A Dan’s Papers cover like this week’s by Pamela Topham comes at a good time. What with the storm and the lack of electricity, we need a cheerful image to revive us. Topham’s tapestries are not only cheerful but life-affirming. What’s more, the familiar ponds, fields and gardens are especially comforting: this is home for us, a place that’s not only sensual but authentic as well. Topham has her feet firmly planted on the ground, and we walk in her footsteps when we experience her work.
Tell us about the cover. It’s perfect for this time of year.
The cover is called “Accabonac Harbor, Autumn Light.” I did it a couple of years ago, from the view of Andy Sabin’s house. It’s part of a whole series—drawings, prints, tapestry. I work from a pencil drawing, which is more detailed, although I take photographs, too. But photographs are not as detailed.
So in some series or works, do you use a different process?
I also work from pencil sketches and photographs (which provide information). Then I combine the sketches and the photographs and make a drawing from this. The recent Box Art Auction for the East End Hospice had a piece of mine from this cover series.
What are you involved with now?
My current series has six works from Sagaponack: Sag Pond; Peter’s Pond Beach; a flower field, Sag Pond from Bridge Lane; and White’s Farm. That land has been in the family for 50 years. It’s owned by my daughter’s grandparents.
Where have you shown recently? I know your work is seen all over the country. People can then appreciate our landscape.
My work has been at the San Jose Textile Museum and at Weavers’ Southwest. Closer by, I showed at Greenport’s South Street Gallery. I’m now at Brecknock Hall in Greenport. It is a maritime theme show, and so I have one of my water pieces there and one from my boat series. They were both on the covers of Dan’s Papers in the past.
What’s next for you?
I’m used to doing small works. I’m ready to work on something bigger, like big topsail schooners. A sail is a beautiful sculptural form.
You are also going out of the country.
Yes, to the Czech Republic. I have been there before, and I don’t know how to get around. Maybe hike or take a bus. I want to do work showing the landscape out of the city.
Who has the best tapestry museum here in America?
The Textile Museum in Washington, the Met.
How about in Taos?
There’s where the western influence is. It has a certain style, and it doesn’t depart.
How about your own style?
I went from art to tapestry. I started out majoring in costume design, thus the interest in fabric. Some artists go from tapestry to art.
What else influenced your going into tapestry?
A trip to Central America and then coming back here and taking a class in tapestry at Guild Hall.
I see you are very connected to this area. No mater where you go, home is right here.
You are right.
Pamela Topham’s work can be seen on her website, pamelatopham.com.