Coastal Marin Artists Gallery
Greg King: New Inspirations from Ancient Traditions / Wool Textiles & Tapestry
November 20 - January 2, 2011
Curated by Elia Haworth
Greg King was born and raised in Marin County surrounded by creativity in his family and community. His grandmother, a world-traveler, had a loom and exposed him to weaving from many cultures. Greg did his first weaving at age seven and that planted the seed of his life-long passion for textiles.
As a teenager he began making his own natural dyes and looking at techniques from other traditions. “For example,” Greg says, “in Europe, from the 13th century through the Renaissance, sophisticated techniques of tapestry weaving and natural dyeing were widely known. Now much of that knowledge has been replaced by technology and synthetic dyes. Rediscovering those master techniques and developing my own innovations is exciting to me.” After having his first big tapestry accepted into an exhibition when he was 22, Greg was introduced to a 3rd generation French tapestry weaver and studied with him for a month, then went abroad to attend the famous tapestry school in Aubusson, France.
“For me weaving comes easily,’ he says, “ I can weave for 10 hours and have to remind myself to stop and eat. I also make blankets, scarves and fabrics. A small tapestry might take 5 days to a week of regular work. A big tapestry may take 6 months or more.” He also taught himself to knit from books and uses his finely crafted sweaters and hats as his daily wear. Now he mostly works from raw wool that he cards, spins and dyes himself.
Before beginning any weaving project, he has to dye the yarn. Dyeing with plant material takes a great deal of time but it is a fascinating process. Dyes and textiles have a long lineage of significance in human history. Greg says, “There is so much to know, and never enough time. ” In his studio, big bins hold skeins of his yarn in an astonishing range of colors. Though people would like to buy his yarns, he cannot spare the skeins, as they are the palette and media of his next creation. “To me there are endless possibilities in dyeing and tapestry.”