Weaving as an Art form Inspired by Theo Moorman


About Theo Moorman

Theo Moorman (1907-1990) was a British weaver who studied art in the UK in the 1920s and traveled and taught extensively in the United States during the 1970s. She shows us how far she had advanced from the concept of weaving as purely utilitarian cloth.

Her book, Weaving as an Art Form:  A Personal Statement, was published in 1975 and says on its back cover, “Nowadays weaving and the allied processes of manipulating thread and fiber are generally accepted as an art form, but this has only recently been so.  The weaving class Theo Moorman attended as an art student in the 1920s taught three subjects:  yardage weaving for dress and furnishing fabrics, rug weaving, and tapestry weaving.  Wall hangings had not been “invented” and weaving was strictly flat and two-dimensional.  The emergence of the artist-designer-weaver, emphatically one person, is a major breakthrough in the history of the craft of weaving.  Weavers have joined the ranks of artists of all time; they are no longer backwater but in the mainstream.”

After seeing this weaving technique termed, The Moorman Technique on #weaversofinstagram by Artist and Design Professor Beth Emmott @beth_emmott, I ordered it from Amazon.

Theo Moorman  created monumental commissioned works by using a technique that she created as an easier alternative to traditional tapestry weaving.  Using a 2 warp system on a floor loom, the Moorman Technique is a method of inlaying weft yarns using a tie down system of warp yarns. The tie-down yarns are twice as fine as the ground warp, and given the selection of color, can be nearly invisible.

This post about my experience with this method is years in the making.  Weaving is a slow process.  And weaving as an art form takes on a whole new meaning through this structure and experience.

The Moorman Technique


The Draft


The Warps

Screen Shot 2017-11-02 at 11.48.45 AM

For the examples illustrated here, the the ground warp is 10/2 natural cotton, and the tie-down warp is 20/2 black cotton. It is available from Supreme Corporation in North Carolina, USA. 

The Loom

Screen Shot 2017-11-02 at 11.47.12 AM

Screen Shot 2017-11-02 at 11.29.49 AM

Using swatches of cardboard, I wrapped yarns in a variety of colors and textures to use as my palette.

Weaving the Samples



           1,2,2 Variation
Exercise 1 Plain Weave
Exercise 2 Plain Weave with Ground Weft
Exercise 2 Variation – Plain Weave with 2 Ground Wefts

Exercise 3
Isolated Shapes Inlaid

Screen Shot 2017-11-02 at 11.45.53 AM


Exercise 4
Inlaid Areas Adjacent




Exercise 5
Overlapping Areas of Transparent Color or Value


Exercise 6
Varied Inlaid Yarns, Thick and Thin



The woven sampler



Art Work in the Making


This experimental warp is finally off of the loom.  These are a few of the compositions created during the process.  Now the next phase is to finish these works and have them ready for exhibit.


See more inspiration on instagram

Screen Shot 2017-11-02 at 11.55.23 AM








3 thoughts on “Weaving as an Art form Inspired by Theo Moorman

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s