Artist Profile | Vena Tipton

Sometime in the summer of 2011 I received the following in an email, with a few photos of hooked tapestries attached, from a Mrs. Judy Tipton-Katzman looking to sell her grandmothers handmade art:

Vena Tipton - Letter from Judy

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Vena Tipton 2

Included in the email was this picture of Vena with an amazing quilt of her crafting - such an amazing piece I couldn't take my eyes off it.

This letter immediately caught my attention, as this Vena woman sounded very much like me in spirit – an eccentric traveler who loves art and music.  When I met with Judy (her granddaughter) to see the pieces she had for sale it was apparent that these works of art should be part of our inventory at Rare Beautiful Things.  Vena’s work was inspired by travel, and we try to collect rare and beautiful things when we travel, so the artful tapestries seemed like a good fit.  As soon as we walked into Judy’s bedroom to look at the large Egyptian piece from her email, I recognized the amazing quilt from Vena’s photo on the bed, it was even more stunning in person…as was, what Judy would refer to as, the “King Tut” piece.

Judy told us of how her grandmother made practically everything she used tapestry-wise – her clothes, her rugs, her tapestries, hats, bags, curtains…you name it, she probably made it.

Prior to settling into the artists life Vena was a musician, but gave up that nomadic musical existence to concentrate on her handwoven arts for which she has been recognized in articles and been granted numerous awards.  Vena even had a documentary film, “Songs of Wool” (by Tulsa filmmaker Cathy Edwards), made about her (which I hope to acquire rights to use here for educational purposes).

Vena Tipton - Tulsa Tribune Article

When we left Judy we had even taken one of Vena’s larger works which had been partially damaged by excessive exposure to water.  We hope to be able to restore the work properly without losing the immaculate borders.

Judy had told us everything she knew about her inspirational grandmother, but promised to send me additional information.  When I received her packet, I was amazed with the photos inside – a number of them included the pieces that we had purchased or collected from her – with the eccentric artist boasting her well rounded history in her pose.  They don’t need much explanation, you can really get a sense of Vena’s character and the amazing works she created through the photos themselves:

Vena Tipton w Hooked Tapestries 2 Vena Tipton w Hooked Tapestries 3

Vena Tipton w Hooked Tapestries 4Vena Tipton w Hooked Tapestries 1

Vena Tipton Home w Hooked Tapestries 1 Vena Tipton Home w Hooked Tapestries 2

It is an honor to be able to have this one-of-a-kind collection on Rare Beautiful Things website.  Vena’s colorful weavings are certainly some of the most interesting vintage tapestries in RBTs inventory – along with her story, and the work’s documented history, her creations are a compilation which must be recognized as rare and beautiful pieces of art.

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