NEXT ARTIST arrowright.GIF (261 bytes)





























Tamara Jaworska


  • immigrated to Toronto, Ontario in 1969
  • B.F.A., Honors, State Academy of Fine Arts, Poland (1950); M.F.A. Faculty of Design and Weaving, State Academy of Fine Arts, Lodz, Poland (1952)

expanded images click on thumbnails at left to view larger images

A renowned Canadian fiber artist and weaver in the discipline of tapestry/gobelin, Tamara Jaworska’s tapestries have won her national and international recognition. Her skill as an artist-weaver belongs to the disciplines that were born more than five hundred years ago, while the pictorial essence of her tapestries is pure twentieth-century: dynamic and original in design, splendid in colours and filled with new and surprising forms. "Tamara Jaworska is an artist whose gobelin-tapestries reflect the sensibility, intelligence and vigor of a dynamic personality" wrote Glen E. Cumming. Studying in post war Poland, Jaworska entered the artistic scene at a time when there was a resurgence in textile arts. From 1952-57 Jaworska was a senior assistant professor and lecturer at the Academy of Fine Arts in Lodz. In 1954 Jaworska became artistic director of LAD, a state-run arts and crafts cooperative in Warsaw. During this period Jaworska also gave an experimental art weaving workshop called Cepelia. In 1958 she stopped teaching and bought a loom, in order to devote more time to weaving. She brought to Canada her own very personal, original and unique style of the design and the execution of the tapestry as an art form. Like some Polish artist-weavers in the 1960s, Jaworska set an important precedent by conceiving and executing her own designs unlike previous artists who produced designs which were then woven by weavers. This method permits the artist to modify the design encouraging artistic freedom and spontaneity. Using the very difficult Gobelin technique, in which threads are drawn through the warp by hand and only a small area of tapestry is worked at one time, Jaworska has found "this means a wonderful creative freedom, for she is free to pick and choose every single thread, colour and texture, combining and changing until exactly the right tone, depth and feeling are achieved for her expression" (Douglas, 1978). Designing both abstract and realistic compositions, Jaworska derives inspiration from nature and the Canadian landscape. The Canadian nature and landscape has always played a very significant role in the character of her vision. Works such as Ultima (1979), a landscape largely composed of deep blue sky towards which whimsical plant forms reach, and the Free Verses series (1990-91), which is mainly based on floral imagery, reflect this interest in nature. Her more abstract works, concerned with colour and the combination of geometric and organic forms, include the 1974 Quartet Modern series, and Beyond (1986). John E. Vollmer has commented on her work, writing: "Jaworska is a painter who chooses weaving as her medium. Her work is based on contemporary art vocabulary--broad gesture, juxtaposition, layering, suggestion of some underlying psychological truth. Jaworska's expressive work assaults the senses with urgency; we are challenged to grapple with the meanings of their visual, intellectual and emotional abstractions. . . . Colour resonates with depth and nuance. Surface is an adventure of  tactile delight. Composition suggests some unspoken narrative or fragments of an unsung melody. These large-scale tapestries are not merely background decoration to be admired; they are expressions that command our attention, demanding reaction" (1992). In 1971 her Unity of Canada tapestry, featuring the official flowers of each province, the Gatineau Hills, the parliament buildings in Ottawa and the Rideau canal, was hung in the Place Bell Canada lobby in Ottawa, and in 1977 she created the Stream of Life series for Metropolitan Life's head office in Ottawa. From 1980 to 1990 Jaworska conducted seminars for post-graduate students in the Faculty of Design and Fibre Art at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto. In 1993 the artist received the Governor General’s commemorative medal and was elected a member of the Order of Canada in recognition of her outstanding contribution to Canadian art. In the words of the Governor General: "Tamara Jaworska is an artist and weaver at the forefront of the renaissance of the sixteen century of French gobelin tapestry tradition. She is renowned for her ability to marry this medieval craft with contemporary design." "Tamara Jaworska" said Richard Demarco, Director of the Demarco Galleries in Edinburgh, Scotland and Editor in Chief of the International Art Review, "is one of the most important artists I have ever had dealings with. She helped me understand the significance of weaving as an art form." "Her tapestries are at the peak of modern weaving art," said Paris Louvre's Francois Mathieu, Curator of Decorative Art. Robert Inard, Founder and Director of The Centre National de la Tapisserie D'Aubusson in Paris said: "She radiates remarkable spirit. She is one of the most distinguished artist in the field, a formidable virtuoso guided by an impeccable aesthetic sensibility," noted Edward Gage, art critic from the Scotsman, U.K. She was awarded the Gold Medal at the Triennial of Milan, International Exhibition of Interior Design and Architecture, Italy; Gold Medal by the Accademia Italia delle Arti e del Lavoro; and Gold Medal and First Prize at the International Art Competition in New York. Exhibitions of her works are widely acclaimed in France, Germany, Spain, Austria, Netherlands, Hungary, Germany, Great Britain, Switzerland, Russia, USA, Poland and Canada. Her works hang in collections in Pushkin National Museum in Moscow, Russia, National Museum in Warsaw, National Museum of Textile Arts in Lodz, Scottish Art Institute in Galashields, Scotland. In Toronto at the main lobby of the First Canadian Place, Bank of Montreal Tower, hangs her very large work of four tapestries, each of them 15' x 9', titled Quartet Modern. Another tapestry of monumental scale Unity 22' x 33' hangs as a decorative extension of the architecture in the main lobby of the Place Bell Canada in Ottawa, a building designed by American architect (disciple and associate of Frank Lloyd Wright), Edward Durell Stone. Jaworska, a long standing elected member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, is the only North American fiber artist represented by the renowned Center National de la Tapisserie d'Aubusson, Galerie Inard in Paris, France--a gallery representing also tapestries woven after designs by Lurcat, Calder, Dali, Cocteau, Kandinsky, Miro, Vasarely or Sonia Delaunay. Jaworska's tapestries are unique, because she is not only designing them but also executes them on the looms in her studio, in Toronto. Leon Whiteson, art critic and columnist for the Los Angeles Times, wrote "Tamara is one of Canada's proudest cultural treasures."



