On March 7th, 2015, a community of Silvia’s friends and family gathered for her Celebration of Life. Click the play button on the video to the right to watch a short film from the event!

You can share any thoughts or reflections about Silvia in her online guest book using the “Write a new entry” button below.

Use the form below to write your entry:

Thank you for contributing to the guest book!
27 entries.
Ixchel Suarez from Oakville
I met Silvia through her work 28 years ago in a Design book in US, loved her work, colour and composition. At that time I was starting my path as a weaver and graphic Designer; 15 years ago I was able to see her pieces live at an HGA Conference and loved her even more. By that time I knew more abut tapestry and her life. In 2012 I was actually able to have one of her videos and it was then when I loved her even more. My life as a tapestry weaver for over 30 years now, my life surrounded by great music back home (with my Dad as a Violinist), transforming my art through Nature... it was the perfect combination to link us both in all. Music, ideas, techniques... I just loved her even MORE and looked for her everywhere, and I was privileged to know her personally. She even wrote me beautiful letters in birch tree cards!

I was able to hug her personally in Long Beach two years ago. She remembered me through our letters! Couldn't have had a nicer, sweeter moment in my life. God bless her. She will be an amazing inspiration in my life, for ever!
Janette Gross from Santa Cruz, CA
Dear Silvia:

Thank you for encouraging my "loomish eyes." Thank you for pushing me to add more "salt and pepper" as in the addition of an "irritating" green. Thank you for your handwritten comments critiquing our mailed-in assignments following the class in Mendocino. Thank you for letting us touch your tapestries and look at the backs! Thank you for freeing us from convention. I cherish all of this, and most of all the privilege of getting to know you.
Deborah Corsini from Pacifica, CA
Silvia's legacy will live on in the prolific body of work that she created, and with her inspirational book and intimate film. Her creative approach to tapestry and her appreciation for nature and music, her thoughtfulness, and true artistic vision guides us in our work and life. I was privileged to meet Silvia in 2007 at the American Tapestry Alliance Biennial in San Jose. We sat next to each other at lunch and shared an interesting and lively conversation on various approaches to eccentric weaving styles. We were (I felt) kindred spirits and it was a joy to have had this moment with her.

My heart goes out to her family and close friends.
Pat Kawaguchi from Santa Clara, CA
Dear Silvia,

I often thought about you and almost called last Dec. but I decided to put it off until later. Also in Dec. I read a loom sale ad, this ad reminded me of the classes at Mendocino and Durham. You opened your lovely home to us. You taught us your weaving techniques and colors, as well as, showing us your weaverly path and your beloved Eno river.

Whether you know it or not, you also opened up my artistic/creative eye/mind. So now I see geometric shapes all around me all the time. I haven't been weaving for a very long time. (That's why I delayed calling you and I missed my chance in hearing your voice once more.) However, I do have a few designs in my mind that need to be woven. So I think it's time to feel the strands of yarn flow from my hand to the loom once again.

Thank you for opening up my artistic/creative eye/mind and introducing me to my own weaverly path.
Rebecca Mezoff from Fort Collins, CO
I never had the joy of meeting Silvia in person. Her work and thoughts were introduced to me years ago by our mutual friend Lyn Hart. I now teach Silvia's ideas about tapestry weaving and show her movie in my tapestry classes. Her ideas are important and worth studying. I'm not sure she knew what a big influence she had on the tapestry community. She will be missed. She already is.
Tamar Shadur from Florence, MA
It was such a pleasure and honor to meet Silvia 10 years ago in California and have a wonderful conversation with her over lunch. I have been admiring the artistic merit of her tapestries since I first encountered them in 1980. The tapestry world has lost one of its finest artists. May Silvia's memory be blessed.
Cheryl Holbert from Derry, NH
I'm so grateful for what Silvia has given all of us. Though I never knew her personally, her graceful and authentic life as portrayed in her astoundingly beautiful tapestries captivated me at first glance, and continues to bring inspiration and reassurance to my own "weaverly path."
Horst Meyer from Durham, NC
Remembrances of Silvia.

