2004 Pat Williams

Juror: Sharon Marcus
Name of Exhibition and Dates: Art In Fiber 2004, Fall 2004.
Location of Exhibition: Manatee Art Center in Bradenton, FL.
Organizing Group: sponsored by Tapestry Weavers South

Pat Williams, “Orion” 2004, 30″ x 50″

What was the inspiration for the tapestry?

Dreamed feeling of wonderful purpose and goals, of being on a quest; pleasure in living and existence. The depicted constellation of Orion is fairly accurate and Orion, the hunter, relates to the woman’s purposeful stride towards something. No other constellation contains so many bright stars. People ask what is in the box she carries — they could be tools, could be secrets.

Is it a part of a series?

Orion is one of the latest in a series I call “That Woman.” It began with the faces of women with crossed eyes, then developed into full figures in various situations, this one being one of joy in a dream-like state.

What design aspect is most important to you?

On my loom I have a sign that reads, “Color, Contrast, Movement.” It is a reminder to consider these elements first, and don’t forget them. Color choices are intuitive, and if intuitive doesn’t quite work I call on Van Gogh’s (among other artists’) successful use of complementary colors as a guide. I notice that many artists don’t, in my opinion, use enough contrast. I want vivid, so I work to define the shapes in their space. Movement can make a piece thrilling and certainly help with the story line.

Since I have chosen tapestry as my medium, I like to experiment with novelty threads for their textural or light-reflective effects while keeping the piece relatively flat. My favorite pieces take full advantage of the medium.


I’m a story-teller. I like to think the viewer can imagine a past, present and future in the imagery.

Is there something special that you would want us to know about your tapestry?

Orion was the largest tapestry I had done so far, and now I am intrigued with the effect a larger piece can have. I have a piece on the loom right now that is another one of the “That Woman” series and she is life-size. I like working on it very much.

Do you use a cartoon?

Yes. I get up early in the morning and draw in an intuitive manner. The small drawings (usually around 5″ x 7″) can then be converted into large cartoons that I either blow up on a copier, or the really big ones I recreate on plain Tyvec construction paper. I will usually draw and re-draw the composition 10 to 20 times, trying to get it just right.

What kind of loom do you weave on?

I have a 48″ wide Fireside.

What attracts you to the medium of tapestry and why does it work best for what you want to say?

I began with floor loom weaving and since I kept gravitating to techniques that allowed representational designs, I finally tried tapestry and never looked back. Tapestry feels good, looks good, colors are incredibly rich in fiber and I like the inevitability of it (can’t go back and re-do that spot in the far lower left corner.) Tapestry lends itself to it’s own abstract quality in that it is on a strict grid. For me, it isn’t about slavish rendering.