Karen LeBlanc is a fiber artist and weaver who focuses on two distinct streams: 1. Traditional, functional and practical, which are woven on a four or eight-harness loom; and 2. Innovative, contemporary tapestry pieces. Karen recently participated as one of the NB representatives in the Collect 2020 Educational Mission with Craft Alliance in London, UK in February 2020. Karen has exhibited internationally, nationally, regionally and locally and participated in residencies in Fredericton and Toronto. Her pieces have been exhibited in Fort Collins CO, Reno NV, Milwaukee WI, Muskegon MI, New York NY, Toronto ON, Halifax NS, and many other galleries. Karen is a member of the several professional organizations: American TapestryAlliance, Complex Weavers, Handweavers Guild of America, CraftNB, Guild of Canadian Weavers, Beaverbrook Art Gallery, CraftNS, and many more. She is the Past President of the Fibre Arts Network and is the Treasurer of the NB Crafts Foundation.
My passion is weaving colors, textures, yarns and fibres together! I love focusing on themes; after photographing images of old weathered boats and houses, I created an “ageing and weathering” series of Jacquard pieces that were included in several exhibitions. I also create many wearable art forms that have been featured in international fashion shows and exhibitions. I enjoy playing with new methods of fibre creation, patterns and three-dimensional forms. I enjoy taking time to focus on my craft and to work on techniques that allow me to revolutionize my practice. Over the years, my weaving has evolved from basic weave structures to traditional weave structures such as beautiful overshot coverlets to tapestries to exploring weave structures and patterns on a Jacquard loom. At this point in my career, I am focusing on tapestry weaving, a very traditional form of weft-faced weaving that will be woven by hand on my Gobelin tapestry loom and on small frame looms. I will also continue to create woven wearables on my 8-harness loom in my home studio.
1. Penrose Triangle 2020
I have always been intrigued with optical illusions and the work of MC Escher. I used the Penrose Triangle design for this small tapestry. A Penrose triangle is also known as the “Penrose tribar,” and is an optical illusion that was deemed an “impossible object” by the mathematician Roger Penrose. Optical illusions create a split between how we see something and how that perception is skewed. The combination of thought and emotion supposedly opens the mind up to higher wisdom, making the triangle a very sacred symbol. For example, triangles represent a trinity such as “mind, body and spirit” or “past, present and future” or “father, son and holy ghost” or “faith, hope and charity or many more.
2. Tree Branches Tapestry
I enjoy working on shading and on tapestry techniques using small frames. For this, I painted a small wooden frame with green paint and then created a warp on the back with 8/4 green cotton yarn. I developed a new warping technique for these small frames using roman shade tape. Using a number of traditional tapestry weaving techniques, I created this small tapestry from various yarn ends, and incorporated wire to create 3-dimensional branches out of a boucle yarn. The weft is passed behind the tree trunk to make it stand out as well. Raw fleece was used for clouds at the top of this piece.
For this piece, I painted a small cardboard frame with silver paint and used it to mount a piece of blue weaving in the frame. This piece of weaving is woven with cotton and silk and has a fringe that hangs below the frame. This piece is hung from a long piece of blue thread that accents the blue yarn in the tiny woven sample.
For this piece, I worked on a miniature weaving loom that I created out of a tiny artist canvas by using quilting thread for a warp and weaving on the back of the canvas. A red tweed yarn was used for the background with a glowing round golden sun off-centre in this tiny piece. After the piece was woven, I painted a small cardboard frame with gold paint and mounted the miniature tapestry in the frame. This piece can be hung vertically or horizontally.
For this piece, I worked on a miniature weaving loom that I created out of a tiny artist canvas by using quilting thread for a warp and weaving on the back of the canvas. Green and gold yarns were used with pick and pick and other tapestry weaving techniques to create vertical stripes. Yarn was used for the background with a glowing golden sun off-centre in this tiny piece. After the piece was woven, I painted a small cardboard frame with gold paint and mounted the miniature tapestry in the frame. This piece can be hung vertically or horizontally.
To read Karen's CV, please click here