Joan Griffin is a full time artist hand weaving tapestries for exhibitions and commissions; her work has been shown in numerous juried exhibitions throughout the country and internationally. Primarily using her 8′ wide tapestry loom, Joan has created and woven designs for churches, corporations, hospitals and university libraries as well as the residential market. She also offers occasional classes in tapestry weaving in her studio.
Joan holds a MFA in Textile Design from Antioch University and a BS in Art Education from State University College at Buffalo, NY. She recently completed several years on the Board of Directors of the American Tapestry Alliance, an international tapestry organization and is also a member of Tapestry Weavers South, a regional tapestry organization that works to promote tapestry weaving throughout the region. She is a juried member of the Artisan Center of Virginia which promotes the work of Virginia artists.
She has taught at numerous art centers and colleges as well as privately and has also managed several galleries. She was the Research Assistant to Irene Emery, curator emeritus, at the Textile Museum in Washington. DC.
After undergraduate school, Joan began her artistic career as a watercolor painter. She started weaving about 40 years ago and began to concentrate on tapestry weaving about 30 years ago.
Joan explains her approach to her art: “Tapestry is a contemplative medium; a contrast to fast paced life in the 21st century. The land is the primary influence on my design concepts; just as nature slowly evolves to reveal many forms, so do tapestries. I am intrigued by taking a detail element of a natural landscape and translating it into my own imagery. As the tapestry slowly develops, I regard the subtle variations until the color choice is just right. The relationship between color and form is the most important consideration, with combinations of fine wool, silk and metallic yarns plus beads and metal used because of the different way that they react to light. This interaction is an integral part of the surface.”
From a distance, a tapestry tells a story but there is also interest and interpretation in the details. There are patterns; there is a progression of time. As the tapestry develops I have a dialogue with the landscape and find it a never ending source of inspiration.