Saturday, 11 June 2011

Some thoughts on tapestry in space...

High Cross House Installation, Jilly Edwards
Next weekend I will be speaking at 'Finding the Thread: placing tapestry in the 21st century' at the Ruthin Craft Centre, Wales. This study day has been programmed to coincide with a retrospective of the tapestry weaver Jilly Edwards.

I have been invited to present an expanded version of the Claire Barclay paper which I gave at the Bristol Postgraduate Conference, 'Boundaries', in April. To add to the paper, I have been consider the differences between Dovecot's usual modes of presentation compared to Claire's display of the tapestry element in her sculpture.

Dovecot's tapestries are predominantly intended as wall hangings, but in quick, slow Claire subverts this practice and places the tapestry in the centre of space, allowing the viewer to see it from 360 degrees, allowing nothing to remain hidden by a supporting wall. This certainly results from Claire's sculptural background in which her objects are self-supporting, presenting themselves in any given space without the support of plinths or display cases.

quick, slow photo by Ruth Clark
This is certainly not the only instance in which tapestry has been given a more sculptural, three-dimensional quality. The work of Jilly Edwards, illustrated above, is often removed from the wall and displayed either alone or in vitrines within the exhibition space. Dovecot's recent works have been almost exclusively wall hangings but a number of collaborations with artists other than painters have illustrated the ability of tapestry to remove itself from the wall and take on a different atmosphere and 'life'.

In 2008, Dovecot weaver Naomi Robertson worked on a number of intricately woven panels which were combined into a corset, headpiece and shoes, created by fashion designer Chris Clyne. More recently, weaver Jonathan Cleaver has worked on two maquettes created by the jeweller David Poston.
Corset, modelled at Dovecot Studios, photo by Pierre Guilleman
Shoes, photo by Robert Adam
Tapestry Circles & Green
Information on the study day, including a list of speakers and booking details, can be found here.
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