My family - wife Ruth Mary, sons Richard and Christopher and myself - have been friends with the Heyden family ever since they moved to Durham in the sixties. Our sons, of similar ages as Francoise and Dan - went to the same schools for several years, and also I bought one of the early tapestries from Silvia - "der rote Balken" (the red beam) which hangs in my living room. Also in my Duke office there hangs a "yak-hair construction" made by Silvia. In later years I bought one more tapestry for my son Chris and one for our home, which hangs over my bed.

I remember Silvia, always a keen violonist, playing with the Duke Symphony under the direction of Prof. Alan Bone, and activity she pursued violin during her subsequent years near Locarno in Switzerland. After the death of Siegried, Silvia, still a Swiss citizen like myself, celebrated each year the Swiss National holiday on August 1st with my wife and me - either in a location chosen by the Swiss Club or in our home.

For a number of years, Silvia, my wife and I used to attend together concerts of the Triangle Chamber Orchestra, which we greatly appreciated. Silvia gave us a grand tour of her home, soon after its construction, and the installation of the large loom and we were impressed by the collections of wools, kept upstairs, and also by a demonstration of her weaving. She delighted in showing us a group of wild turkeys in her property, as well as deer. She truly delighted living surrounded by nature.

In December last year, she approached her impending surgery with courage. We had made plans to celebrate together our respective birthdays, separated by only one day, on February 28, and I was to bring a birthday cake. "I am getting better and better" she told me. But very sadly, the stroke came earlier, and we never saw each other again.
Lyn Hart from Tucson, Arizona
For Silvia...
From a tapestry weaver in England UK
What a wonderful life, sharing her giftedness through giving in tapestry and music. Silvia will live on and continue to grace the world.
Peter & Gisela Farer from Essen
To Silvia,

A weaverly path has ended. Now that you have left your green home so perfectly designed around your loom you are eventually united with your beloved husband Siegfried. Your tapestries will transform into wings which carry you on your road to eternity. You found your patterns in the flow of the Eno. You remain unforgotten in our hearts and thoughts.
Anniette from Passau
Dear Silvia, I wish Durham wasn't so far away. I would love to sit around your loom, together with my German tapestry weaver friends. We would hear your voice telling us about your vivid and strong tapestries and hear your laugh. I thank you so much for what I learned by you and hope that I can carry it on in my further weavings.
Joanne Iwamiya from Elk Grove, California
Dear Silvia, you have inspired so many including me, a newbie to tapestry. Thank you for sharing the basics that could also be woven using higher levels of creativity. And for sharing your beloved Eno River to show us that the smallest things in front of our eyes, can inspire us to weave it on canvas.

It was the greatest honor that for some of us, we were able to work with you, both at Mendocino and your home in Durham.

We love you, Silvia.
Sylvia Hibbard from Los Osos, California
It is with great sadness I say goodbye to you Silvia. It was a memorable day when Lou Proctor brought you into my restaurant in New Bern, and introduced us for the first time. Your kindness made it possible for me to be the proud owner of two of your tapestries. I have the privilege of sleeping under one of them every night as it is hung on the wall above my head. With condolences to your family, I remain ever your friend.
Karen Inwood from Ft. Bragg, California
Silvia, I finally completed a tapestry I had begun when you were teaching in Mendocino. Working on it brought thoughts of you to mind each day,and now I find I completed it on the day you died. Thank you for your wonderful work and the inspiration you so generously shared. Peace to you now, and to your sorrowing family.
Joan Baxter
I met Sylvia at the opening of ITNET2 in DC in 1992. We had breakfast together and found so much to talk about. She was generous, enthusiastic and seemed to be pushing boundaries without losing the intrinsic beauty of the medium. I'm so happy and honoured to have met her, she is a true giantess in our field and someone to look up to always.
Nancy Jackson from Benicia, California
I'm grateful to have been on the tapestry journey with you, Silvia. Thank you for your dedication and for sharing your vision.
Clare Howard from London
I am a long-time friend of Francoise. I am so glad that I was able to meet Silvia at home during a visit to Francoise in Durham, to be able to experience her working and living environment, surrounded by the inspiration of nature. And to share a walk with Silvia and Francoise by the river, the source of so much of her recent personal fulfilment and artistic inspiration. She will be missed by very many people as well as her immediate family.
Lou Hansley Proctor
With love and thanksgiving for the life and art of Silvia Heyden, treasured friend, world-class artist, we extend our heartfelt empathy to her children, grandchildren, brothers, family during these sad days!

