My first exposure to working with textiles was in junior high school. I went to a girls’ school and one of the projects we worked on was an applique version of Canadian history. I can’t remember the subject of the one I worked on except it had a lot of canoes. Perhaps that was where my interest in portraying water and boats started. As I moved onto high school and college, my interest in painting and drawing bloomed and after doing stints at the Banff School of Fine Arts and the Rhode Island School of design, I returned to the University of Puget Sound to finish up with a BA in Art Education and Elementary Education.

  When my first child was born, I put away my paints and dyepots and focused on tapestry because it was easy to drop at a moment’s notice and it satisfied my desire for image based work. After my second daughter was born, I became interested in working with schools and helped develop and implement a volunteer art program with the local school district. Eventually, I ended up teaching art at Charles Wright Academy and getting back into painting as well as doing tapestry.

I joined two other tapestry weavers, Mary Lane and Cecilia Blomberg, forming Pacific Rim Tapestries, a relatively short lived enterprise which produced three large scale tapestries for Mary Bridge Children’s Health Center in Tacoma. Working collaboratively was a great experience and a nice change from being alone in my studio.

 I am an active member in a regional tapestry group, Tapestry Artists of Puget Sound, as well as the American Tapestry Alliance, where I serve as the Exhibition Chair organizing shows of international work.I exhibit regularly and have work in public and private collections nationwide. Tapestry as a contemporary art form is not well understood. It has come a long way from its medieval glory days on castle walls to encompass work that ranges from tiny to vast, telling stories in many visual languages.

In recent years, as my mother has aged, I have taken to getting her out for adventures. We will take a day and visit a river, taking pictures along the way. This has led to a new body of work focusing on those spots on the rivers. I have always valued the power of art to transform. I hope my work in portraying my local environment will make others see the beauty and potential for its loss.

"Wake", Oil on canvas 2014

Margo Macdonald