study Center to learn about materials (linen and dyed wool), weave structure, and conservation challenges.

Taronas will then be joined by local fiber artist Sue McFarland, who will guide participants in making a simple tapestry of their own on a small frame loom. Participants will gain a greater understanding of the link between the technique, style, and imagery of these works, as well as an appreciation for the technical skill required to create such detailed and complex figural designs.

The event will be held in the Materials Lab, Lower Level.

$15 materials fee. Registration is required and payment must be made in advance. Please email am_visitorservices@harvard.edu or stop by the museums’ admissions desk to register. Space is limited to 15 participants. Minimum age of 14.