We join with you as we celebrate a phenomenal woman and her lifetime of gifts to all including her extended family.
Micala Sidore from Northampton, Massachusetts
Dear Silvia--Your energy and thinking and work and practice and laughter have all meant a great deal to me. You always and without hesitation have given so much to my life and work. I will miss you enormously.
Wendy Jacobs
I have such a wonderful memory of Silvia when she agreed to join us all for a few days during our annual multi family trip to Sunset Beach. I thought it was rather daring of Silvia at the time. As usual the three families with 4 adults and six kids (five boys and one girl) were all piled into one house. This year I believe we were at the Grey Ghost perched along the Marsh on the north side of the island. Our house seemed even smaller than usual but it was the screened porch that was the redeeming feature. Silvia had already demonstrated her bravery and independence by letting Danny drive her to the beach. I believe he was just 16 and had recently gotten his driving permit. No doubt on Silvia's part that he would do a great job driving her for three plus hours from Durham to Sunset Beach. From my memory Silvia spent most of her time sitting on that screened porch. More time on that porch gazing out onto the marsh then on the beach. She had only paper and colored pencils. But her study of the marsh grass, the motion, the change in colors with the change in light and the movement of the tides, was a detailed study of color, motion and light. All of what I saw later on when she studied so meticulously the Eno River. I will never look at the Marsh the same way after watching Silvia and seeing what she saw in the marsh. Thank you Silva.
Mary Ellen Goyer
Dear Family,

It is with deep sorrow that I feel over the loss of our Silvia Heyden. She was such an inspiration to all tapestry weavers. Her death is a great loss to our art/weaving community

Mary Ellen Goyer
Member of the Triangle Weavers
Vera Shanley
I will miss knowing you are in the world creating beauty, art, skill, and laughter that inspires those like me to dream of higher spheres...

I met Silvia when she walked through my gallery door during an OCAG yearly artist's tour...she wanted to buy a mug for her son Daniel, but then she wanted to talk to the potter......and a friendship began to germinate.

I went to see her weaving at her home and immediately recognized that I had stumbled into the loom room of a National Treasure. She was so eager of recruiting younger craftsmen/women to learn to weave in the style she used....and she had you so enthused that, suddenly you are buying a loom and shuttles with absolutely no encumbrance of knowledge to help you.....you were a victim of Sivipictillation: a recently acquired delusion that you might be able to weave your OWN beautiful creations.

The more you weave, the more you know what a treasure we have held in our midst, and the real everyday sadness of what we have lost...our avatar of tapestry weaving. And most of all, our friend.
Deborah Christie
We will look forward to celebrating the life of Silvia Heyden, whose art and life reflected nature’s beauty.

Our hearts go out to Daniel, Soisy, and all of Silvia’s family.

In loving memory of Silvia Heyden,

Deb and George Christie
Sue Schwarz
A few years ago I was privileged to spend a few days in Durham with a small group of Tapestry weavers. Silvia very generously shared her philosophy and time with us and we all left with much to consider in our treks along our weaverly paths.

Silvia was a joy to be with and will be sorely missed in the art and weaving communities which she loved.
Lou Proctor
Silvia Heyden ... World-class artist, creative force, visionary, and a beloved daughter, sister, wife, Mother, Grandmother and friend.

Silvia Heyden's love, energy, enthusiasm, joy, informed her tapestries, her music, her relationships: Silvia's kindness, generosity, and patience are but a few elements of our friendship through the decades.

For me, she lives on as the epitome of a beautiful human being whose lifetime commitment to art is contagious; I love her and celebrate a fine artist, a finest friend.

Silvia, as promised you in December a week or so before your surgery, I will walk with you along your Eno in the spring.

Lou Hansley Proctor
New Bern, NC
The Site Administrator
Welcome to the guest book! This is a space for sharing, reflecting, and celebrating the many gifts that Silvia gave to us all. If you would like to leave an entry in the guest book, simply click the “write a new entry” button near the top of the page.