A National Treasure
On exhibit on a rotating basis over 500 masterworks of French and English silk tapestries based on work by major artists from the 15th through 20th century.
This is the most important and extensive exhibition of woven silk tapestry ever shown in the world. Showcasing the works of Stevengraphs, Carquillat, Neyret Freres, Staron & Meyers and more. These tapestries are considered the most beautiful tapestries in existence.
Silk tapestries are the art form of weaving silk textiles producing pictures and images. Structurally tapestry is composed of thousands of small rice shaped dots of color. These dots are created every time a weft travels across one warp and can be made either more blended or diverse by controlling of each dot; i.e., the spun silk itself and/or the weft bundle.
This is optical blending at its best; the physical mixing of silk of different colors that are then perceived by the eye as one color. This phenomena is what pointillism and divisionism utilized. Silk tapestries have remained popular because of their three-dimensional characteristics and intricate weaving. They are truly timeless works of art.
Joseph-Marie-Jacquard (1752-1834) was the French inventor who pioneered the practical use of punch cards to control the pattern of silk that was woven with his loom. The Jacquard loom started a technological revolution in the textile industry.
The system of punch cards used in its operation became a prototype for the first mechanical computers. This in part inspired English mathematician Charles Babbage (1791-1871), who came up with the concept of a calculating machine under the control of punch card. In 1939, Howard Aiken of IBM, invented the Harvard Mark I; The cycle of the “Birth of the Information Age”.
Francois Michel-Marie Carquillat (1803-1884) two centuries ago, transformed these works of art onto point-paper. A picture converted into such pictures points is called a point-paper or “patron”. Contrary to a printed fabric, the Jacquard silk pictures are created by interlacing the warp thread (in length) with black or white threads (across). On The reverse side the exact original is visible as a reverse negative. Initially, the original picture is transformed into individual picture-points, similar to television pictures. Each picture point, where warp and woof threads meet, is indicated by a mark. In this technical language subject exists of over 2 million picture-points (pixels) and requires about 1000 hours of artwork to be completed. The “patron” is then transformed onto a punch-card which controls the Jacquard weaving-machine, a process that could take up to another 2 ½ years.
Tiny changes in temperature and humidity in a room can cause the tapestries to shrink or expand from hour to hour, from minute to minute. It is if the tapestries appear to breathe, expanding, contracting and shifting. The threads twist and rotate restlessly. When the warp threads relax, the loops move and change.
There is a luminosity and depth of field in them. Obviously, photographs can neither reflect the beauty and sheen of pure silk, nor the impression of three dimension. Then there is a solace in their beauty and one can state at them in pure amazement.
“Picture yourself in Missouri with World-Class Exhibitions”
Be dazzled by an elegant and expensive medium at the National Silk art Museum. The largest such display in the world.
Written by: Missouri Tourism