ETYMON. 2010. Cotton, Jacquard viewing. 300 x 1500 cm.
CYNTHIA SCHIRA has been exhibiting for over 40 years and is one of the most influential figures in the world of contemporary textiles. She has been using computerised looms since 1983 to create complex woven textile structures and was one of the first textile artists to fully appreciate the potential of computerisation for the handweaver. Cynthia Schira received the Gold Medal from the College of Fellows of the American Craft Council in 2000 in recognition of her lifetime achievement and an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1989. Her work is found in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Chicago Art Institute and many others. Cynthia Schira’s work has been shown in many important international exhibitions, including the 6th, 8th and 14th Lausanne Tapestry Biennials (in 1973, 1977 and 1989); the 3rd Tapestry Triennial of Lodz, Poland, in 1978; the ’89 International Textile Competition, Kyoto, Japan; Textiles and New Technology, London, in 1994; Technology as Catalyst: Textile Artists on the Cutting Edge, Washington Textile Museum, in 2002/3; and the 5th Kaunas Biennial, “TEXTILE 05″.
Cynthia Schira took part in a 1991 jacquard project at the Müller Zell jacquard weaving mill; today she works with Oriole Mill, a new style jacquard mill, under the direction of Bethanne Knudson, one of her former students at the University of Kansas. In the last decade, the themes of Schira’s work were notations, ciphers and codes. Her latest work to be shown in Kaunas is a jacquard weaving entitled “Etymon” dating from 2010 and measuring 9 by 3 meters, with an abstract design based on 39 digital images representing museum objects.
Cynthia Schira: I am a weaver. Recently I have worked extensively on an electronic Jacquard loom at the Oriole Mill in North Carolina. The title ETYMON comes from the world “etymon” which means an earlier form of a word in the same language. This weaving is a precursor to a project that will happen at the Spencer Museum at the University of Kansas in 2013. Digital images available online of objects in their collection were the source of the abstract panels within this weaving. By combining and juxtaposing aspects of these objects, new patterns developed. The complexity of the graphic relationships along with the morphing of the marks by their translation into woven structures fascinate me.
ETYMON was woven on a 117 inch wide Staubli electronic loom that has four heads. The set is 168 epi. The warp is white Egyptian mercerized cotton, the weft black cotton.