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Dovecot Studios and Australian Tapestry Workshop International Exchange

An international exchange programme between Dovecot Studios and Australian Tapestry Workshop designed to raise the profile of contemporary tapestry weaving by fostering talent, building relationships and sharing knowledge. By spending an extended period in the host country, weavers will engage with both familiar and new working practices, and immerse themselves in the local Arts and cultural community.

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The next part of the international exchange program has now seen Jonathan Cleaver, weaver at Dovecot Tapestry Studio travel to Melbourne to the Australian Tapestry Workshop. We look forward to hearing about his experience for the next three weeks.

 

Weaver Jonathan Cleaver

During Milena’s time in Edinburgh she embarked on a tour of some of Dovecot’s tapestries currently on view in public spaces in Scotland. This included Untitled Tapestry, which was designed by Harold Cohen and woven by Fred Mann, Harry Wright, Douglas Grierson and Maureen Hodge in 1966. This was displayed at City Art Centre as part of the ‘Scottish Art: People, Places, Ideas’ exhibition. She then went to the National Museum of Scotland where the Large Tree Group Tapestry by Victoria Crowe is located. This was woven by Dovecot Master Weavers Naomi Robertson and David Cochrane as part of Dovecot Studios’ centenary celebrations in 2012. Finally, Milena travelled to Glasgow’s Theatre Royal to see Butterfly commissioned by Scottish Opera, the result of a collaboration between Dovecot Tapestry Studio and artist Alison Watt. This process began in January 2013 with the tapestry cut from the loom in May 2014.

 

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This weekend Milena had the opportunity to immerse herself further in Scottish history during her visit to Stirling Castle. She visited the Queen’s Inner Hall of the Palace which houses “The Hunt of the Unicorn”, a set of 7 tapestries showing a group of noblemen and hunters in their pursuit of a unicorn. The tapestries were commissioned especially for Stirling Castle by Historic Scotland as part of a larger project to restore the Palace of James V to how it might have looked in the 1540s. The project began in 2001 and took 14 years and 18 weavers to complete, using techniques dating back to the 1400s – the same techniques employed by Dovecot today to work with contemporary artists. The team included Rudi Richardson, EmmaJo Webster and Louise Trotter who are now weavers at Dovecot Studios.

 

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Today at Dovecot Milena had an opportunity to meet with former Australian Tapestry Workshop weaver Cresside Collette at Dovecot. Cresside was leading a tour of Dovecot Tapesty Studio, and had a chance to speak with Milena about some of Dovecot’s current projects. Cresside has designed and conducted “Mastering the Fine Art of Tapestry”, a tour to view major tapestries, workshops and the work of studio artists throughout Europe. For more information see tapestrytour.blogspot.com

Milena meets Cresside tour

Milena works with weavers on Garry Fabian Miller rug on her first day at Dovecot

Milena works with weavers on Garry Fabian Miller rug on her first day at Dovecot

Dovecot Tapestry Studio has welcomed Australian Tapestry Workshop weaver Milena Paplinska this week, as part of the ongoing international exchange. Milena, who joined ATW in 1995, will spend her time working alongside Dovecot’s weavers, weaving on current commissions until her departure back to Melbourne at the end of September.

 

Dovecot Master Weaver, Naomi Robertson, and Australian Tapestry Workshop Senior Weaver, Sue Batten, working together in the studio

Dovecot Master Weaver, Naomi Robertson, and Australian Tapestry Workshop Senior Weaver, Sue Batten, working together in the studio

Dovecot is delighted to welcome ATW Weaver, Sue Batten, into the studio for her three-week exchange visit. Sue is working alongside Dovecot weavers for the duration of her time in Edinburgh sharing skills, insights and building relationships between the two studios.

William Crozier being woven by David Cochrane, Dovecot Master Weaver

William Crozier being woven by David Cochrane, Dovecot Master Weaver

Come and join us for a tour around the Viewing Balcony with Current Exchanges Curator Ben Divall and weavers from Dovecot and visiting weaver Sue Batten from Australian Tapestry Workshop. Learn more about the historic links and ongoing collaborative projects between both institutions, and the techniques and processes involved in creating the tapestries on show.

The tour takes place on Wednesday 17.09.2014. For more information and to book your place online, please visit: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/current-exchanges-weavers-tour-with-curator-ben-divall-tickets-12893044443?aff=eorg

 

 

David Weir and Antonia Syme at Dovecot Studios

David Weir and Antonia Syme at Dovecot Studios

Tomorrow join us on the weaving floor of Dovecot Studios to hear directors of two contemporary tapestry studios with a longstanding alliance, come together to converse about the history and cultural exchanges between Dovecot Studios and the Australian Tapestry Workshop.

Celebrating the connections between the Australian Tapestry Workshop, Melbourne and Dovecot Studios, Edinburgh, the Current Exchanges exhibition brings together works from both institutions. Although geographically separate, both share a similar philosophy of collaborating with contemporary artists to produce tapestries at the cutting edge of artistic practice.