1997 Pekao Gallery, Toronto, Ontario


1991 Galerie Inard, Centre national de la tapisserie d'Aubusson, Paris, France

Galerie Inard, L'espace de l'art contemporain, Toulouse, France


1989 Art for Private Collectors
Leo Kamen Gallery, Toronto, Ontario


1987 Art for Corporate Spaces
Leo Kamen Gallery, Toronto, Ontario


1984 Galerie Inard, Centre national de la tapisserie d'Aubusson, Paris, France


1982 Galerie Inard, Toulouse, France

Munich Art Gallery, Internationale de Brevets, Germany


1981 Galerie Inard, Centre national de la tapisserie d'Aubusson, Paris, France

Tamara Jaworska: Tapisseries
Centre culturel canadien, Paris, France


1980-81 Palau de la Virreina, Barcelona, Spain

Terrassa El Museo Textil, Spain

Valencia Museo de Bellas Arte, Valencia, Spain

San Sebastian Caja de Ahorros de Guipuzcoa, San Sebastian, Spain

Malaga Museo de Bellas Arte, Malaga, Spain

Tarragona Reial Monestir de Santes Creus, Spain

Sala de Exposiciones, Antiguo Dormitorio, Spain


1980 Art Gallery of Hamilton, Hamilton, Ontario


1979 Art for Corporate Spaces
Nienkamper Art Gallery, Toronto, Ontario


1972 Glendon Art Gallery, York University, Toronto, Ontario


1971 London Art Gallery, London, Ontario

Windsor Art Gallery, Windsor, Ontario


1970 Merton Gallery, Toronto, Ontario

The Rothman's Art Gallery, Stratford, Ontario

Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, Ontario

Holy Blossom Gallery, Toronto, Ontario


1968 Richard Demarco Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland

Scottish Woolen Gallery, Galashields, Scotland

Fine Arts Museum, Plymouth, England


1966 Pushkin National Museum, Moscow, Russia

Radom Museum, Poland


1965 State Gallery of Fine Arts, Warsaw, Poland

State Gallery of Textiles, Lodz, Poland



1997 RCA Exhibition
World Design Congress, Toronto, Ontario


1996 Manifesto '96 - International Art Festival
Edinburgh, Scotland

RCA International Exhibition
Chateau de Tremblay, Fontenoy en Puisaye, France

RCA Exhibition
Design Exchange Gallery, Toronto, Ontario


1995-96 RCA International Exhibition
Dresden Dezign Centrum, Trade World Centre, Dresden, Germany


1995 RCA International Exhibition
Iparmuveszeti State Museum, Budapest, Hungary

Destination tapisserie
Gallery La Maison Hamel-Bruneau, Québec


1992 RCA Exhibition '92
John B. Aird Gallery, Toronto, Ontario


1989 Salon des arts et de l'espace, Toulouse, France


1986 Tapestry - Canada '86
Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, Toronto, Ontario
Homer Watson Gallery, Kitchener, Ontario


