Catherine Labhart

Tapestries

I paint with yarns rather than with paint. My fascination with tapestry weaving is based on two aspects of this traditional art form, which seem rather outdated: First, there is the quiet and time consuming work at the loom, where I patiently observe a picture growing slowly from one selvage towards the opposite one; And second, I like the challenge, that tapestry weaving does not allow for any later improvements of the picture. Each newly woven area or color must be considered and judged in the light of the whole picture. It must, at the same time, outbalance already woven parts of the picture, and prepare a harmonious basis for as yet unwoven, only previewed areas. 

I was born and raised in Lucerne, Switzerland. I trained as a Zoologist at the University of Zürich, where I continued to work as a research assistant through 1988.
In 1987, I started to weave tapestries at my own loom, mostly training myself by reading books and studying both old and contemporary tapestries. I also took a few courses in various textile techniques and in design. Since 1992, I regularly contribute to group exhibits.

My signature

As a signature, most of my tapestries bear a small slit in the weave. This is my adaptation of a rule observed by Navajo weavers to ensure that the weaver's soul does not get trapped in the weave. With tapestry weaving being such a slow project, allowing for so much time to hang on to all kinds of thoughts, I am glad to rely on this emotional way out.

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