TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List | Sheila Held Contemporary Tapestries
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Sheila Held Contemporary Tapestries

Sheila Held Contemporary Tapestries
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Sheila Held Contemporary Tapestries Tapestry

Sheila Held – Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, USA

Contemporary Tapestries


“What is conceivable can also happen.” Wittgenstein

“Art it not art except as it leads to an engendering creativity in its beholders.” James Carse

Tantra means “the weaving”. Tapestry is a form of tantra: vertical warp threads, Purusha, unchanging and unseen, the ground of being holding all together; horizontal weft threads, Maya, ever-varied and visible, the outward manifestation, building up an image from scratch rather than spreading it on a prefabricated surface. Their union forms an image that, like matter itself, appears to be continuous but is in actuality composed of quantified units: materially-speaking fibers, conceptually-speaking pixels.

Tapestry is never free from the grid, but with the help of creative consciousness is able to sabotage it from within. The precise and time-consuming process is, in itself, a statement against the current emphasis on what is ephemeral and dispensable. In my imagery, I attempt to access the point where magic, science, religion, art and nature intersect, and a conjunction of opposites, a complementarity (both this and that) is achieved, in the hope of narrowing the gap between the ideal and the practical.

Through a density of information, I strive to initiate a dialogue with my audience and to speak to a variety of interpretations with enough resonance to change as the times in which they are viewed change. I am particularly interested in releasing my artworks into lives of their own in which relationships with their viewers are formed independent of my conscious manipulation, which can only happen if the metaphors transcend the “messages”. This requires that I explore a diversity of themes and iconography rather than closing out avenues of imagination other than my own by exhaustively working out a few central ideas.

As Shunryu Suzuki Roshi writes, “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s there are few.”

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