Michael Rohde’s woven tapestries
Travel and textiles from around the world have often been the basis for the weavings I have done. I began weaving in the early 1970s, from a curiosity about how cloth was made. At first I taught myself from books, but then followed the path of learning my craft in workshops taught by many teachers over the years. When I lived in Houston, I enrolled in the Museum of Fine Arts school, studying Color and design along with art history and drawing.
Since I’ve never made my living from my weaving, I developed an affinity for geometric designs, honoring the natural grid of the loom.. Having chosen a way of working, my eyes are always open to what is around me that might be reinterpreted in woven cloth. Many times, I’ll explore a geometric challenge to a final plan for what I will weave.
The weaving process is long and I’m often asked how I find the patience to see it through. There are also comments about how meditative the process must be. My own take on both these observations I’ve found echoed later in writings by the painter Agnes Martin, and choreographer Twyla Tharp. Both encourage going into the studio every day, no matter what, which is what I try to do. That first step what it takes to set the path: turn on the light, and start.
I find comfort in the slow repetitive actions of weaving, which leaves my mind free to wander, often contemplating what I will weave next once I’m done with the one on which I am working. However, I find I am most productive when I listen to spoken word books. This gives me an anchor to the loom, and rescues me from the temptation to drift to other temptations, far too many of which are embodied in a nearby computer or other electronic detractions.
From time to time, my subject matter has made reference to political concerns, but most always not in an overt way. It is always my hope that the quiet beauty of the cloth that I construct will be the first impact on the viewer. Sometimes, no, usually there will be more.
For more information visit www.michaelrohde.com.