What happens when one woman’s passion for tapestry unites the creative efforts of innovative artisans with major painters and sculptors?”
Gloria F. Ross (1923-1998) explored new directions, combined different media, and crossed boundaries before these were common practice. Her career is unique in American art. With impeccable judgment and unyielding standards, she established a visual language for contemporary tapestry. Functioning much like a film producer, she chose weavers in France, Scotland, and the United States to translate painted and collaged images into tapestry and hooked rugs. To provide the imagery, she selected acclaimed modernist artists, including Helen Frankenthaler (Ross’s sister), Robert Motherwell, Louise Nevelson, and Kenneth Noland, as well as Milton Avery, Romare Bearden, Stuart Davis, Jean Dubuffet, Hans Hofmann, Pual Jenkins, Lucas Samaras, Frank Stella, Jack Youngerman, and fifteen other stellar designers.
Textile scholar Ann Hedlund uses Ross’s lively correspondence, weavers’ notes, and artists” sketches to explore the professional negotiations and relationships that endured for more than thirty years. Hedlund traces the development of Ross’s career, profiles the artists with whom she worked, and documents the making of each tapestry series. Accompanied by a chronology, bibliography, checklist, glossary, and index, more than 400 brilliant color plates and illustrations affirm Ross’s creative accomplishments. The book was designed by Jeff Wincapaw of Marquand Books, Seattle, Washington.
Grounded in the author’s knowledge of textiles and her long friendship with Ross, this unusual book shows us the world of art and artists at the places where inspiration, craft, and business intersect.
Ann Lane Hedlund, Ph.D., is a professor of anthropology at the University of Arizona, Tucson, and curator of ethnology at Arizona State Museum. She directs the University’s Gloria F. Ross Tapestry Program. She met Gloria Ross while conducting ethnographic fieldwork among craftspeople around the Navajo Nation. Recognized as a foremost authority on ethnic textiles, Dr. Hedlund edited Joe Ben Wheat’s award-winning book, Blanket Weaving in the Southwest (2003) and is author of Navajo Weaving in the Late Twentieth Century: Kin, Community, and Collectors (2004).
Until her retirement, Grace Glueck was an art reporter, editor, and critic in the New York Times Cultural News Department for more than three decades.
About the photographs