Fort Vancouver Tapestry makes first Clark County appearance in three years

It has 77 panels depicting local history

By Tom Vogt, Columbian science, military & history reporter



If you go

What: Fort Vancouver Tapestry.

Where: Vancouver Community Library, 901 C St., Vancouver, in the Columbia Room.

When: 9 a.m.-8 p.m. today through Wednesday.


A 108-foot-long summary of local history is back in public view.

It's the Fort Vancouver Tapestry, which is on display at the downtown Vancouver Community Library. The community-based piece of folk art will be exhibited through Wednesday in the Columbia Room.

It's the first local appearance for the tapestry in several years, said Sherry Mowatt, the project's artistic director.

The textile artwork "is so long that it's hard to find good display spaces," Mowatt said. "The last Clark County appearance was at the Wine & Jazz Festival three years ago.

"We are looking for a permanent home, so we want people to know about it."

One of its biggest showcases was in 2007 in Japan. It was on display for three months in Vancouver's sister city, Joyo.

This week's library display is in conjunction with the Vancouver Downtown Association's monthly arts event.

"It's something that draws in the community," reference librarian Jennifer Hauan said.

And, downtown library patrons can get a chance to appreciate artistic and historic creativity they don't see every day, Hauan said.

The tapestry consists of 77 panels, Mowatt said.

"Each panel details a certain place or event or person vital to the history of Clark County and Southwest Washington," she said.

The project started with a city grant in 1999, under the leadership of Eleanor van de Water. She died in 2005, the year the tapestry was finished.

The tapestry represents 100,000 hours of work by everyone involved.

"We had 57 stitchers from as far north as Sedro-Woolley down to Salem, (Ore.)," Mowatt said. "There also were 12 who came from Japan a couple of times.

"The base fabric is Belgian linen. Most of the thread is wool that was dyed in Portugal," Mowatt said. "We used some metallic threads. Joyo produces almost all the gold thread used in Japan — and that's a lot. They gave us different metallic threads."