Gloria F. Ross, Founder

Gloria F. Ross established the GFR Center for Tapestry Studies in November 1997 because she believed that the traditional art of tapestry making is largely unrecognized by researchers and lay people alike. Her commitment to the Center grew out of a self-created career, working as an editeur of tapestries in the classical French tradition. She mourned the decline of 20th century tapestry production throughout the world as modern technology replaces handmade artwork. She sought greater scholarly attention and broader public awareness for tapestry’s wide-ranging value for the fine arts, and also for history, economics, politics, technology, and culture studies. She recognized that greater appreciation would be achieved not by broad statements, but through a specialized program of rigorous study and the sharing of results through books, articles, exhibits, lectures, and workshops.

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Her vision included:

  • support for research conducted by the GFR Center’s own staff, and
  • collaborations between the GFR Center and other like-minded organizations, especially museums and professional textile-related groups.

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Gloria Ross emphasized that her interests focused upon “true tapestry,” that is, textiles made with discontinuous weft patterning in weft-faced plain weave as defined by Irene Emery in The Primary Structures of Fabrics. Ross felt that because this versatile technique held the capacity for such wide-ranging imagery and expression, it warranted specific attention. She held tapestry’s refined and expressive qualities above certain other forms of contemporary fiber art, especially those popular in the 1960s and ’70s.

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For more information about Gloria Ross, see In memoriam for a series of remembrances about her life and Career for her professional affiliations from the 1960s into the 1990s.

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