About Contemporary Tapestry Weaving
Ulrika Leander was born and raised in Sweden with its rich history and tradition of artistic expression through the medium of hand-woven tapestry. She received a 5-year formal training in three schools in Stockholm and received her MA in fiber art and design from the HV’s College of Art and Design. This intensive education and training remain a powerful influence in her work to this day. Currently she is living on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland where she has her studio.
Ulrika’s inspiration stems from emotional experiences rooted in her own life and her interactions with the complex forces, shapes and colors of the natural world. Ideas are explored initially through the medium of watercolor with an awareness of the transition that must be achieved from the watercolor to the medium of tapestry and the intensification of colors that occurs when the image is transposed to the much larger surface of the tapestry. During weaving, multiple fine threads of varying thicknesses are blended to achieve the delicate variations in color tones of the watercolor. Her work is characterized by a superb handling of color that explores the interactions and tensions between unusual and unexpected color groups but sometimes it is through the very absence of color and working within a very narrow palette that she is able to create atmosphere and emotional intensity.
Ulrika was drawn to tapestry by its very complexity, the need to work in two media and create a transition between them, and to utilize the unique textural qualities inherent in the tapestry artform.
Ulrika’s fine-art tapestries have been widely commissioned for private collections and for corporate and public buildings both in the US and in Sweden.
My subject matter is primarily related to the inspiration that I find in the colors, shapes and movement in the natural world in all its forms; my work is about expressing and conveying the feelings of joy, peace, and tranquility that come with the contemplation of Nature. I use a traditional weaving technique while constantly striving to extend my ability to capture nuances of color tone and structure. I work with a 14 ft. wide vertical tapestry loom together with the highest quality tapestry yarns from Scandinavia and Australia.
I explore and develop my ideas through the medium of watercolor. When I reach the point where I feel that I am ready to commit to devoting 5-6 months or more to transforming my ideas into a tapestry, the outline of the water color design is traced and then digitally enlarged to the full size of the final tapestry. This enlargement provides the map for guiding the hand-weaving process while the watercolor provides the guide for the selection of the yarn colors and tones. During weaving, multiple fine threads of varying thicknesses are blended to achieve the delicate variations in the color tones of the watercolor.