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The Nature of Things: Essays of a Tapestry Weaver



Tommy McClure Scanlin



Print Version



The Nature of Things weaves together a life full of happiness and sorrow. In these fourteen collected essays, Tommye McClure Scanlin reflects on her artistic journey and how crafting and life are interwoven, two threads that comprise a larger picture. Readers will find themselves lost in Scanlin’s full-color tapestries and comforting writing style as they explore the natural fields and woods of southern Appalachia.

A final part of the book gives an overview of tapestry weaving basics with diagrams and descriptions for setting up a simple pipe loom and weaving a small tapestry sampler. Glossary, simple pipe loom illustrations, and a resource list are included for reference.

The Nature of Things: Author Reading and Q&A (YouTube)

The Nature of Things: Author Reading and Q&A Transcript (PDF)

About the Author

Tommye McClure Scanlin is an artist and art educator. She grew up in the countryside of rural north Georgia where her family has lived for several generations. Early on, she knew she wanted to be an artist although there was no formal art instruction available in the schools she attended at the time.

Scanlin’s artistic spirit has led her through an inspiring career. She has taught at North Georgia College & State University, Arrowmont School of Crafts, John C. Campbell Folk School, and Penland School of Craft. Scanlin is a juried member of Southern Highland Craft Guild and Piedmont Craftsmen and a board member of the Lillian E. Smith Center and the John C. Campbell Folk School. Scanlin and her husband, Thomas, live in Dahlonega, Georgia, in Seven Oaks, the 1871 home built by the founder of North Georgia College, Col. William P. Price.


Philis Alvic is an artist, weaver, and writer. She has exhibited her complex woven wall textiles in over 300 juried and invitational exhibitions. Alvic has written Weavers of the Southern Highlands (University of Kentucky Press, 2003), Crafts of Armenia (USAID/IESC Armenia, 2003), and over 100 magazine articles. As a short-term consultant for crafts development and marketing, she has worked on projects in fourteen different countries. Alvic is a founding member of the Kentucky Craft History and Education Association and is the on the Board of Weave A Real Peace.

Press Kit/Reviews

Read a sample chapter of The Nature of Things (PDF)

Download The Nature of Things’s press kit (PDF)


“If you have ever appreciated a work of art, please read The Nature of Things by Tommye McClure Scanlin. Scanlin, a skilled tapestry weaver, is an equally skilled writer. In writing about her personal journey to art, she manages to capture the universal journey - the highs, the lows, and the intimacy of all who create things, no matter what the medium.”
- Nancy Peacock, The Life and Times of Persimmon Wilson

“Tommye McClure Scanlin invites us into her artist’s life - her walks in the woods, her doubts and decisions, the colors and threads of her days. This is a book to savor - and return to again and again.”
- Carol Polsgrove, It Wasn’t Pretty, Folks, But Didn't We Have Fun: Esquire in the Sixties

“As a fledgling tapestry weaver some years ago, Tommye McClure Scanlin was most encouraging of my meager efforts, and only afterwards did I learn what a celebrated master weaver she is. I eagerly await her memoirs, many of which are no doubt embedded in her fabulous tapestries!”
- Martha Bishop, composer

“What a welcoming and generous book—every essay a gentle invitation to walk in Tommy’s tapestry footsteps, to see the world with her discerning weaver’s eye and share how, with warp, weft, words and images, she twines her life and beliefs with the natural world she loves so well. It leaves me feeling hopeful and freshly energetic as I tread my own path.”
- Sarah C. Swett, author and artist

“Reading The Nature of Things is like visiting a friend. At the end of this visit, you leave with a better understanding and more appreciation than you came in with.”
- Karin Schaller, weaver, Fellow at the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts

“The Nature of Things combines modesty with relentless energy. Tommye McClure Scanlin’s unassuming and powerfully capable way of seeing makes her book nourishing. From start to finish, my interest never flagged. I feel grateful for what she has done.”
- Micala Sidore, The Art is the Cloth

“Tommye McClure Scanlin is a consummate and accomplished artist. The Nature of Things demonstrates how she has finely crafted and continues to craft her well-lived life as an artist and teacher.”
- Virginia Gardner Troy, Ph.D., Professor of Art History, Berry College

“Enjoy, be encouraged, and be inspired. In sharing her own dedicated and ongoing pursuit of artistic education, Tommye gives us permission to take our own work and our development as artists seriously.”
- Molly Elkind, artist and educator

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