Nancy Garretson is a tapestry weaver and resident artist and founding member of the Arts Depot in Abingdon, Virginia. Unlike traditional tapestries, her work is three-dimensional. Instead of weaving an image row by row in a single piece of cloth, she weaves several individual pieces and assembles them into a composition with textures and layers. This is an original technique that she has developed over the past forty years.
After teaching high school art in Maryland for several years, she decided to further her education and pursue her interest in crafts by getting a Master of Arts degree from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. This was in the years of the evolving Craft Movement of the early 1970s, and UT was one of only three schools in the United States offering a degree in crafts. It was there that she learned to weave tapestries, and she has been experimenting with her original three-dimensional tapestries ever since. Much of her current work is inspired by the beautiful mountain landscapes near Emory, her home in Southwest Virginia.
Garretson was an Adjunct Professor of Art at Emory and Henry College and a teacher in the Virginia Artist in Education Program for many years. She is a member of the American Tapestry Alliance, Tapestry Weavers South, The Holston Mountain Artisans Cooperative, and The Depot Artist Association. Over the years, she has shown her work at the Southern Highlands Crafts Museum, the Virginia Museum of Art, The William King Art Museum, and several galleries and craft shows.
Her show at Carson-Newman University’s Appalachian Cultural Center will display weavings showing the progression of her work over the years, as well as several more recent pieces.