I just finished reading Debra Dean's new book, Hidden Tapestry: Jan Yoors, his two wives, and the war that made them one. I really enjoyed this book. It is well written and the story is far-ranging. It is a biography of Jan Yoor, an artist from Belgium who spent much of his youth with the gypsies and was part of the resistance during World War II. He survived the war, married his childhood sweetheart Annabert, and eventually added her friend Marianne as a second wife to their family. The Yoors moved to America eventually and ran a tapestry studio in Manhattan. Jan designed the work and the women wove it.
Debra Dean deals deftly with stories ranging from childhood adventures to imprisonment during WWII to the family's struggle to remain cohesive and stay financially solvent. From the press release for the book:
Jan Yoors' website (http://janyoors.com/tapestry/) is well worth spending some time on. There are some amazing photos of his work and studios as well as links to his writings.
There is much of interest in this book for contemporary tapestry weavers. The descriptions of the weaving are scarce, but pair your reading with a visit to the website and the story comes together brilliantly. As I read, I could imagine the family working hard to complete these monumental tapestries. Often money was scarce, commissions fell through, or pieces had to be done with inhuman speed.
His wife Marianne and son Kore are still living in the studio in Manhattan to my knowledge. Ask a few New York tapestry weavers and you might find someone who knows them.
Bottom line: read this book. I loved it and I will definitely be spending more time learning about Jan Yoors with special interest in his wives and weavers, Marianne and Annabert.
Attention all Colorado weavers! Debra Dean will be giving a reading and book signing. She'll be at the Book Bar at 4280 Tennyson Street in Denver June 8th at 7 pm. See the promotion below for details. I hope to see you there!
Have you read this book or the books Jan Yoors wrote? Any other experience with this artist? Tell us what you think in the comments.