Wednesday, November 17, 2010

West Dean Tapestry Studio--a visit to the Professional Tapestry Studio today

I took part in a visit to the Professional Tapestry Studio today along with a couple of the class members and several outside guests. The studio is only open for visitors for a brief time each week as the work of the weavers is very demanding. The Tapestry & Textile Art students must also maintain a schedule for going to the Professional Studio to obtain yarn if more than what's available in our studio is necessary. To hear a description about the current projects then the scheduled visitation time must be adhered to. So between 1:30 and 2:00 p.m. today I was at the Professional Tapestry Studio. Photographs aren't allowed there but here are photos of the brochures that are available to anyone about the studio...
This side of the brochure describes the postgraduate courses available. I'm in the 6 weeks Foundations of Tapestry and Textile Art part.
The Professional Tapestry Studio works to commission for both private and corporate clients. According to the brochure, the tapestries by the studio are found in the Henry Moore Foundation, The Victoria and Albert Museum, and Stirling Castle, among others.
The studio is engaged in a many year project to recreate seven of the few surviving sets of medieval tapestries, theme of Hunt of the Unicorn, for Stirling Castle in Scotland. This is being done both in Scotland at Stirling Castle and at West Dean, under commission to West Dean Tapestry Studio.  The tapestries for this commission are being woven on a low warp loom at West Dean. We saw only bits that were exposed of the current tapestry of the set.

Earlier in the day I took part, along with the other students from the Visual Art program, in an aesthetics lecture by guest lecturer, Dr. Carolyn Wilde. Her topic today was "Intention and Interpretation" and this lecture was two of a three part series that began before I arrived. I'll be here for her next lecture to take place next week and have readings to do before then. Her lecture was very thought provoking and it was quite challenging to follow along since I'd read only one chapter of the suggested extensive readings list before hand.

In the afternoon I made a short walk to the West Dean General Store for a few supplies like toothpaste, dropped those things off and then walked the other direction to the studio. It was raining again today... seems that the bright days are only punctuation marks for the cold and rainy days! I think we've had four days of sunshine since I've been here--and it's hard to believe I arrived eleven days ago.

I continued to work on my second sample from the sketch--my goal was to get the light values light enough. But when I got back to the studio this afternoon I saw that those light values seems not yet to be light enough! I thought I might stop and start over but decided to muddle on and then re-do it yet again once I see what the final result is. I should be able to finish it tomorrow and re-warp the loom for the try. Maybe I'll only be weaving and re-weaving this cartoon for the next four weeks while I'm here.


  1. Get bolder and quicker with your value changes. Push it now as far as you can and then back off if it gets too stripey.

  2. Hi Christine!
    Thanks for the advice. That's similar to a comment from Steve Aimone in a painting workshop when he said, "When in doubt, make big changes!"
    I'll give it a try on the upper part of the sample today... then rewarp for the next version!

  3. yes there is a lot of contrast in the original. k.

  4. How about mentioning the titles of books that you are reading from the readings list? I'd enjoy reading "artfull" thoughts and how they may or may not relate to weaving. Thanks for sharing this journey.

  5. This is great Tommye! Joan told me about your blog and I'm loving this vicarious trip to West Dean...look forward to following you through the next few weeks...