Perspective of Mari-Triin Kirs-Awardee
Mari-Trin Kiirs

To be honest, this series consists of my first tapestries. While studying, I learned to weave. I have woven rugs, fabrics, scarves and clothes. Soon it was clear to me that I wanted to weave more. Thanks to innovative professors at my school it was possible to do the impossible: change the fabric shape and threads’ position while weaving on a loom. I discovered tapestry almost in the end of my studies. I am glad that I did, because otherwise I would not have got to know this amazing medium – the same technique but completely different rules and possibilities.

At first, I was a little afraid of this time-consuming activity, but surprisingly the more I wove the more I started to like it. We had to make tapestry based on a story and quite soon I knew I wanted to make it as a tribute to my mother and family. In my opinion tapestry is great for telling stories. Just like in paintings, you can give visual emotions to the viewer by using certain colors, images and combinations.

I do not consider myself as a very good painter. But while weaving I realized that tapestries are like paintings in many ways. Only instead of paint there is yarn. It makes such a big difference – whether to use paint or yarn. For me, paint is abstract while yarn is something you can touch and feel. It is three-dimensional and makes up as a physical item in the end. Tapestries do not need frames when they are ready and quite often paintings are the designs for tapestries.

Weaving the series “Home” was a new experience for me. Petal by petal I gained confidence in blending the yarns together. I am glad that I was allowed to approach it in my own way. I did not weave a background. I simply made the tulip, floating petals and a beehive. All the tapestries are off-scale: some too large, others too small compared to real life. When knotting the ends of warp threads, the tulip turned alive – the petals started to curl and shape just like a real-life tulip.

Recently, I have studied the concept of process in making something. I have learned that nature is constantly in progress: seasons and weather change, once bloomed flowers turn into soil and one forest is not the same tomorrow. There also are no identical things in nature. Every snowflake has a unique structure, every blossom blooms in its own way. I take my art pieces the same way: the beauty is in the process. I cannot imagine how something will look like before I start making it. It is important to feel the material and eventually it will tell you what it wants to become and how to work with it.

Most of the times I have material first and then I start doing something from it. When weaving my tapestry “Home”, I had the idea first and material came secondly. I knew I wanted to depict a beautiful sight from my childhood. I also wanted to do something untraditional. A Canadian tapestry artist, Line Dufour, makes her tapestries from lots of small irregularly shaped woven pieces. This is where I had the idea to weave my tapestry piece by piece.

Another inspiration for me was an Estonian painter, Malle Leis, whose abnormally huge flower motifs I had seen from children’s books. My tulip is in full bloom and already starting to lose its petals while a small beehive floats in front of it. It can be said that the tulip represents my mother and the beehive is my father – small but important part of the flower’s life. Without the bees there would be no tulips.

As said before, I try to value process in my life. This is why tapestry is a very interesting medium for me. Yes, it is time-consuming, but there are not many activities in life left that can be done not thinking about how to do it quicker and more efficiently. I think that people need this kind of slow activities. It gives a chance to clear your mind from all these quick stimuli we get from phones, television.

In order to weave a tapestry, you have to feel every yarn with your fingers and learn how it moves, twists and finally works for you. Tapestry is full of the maker’s fingerprints. This is also quite unique nowadays. People have mostly mass-produced items in their homes. These items do not show the flow of process and making. Handmade items are being replaced by identical and unemotional things. I am not saying that everyone should have a tapestry in their household. I simply like the idea of making something with one’s hands or having such things in life.

Bio: I am a first year’s graduate of Pallas University of Applied Sciences in Tartu, Estonia. I studied at textile department and got awarded as Young Textile Artist of 2018 by Estonian Textile Artists’ Association.