Collection Corner: A Garden Tapestry

When you look around your own home you can probably identify numerous pieces of furniture or artwork that have interesting stories. It may be something as significant as a grandfather clock that was handed down through three generations, or a decorative figurine that you received as a christmas gift from a friend. Likewise, many of the pieces in the Fuller E. Callaway home have unique stories to tell.

Hanging on the East wall of the Palm Room is a wonderful tapestry that tells a story of its own. The tapestry was custom made by Ken Weaver in 1975. Mr. Weaver is a very talented artist who studied at Auburn University and then apprenticed with Jack Lenor Larson, one of the world’s foremost weavers, in New York City. Ken continued his advanced studies at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

While serving as a professor of art at the University of Georgia in 1975, Mr. Weaver was commissioned by the University of Georgia committee for the Botanical Garden to create a special tapestry that would be given to Mrs. Alice Hand Callaway in appreciation for her generous support of the gardens.

In order to create the tapestry, Ken Weaver actually visited the estate as Alice’s guest. Alice gave him a tour and showed him her favorite trees and plants in the garden and greenhouse. Ken took pictures and used these images to create a design that depicted Alice’s gardens. The design features southern magnolias, maidenhair ferns, calla lilies and of course the English boxwoods that Alice so loved. On the back of the tapestry Ken inscribed the following note: “October, 1975. Crafted Especially for Mrs. Fuller Callaway by Ken Weaver, with appreciation from the University of Georgia.”

Interestingly, Ken, who now teaches art at Booth Middle School in Peachtree City, has completed tapestries for numerous prominent clients, including Stouffer’s Atlanta Inn (now Renaissance Atlanta) and Simmons Company. His works have also been displayed in numerous galleries and museums including The High Museum in Atlanta. According to Weaver:

“ I am trying to create a textile that is enjoyable as a visual and tactile experience in its relation to the interiors, overall character of the building and in consideration of the taste and character of the client….I want to make a personal statement of my character and ability. Each hanging should be for me another step forward.”

After the tapestry was completed in 1975, it was presented to Alice in a ceremony at the Botanical Gardens in Athens. Afterward, Ken came to Hills & Dales Estate and personally hung the tapestry in the Palm Room. The tapestry adds another view of the garden and has become one of the most treasured heirlooms in the home.