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WhoWhatWhy: Fiber

<Who><What><Why><In the world (1973 - 1988)><In the world (2015 - )><Bibliography>


Tapestries in the local museum fascinated me as a child. Foreground and background merged into an ireal world where everything was present with equal force. At the same time that the perspective, objects, and landscapes seemed highly conventionalized, faces were those of specific individuals. However, in high school and the beginning years of college my creative interest was directed toward sound and writing. The tapestries floated along the edges.

The move into visual arts was largely the result of joining many others in the late 1960s and early 70s in the use of large quantities of hallucinogenic substances. Visual art seemed the most appropriate avenue for expressing these experiences.

Mooney at the loom


At the time I was hanging out with my girlfriend in the weaving studio of the local art school. I became a sort of general factotum, helping students set up their looms for projects, winding yarn and the like. This work triggered memories of those old tapestries and I found the direct, tactile, physical, and low-tech qualities of weaving highly attractive. This led to the purchase of a second hand tapestry loom and, eventually, to the development of skills needed to create pictorial works in fiber. From 1973 through 1988 I created a subtantial body of work using conventional and triaxial weaves.


During these years there was a constant tension in the doing of the work, a pull back toward sound that eventually led me to give up fiber. Now, after more than two decades of working in a highly technical medium, I'm returning to fiber. This is partly due to severe hearing loss but is also a reaction to the ever more ubiquitous presence, and intrusion, of electronic devices that seem to push us into an ever tighter present and ever shorter attention spans. Events just happen. They have no context or history. We are so busy recording and communicating, if it can be called that, our experiences that we don't actually have the experience. Or, recording it becomes having it. Weaving is a way to step out of this insanity.

In the world (1973 - 1988)

Marietta Crafts National
Marietta College, Marietta, Ohio, 1974, 1980

Weavers’ Guild of Pittsburgh, annual shows
[various locations], Pittsburgh, 1975 (Harrisville Design Award), 1976, 1979, 1981 (Best use of color), 1982, 1983, 1984 (“Brightest piece without metallic yarn”), 1985, 1986 (LeClerc Award), 1988

Warp Factor Nine. Invitational exhibit
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Allegheny Center Branch, 1976

Tapestries: Two person show with Maxine Heller
Undercroft Gallery, Pittsburgh, 1978

Beaux Arts Designer/Craftsman
Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, Ohio, 1979

Tapestries II: Two person show with Maxine Heller
Unicorn Gallery, Towson, Maryland, 1979

Three Rivers Arts Festival
Pittsburgh, 1980, 1981, 1982 (Honorable Mention), 1984, 1986 (Connections: Works in Fiber)

Exhibit at The Store sponsored by the Carnegie Institute of Art, 1979, tour 1979-1980

Associated Artists of Pittsburgh Small Show
[various locations], 1980, 1981, 1982, 1985

Mannings Annual Handweaver’s Show
Mannings Handweaving School, East Berlin, Pennsylvania, 1980, 1981, 1982 (2nd prize, fiber manipulation category)

Tapestries III: Two person show with Maxine Heller
Gellman Room, Richmond Public Library, Richmond, Virginia, 1982

Tapestry and Triaxial Weaving: Two person show with Maxine Heller
H. M. Neal Gallery, Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, 1982

Celebration of American Crafts
Creative Arts Workshop, New Haven, Connecticut, 1983

The Figure: New Form/New Function
Arrowmont Gallery, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Gatlinburg, Tennessee, 1983

Museum Show. Associated Artists of Pittsburgh
Carnegie Institute of Art, 1983, 1985

Oxford Center, Pittsburgh, 1984

Bird in the Hand Gallery, Sewickly, Pennsylvania, 1985

Artists’ Response to Technology
Carnegie Mellon Institute Gallery, Pittsburgh, 1985

Works in Fiber: Two person show with Maxine Heller
Velar Gallery, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, 1985

Fiber National
Adams Memorial Gallery, Dunkirk, New York, 1985, 1986, 1987

Triaxially Braided Works. One person show
Associated Artists of Pittsburgh Gallery, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, 1986

Pittsburgh Society Regional
Pittsburgh Society of Artists, Studio Z, Pittsburgh, 1987

Wholly Matrimony. Invitational exhibit for married couples in the arts
Johnstown Art Museum, Johnstown, Pennsylvania, 1987

Wichita National
Wichita Art Association, Wichita, Kansas, 1987

Contemporary Crafts Exhibition
Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, 1988


In the world (2015 - )

Kaleidoscope (Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh)
Spinning Plate Gallery, Pittsburgh, November 5 - 28, 2015

Pop des Fleurs at the Hermann Museum
John A. Hermann, Jr. Memeroial Art Museum, Bellevue, PA, March 4 - April 28, 2016

Threads: A Sampling of Fiber Arts
Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center, Dowell, MD, March 18 - July 24, 2016

Awakening (Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh)
The Artsmiths, Mt. Lebanon, PA, March 5 - April 1, 2017

2017 Kate Derum Award Finalist Exhibit
Australian Tapestry Workshop, Melbourne, Australia, August 8 - September 29, 2017

Blue (Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh Member Show)
Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Pittsburgh, PA, August 11 - October 29, 2017

Small Tapestry International 5: Crossroads (American Tapestry Alliance)
Gallery on the Square, University of North Texas, Denton Texas, August 17 - September 30, 2017; Handforth Gallery, Tacoma Public Library, Tacoma, WA, November 15 - December 30, 2017

Gender Bender: Women in Wood, Men at the Loom
Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, MA, October 21, 2017 - March 11, 2018

Material: An Exhibition of Original Fiber Artworks from Across the Country
d'Art Center Harbor Group International Gallery, Norfolk, VA, February 20 - March 29, 2018

Digislam (online exhbit)
American Tapestry Alliance, for Convergence 2018, Reno, Nevada, July, 2018

Old and New Works by Maxine Heller and David Mooney
Sewickley Public Library, Sewickley, PA, August 12 - September 15, 2018

Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh members' show, Harlan Gallery, Seton Hill University, September 23 - October 18, 2018

Materials Hard + Soft (32 Annual International Contemporary Craft Competition and Exhibition)
Patterson - Appleton Arts Center, Denton, TX, February 2 - May 4, 2019

National Juried Fiber Art Exhibition
Bower Center for the Arts, Bedford, VA, July 9 - August 17, 2019



"Color Transitions in Triaxial Weaving." Fiberarts. 15:2 (1988), 16.

"David Mooney’s New Portraits Utilize his Pioneering Triaxial Weave to Create Effective
Shading." Fiberarts. 15:2 (1988), 17.

Fiberarts Design Book. New York: Hastings House Publishers, 1980: 43.

Goodman, Deborah Lerme. "Pictorial Tapestry: A Portfolio of Contemporary Work."
Fiberarts. 10 (May/June, 1983), 29-35.

_____. "The Triaxial Weaving of David Mooney." Fiberarts. 13 (May/June, 1986), 34-37.

Hutchins, Jean, ed. The Fiberarts Design Book II. Asheville, NC: Lark Books, 1983: 24,

Mooney, David R. "Braiding Triaxial Weaves: Enhancements and Design for Artworks."
Ars Textrina. 5 (June, 1986), 9-31.

_____. "Handweaving Triaxial Weaves with Braiding Techniques." Ars Textrina. 3 (Fall,
1984), 99-124.

_____. "Triaxial Weaves and Weaving: An Exploration for for Handweavers." Ars
Textrina. 2 (Spring, 1984), 9-68.

"Triaxial Weaving." Handwoven. 10 (Nov/Dec, 1989): 58-60.

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