Olympic tapestry maker weaves her talent into Salt Lake

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    By Brittany Steadman

    Sola prefers not to have a last name because, like Picasso, many artists are only remembered by their first name.

    Sola is a tapestry artist who travels the world and incorporates special events into her artwork.

    Currently, Sola is in the CrossRoads Mall in Salt Lake City making a tapestry of Salt Lake for the 2002 Winter Olympics.

    “I started tapestry when I was 48 years old and I just love it,” Sola said.

    The Salt Lake tapestry is ten feet by seven feet and shows the city at the base of the mountains.

    “When I was traveling through Salt Lake a few years back, I fell in love with the mountains and knew I wanted them in the picture,” Sola said.

    Sola started the tapestry on April 1, 2001 and will finish in March of 2002.

    “I work ten hours a day everyday and this project will take about 3,550 hours to complete,” Sola said.

    For Sola there is nothing else she said she would rather do.

    “I love to tapestry. If it”s my birthday, I tapestry. If it”s Christmas, I tapestry,” she said.

    As a former club owner in the sixties and seventies, Sola said she has been to enough parties to last her for the rest of her life.

    “It was like Woodstock every night at my house and so now I just want to do what I want to do,” Sola said.

    Sola began tapestry while living in Vancouver in 1983.

    The World Fair was to be held in Vancouver and many buildings and alterations were being made to prepare for the event.

    “I wanted to do a picture of what the city looked like before all the alterations but I can”t draw and I didn”t have a camera and I like to knit so I thought I would paint a picture with wool,” Sola said.

    The first tapestry she ever attempted to make was ten feet by six feet.

    “I just jumped right in and than realized later that what I was doing was tapestry,” Sola said.

    After Vancouver, Sola continued to move around and do tapestries of other cities.

    She said she decided to do tapestries for the Olympics after her work was featured in a magazine.

    The editor told her his daughter competed in the 1984 games and was unable to bring back affordable artwork as a souvenior.

    “I decided I would do tapestries of the Olympic cities and than have prints made of them to sell at a reasonable price,” Sola said.

    Sola”s first Olympic experience was the Atlanta games.

    “I was watching CNN one morning and heard them announce that the Games would be in Atlanta,” she said. “By lunch time I had packed up and moved there.”

    After Atlanta, Sola headed to Sydney and than Salt Lake for her third Olympics.

    All of her tapestries are of the host cities and are sold after the Games are over.

    “The market price for a tapestry is about $3,000 per square foot,” she said.

    A tapestry ten feet by seven feet can cost $210,000.

    “Than you have to add in the special meaning Olympic tapestries have,” Sola said.

    Sola has already had offers from people who want to buy her Salt Lake tapestry.

    She has also had many admirers of her work.

    I am just amazed at the work she does, it is absolutely incredible,” said Andrea Green, 25, a student at the University of Utah.

    Gavin Perry, 25, a native Australian, saw her work at the Sydney games and was fascinated by her talent.

    “Sola did a tapestry of the Sydney bay with the Opera House and the city in the background. It was so beautiful and this one of Salt Lake is also beautiful.

    After the Winter Olympics are over, Sola plans on traveling to Athens and Turino, and then Beijing for more Olympic experiences.

    “I want to encourage everyone to live their dreams,” Sola said.

    However, Sola has bigger plans and more dreams still to fulfill.

    “I want to have my own television show,” Sola said.

    Although she will not admit what kind of television she wants to do, she did have some words of warning.

    “Let”s just say watch out Oprah and Martha Stewart,” she said.

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