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Hardcover, 9″ x 12″
220 pages with color images
ISBN 978-1-63381-340-3

by Christopher Brewer Williamson

Among the few practitioners of weaving as an art form, Morris David (Morrie) Dorenfeld found his medium at the age of 43. Now 85, he continues to follow his passion, creating dramatic paintings in fiber on his treasured vertical loom in his coastal Maine home. Determined to continue making the art that has brought him joy and fulfillment, he explores the limits of a medium that has been an important form of artistic expression since medieval times.

Morrie’s story is a fascinating saga of hardship, commitment, joy, and creativity. The narrative, divided into three distinct chapters, introduces and provides context for the stunning tapestries that make up the fourth and largest portion of the book. The tapestries reveal his passion for color and composition, nurtured by his early fascination with abstract expressionism. They are grouped into sections based on changes Morrie made in his compositions over time. Each section includes a brief explanation of Morrie’s approach, his evolving thought processes, and suggestions for how to “read” some of the compositions.

While Morrie insists that he wants to retain the mystery of his process and provide expansive opportunities for viewer interpretations, he has provided author Chris Williamson with revealing insights into his technique and craft. This retrospective not only captures the luminous art and engaging, humble, humorous qualities that endear Morrie to all who meet him, it is an essential contribution to an understanding of how tapestry art fits within the scope of art history.


Morris David (Morrie) Dorenfeld spent his formative years studying painting at the Art Institute of Chicago and at the Art Students League in NYC. When he moved to the coast of Maine in 1978, he learned to weave and brought his abstract expressionist roots to this medium, composing and weaving large tapestries—paintings in fiber.

During his almost 45-year career as a weaver, Morrie has exhibited throughout Maine and New England and also in Arizona, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, and Santiago, Chile (Arts in Embassies program). He has won fellowships from the Maine Arts Commission and been included in several juried shows, winning awards such as the Juror’s Choice Award from Mesa Contemporary Art Museum, representation in the 2016–17 CMCA Maine Biennial, American Craft Museum Association Selection ’85, and “Best Use of Color” Award from the Maine Weavers Guild.

Morrie’s tapestries emphasize harmony, proportion, balance, and above all the visual music of color. Brilliant primary color itself is the subject of the artwork and of this book. As Morrie says, “Color is king!”

A retired educator, including 23 years as a head of school in two independent schools, Chris Williamson has been a docent at the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine, since 2015, returning to his early interest in the arts. He graduated from Williams College with honors in history in 1970, earned a master’s degree in English from the University of New Hampshire in 1975, and took graduate courses at Boston University in education and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in drama. After teaching, directing plays, coaching, and serving as arts chair, he took on various administrative roles prior to becoming a head of school. Chris has presented at regional and national conferences, served on several nonprofit boards, had articles published in professional journals, and authored a chapter in Why Change? What Works?: The NAIS Guide to Change Management.

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