Joan Griffin is a full time artist hand weaving tapestries for exhibitions and commissions; her work has been shown in numerous juried exhibitions throughout the country and internationally. She also offers classes in tapestry weaving in her studio. Joan has a MFA in Textile Design from Antioch University,Ohio and a BS in Art Education from State University College at Buffalo, NY. She has taught at numerous art centers and colleges as well as privately and has also managed several galleries. After undergraduate school, Joan began her artistic career as a watercolor painter. Watercolor had been my medium of choice until the 1980’s when I discovered tapestry and found the texture and the possibilities of the colors irresistible. I live in Virginia but take inspiration from nature in every form no matter where I travel.
The land is the primary influence on my design concepts; just as nature slowly evolves to reveal many forms, so do tapestries. I love taking a detailed element of a natural landscape and translating it into my own imagery. As the tapestry slowly develops, I regard the subtle variations until the color choice is just right. The relationship between color and form is the most important consideration, with combinations of fine wool, silk and metallic yarns used because of the different way that they react to light. This interaction is an integral part of the surface.
I expect the viewer to decide their own interpretation..
Hand weaving a tapestry is a contemplative process; a definite contrast to life in the 21st century. Within a tapestry, the design is part of the cloth. It cannot be separated. Each design element is placed by hand and it gradually reveals the image once the tapestry is completed. I am influenced by both color but the message from the landscape even if it eventually becomes abstract. I want the message of the landscape to reveal many forms.
Participating in the Art In Embassies program has been a rewarding experience. When I had a tapestry in the dining room of the US embassy in Managua, Nicaragua it was hanging between Jefferson and Washington. It couldn’t have been in better company!