1985 Decorative Wall Art from France
Galerie Inard, Centre national de la tapisserie d'Aubusson, Luxembourg, Luxembourg; Andorra, Andorra

Salon des arts et de l'espace, Toulouse, France


1983 Decorative Wall Art from France
Centre national de la tapisserie d'Aubusson, L'Hotel de Ville, Paris, France; Mart Centre, World Trade Centre, Dallas, Texas


1980 Centennial Exhibition
Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, Toronto, Ontario

Tapisserie canadienne contemporaine
Travelling exhibition organised by the Ministère des affaires extérieures du Canada


1977 Harbourfront Art Gallery, Toronto, Ontario

International Exhibition, Vevey, Switzerland


1975 Samuel Zacks Gallery, Toronto, Ontario


1974 Hart House Gallery, Toronto, Ontario


1973 3-D Experimental Wall Hangings
Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario

Rendez-vous de la laine
Guilde canadienne de l'artisanat, Montréal, Québec


1971 Museum of Modern Art, Montréal, Québec


1970 Wall Hangings
Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario


1969 Exposition des jeux olympiques
Museum of Modern Art, Mexico City, Mexico


1968 Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia

Museum of Fine Arts, Riga, Latvia

Museum of Fine Arts, Tallin, Estonia

National Museum, Tehran, Iran


1967 Olympiad '67
Museum of Modern Art, Mexico City, Mexico

Contemporary Polish Tapestry
Kunsthaus Gallery, Vienna, Austria; Rotterdam Art Gallery, Rotterdam, The Netherlands


1966 Galeria Lampertz Contempora, Cologne, Germany


1957 Interior Design and Architecture - Triennale di Milano
Milan, Italy



Bank of Montréal Tower, First Canadian Place, Toronto, Ontario
Baycrest Geriatic Hospital, Toronto, Ontario
Betel Corporation, President's Office, Toronto, Ontario
Cambridge Galleries, Cambridge, Ontario
Campbell Godfrey & Associates, Main Hall, TDC Toronto, Ontario
Canadian Embassy, Main Lobby, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Department of External Affairs, Ottawa, Ontario
Emar Limited, Livingstone, New Jersey
Greenshields Stock Brokers, Commerce Court Tower, Toronto, Ontario
International Telefilm, President's Office, Toronto, Ontario
JDS Developments, Main Lobby, Toronto, Ontario
John Molson Hall, Toronto, Ontario
Lang Michener Lawrence Shaw Barristers and Solicitors, Toronto, Ontario
Martin Goldfarb Polster Consultants, Toronto, Ontario
Metropolitan Life Insurance, Main Lobby, Ottawa, Ontario
Molson Canadian, John Molson Reception Hall, Toronto
Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario
National Museum of Fine Arts, Warsaw, Poland
National Museum of the History of Weaving Art, Lodz, Poland
Noranda Forest Inc., Executive Office, Toronto, Ontario
Noranda Inc. Norbord Industries Inc., President's Office, Toronto, Ontario
Olympia & York Development
Place Bell Canada, Main Lobby, Ottawa, Ontario
Pushkin National Museum, Gallery of European Art, Moscow, Russia
York-Hannover Developments, Executive Board Room,Toronto, Ontario
York Steel Ltd, Toronto, Ontario


Douglas, Marcia. "Woven paintings." Home Decor (Fall/Winter 1978): 49-51.

Duval, Paul. Tamara Jaworska: Tapisseries. Paris, France: Centre culturel canadien, 1981.

Miller, Maja. "The weaver's tale." Imperial Oil Review 76, no. 405 (Summer 1992): 24-27.

Parkin, Jeanne, William J.S. Boyle. Art in Architecture: Art for the Built Environment in the Province of Ontario. Toronto, Ontario: Visual Arts Ontario, 1982.

"Renaissance woman." Ontario Craft 20, no. 1 (Spring 1995): 4.

Taszycka, Magdalena. "The transcendent tapestries of Tamara Jaworska." Ontario Craft (Winter 1982): 11-13.

Vollmer, John E. Tamara Jaworska. Tapestries-Tapisseries. Oakville, Ontario: Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and Mosaic Press, 1992.

"Weaving modern visions into an ancient art form." EnRoute (September 1961): 20-25, 125-131.


NEXT ARTIST arrowright.GIF (261 bytes)

arhome.GIF (262 bytes) HOME