Book your tickets now!

 https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/current-exchanges-david-weir-and-antonia-syme-in-conversation-tickets-12138106403

A new exhibition brings alive the spirit of Dovecot and ATW’s continued exchange:

http://dovecotstudios.com/whats-on/event/66/current-exchanges-dovecot-and-the-australian-tapestry-workshop

Celebrating the continuing connections between the Australian Tapestry Workshop, Melbourne, and Dovecot Studios, Edinburgh, this exhibition brings together recent work from both institutions. Although geographically separate, both share a similar philosophy of working closely with contemporary artists to produce tapestries at the cutting edge of artistic practice. The links between the studios date back to the founding of the Australian Tapestry Workshop in 1976: Dovecot’s Master Weaver, Archie Brennan, advised on the structure and feasibility of the new antipodean enterprise. Since then the exchanges of weavers and ideas have continued. This year marks the beginning of another cycle of such interchanges between Melbourne and Edinburgh, through an exchange between weavers from the two studios funded by Creative Scotland’s Creative Futures Programme. Exhibition open July 5 – Sept 27

Current Exchanges: Dovecot and the Australian Tapestry Workshop

 

Dovecot is pleased to announce that Australian Tapestry Workshop’s Senior Weaver Sue Batten is all set to visit this September! Sue will work alongside Dovecot’s weaving team for three weeks in a visit which continues the ideas sharing and relationship building initiated earlier this year.

ATW's Sue Batten working with Freya Sewell in the Workshop in Melbourne earlier this year

ATW’s Sue Batten working with Freya Sewell in the Workshop in Melbourne earlier this year

Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour is a World Heritage listed site that, once a convict prison then an industrial shipyard, has been re-incarnated as a music and arts venue. The Biennale has been using the island since 2008 as a unique venue, rich in history, for artists to engage with. Nathan Coley’s illuminated sign ‘You Will What You Imagine’ greets visitors approaching the island by ferry.

Eva Koch's 'I Am The River' (2012) video installation fills one of Cockatoo Island's vacant warehouses with cavernous sounds of rushing water

Eva Koch’s ‘I Am The River’ (2012) video installation fills one of Cockatoo Island’s vacant warehouses with cavernous sounds of rushing water

Randi & Katrine's installation, 'The Village' (2014) visible through industrial relics of the warehouse's past

Randi & Katrine’s installation, ‘The Village’ (2014) visible through industrial relics of the warehouse’s past

Danish artists Ramdi & Katrine colonise the warehouse space with their installation 'The Village' (2014)

Danish artists Ramdi & Katrine colonise the warehouse space with their installation ‘The Village’ (2014)

Something of Glasgow's history has found it's way here! Glasgow made Industrial equipment on Cockatoo Island

Something of Glasgow’s history has found its way here! Glasgow made Industrial equipment on Cockatoo Island

During redevelopment in early 2000s, original architect of the Sydney Opera House, Jørn Utzon, was asked to re-envision the building’s interior. The reception hall was rededicated in Utzon’s name and is home to a tapestry designed by Utzon himself as a response to Bach’s Hamburg Symphonies and Raphael’s ‘Procession to Calvary’. It was woven by the Australian Tapestry Workshop in 2003 and features shapes of vivid colour against a neutral background woven in wool and cotton.

Coming in to the space, the tapestry has a real wow factor. It measures over 14m in length and flanks almost the entire length of one wall. In an interior dominated by wood, the warmth of the textile marries in well, and is the sole use of colour in the space. Opposite, the extrernal wall is replaced with windows giving an uninterrupted view over the harbour. The two design elements work beautifully together, and my guide told me its a favourite of all who use the room for functions and events!

Jørn Utzon's  'Homage to Carl Emmanuel Bach' (woven 2003)

Jørn Utzon’s ‘Homage to Carl Emmanuel Bach’ (woven 2003)

Jørn Utzon 'Homage to Carl Emmanuel Bach' (woven 2003)

Jørn Utzon ‘Homage to Carl Emmanuel Bach’ (woven 2003)

Many of the artworks featured at Biennale venue, Art Gallery NSW, thematically touch upon issues of colonisation, and national and cultural identity.  Wandering around the galleries, these works are strengthened by the dialogue they share with each other.

Unknown artist, created for 19th Biennale of Sydney 2014

Unknown artist, created for 19th Biennale of Sydney 2014

Indigenous, contemporary Australian artist, Michael Cook's series of large black and white photographs, 'Majority Rule' (2014)

Indigenous, contemporary Australian artist, Michael Cook’s series of large black and white photographs, ‘Majority Rule’ (2014)

Installation shot of indigenous, contemporary Australian artist Yhonnie Scarce's 'Weak In Colour But Strong In Blood' (2013/14). Glass works carying in colour are placed in a laboratory setting, symbolising the historic segregation suffered by Aboriginal people, and commenting upon its continuance today.

Installation shot of indigenous, contemporary Australian artist Yhonnie Scarce’s ‘Weak In Colour But Strong In Blood’ (2013/14). Fruit-shaped glass works, varying in colour, are placed in a laboratory setting, symbolising the historic segregation suffered by Aboriginal people, and present day stereotyping.

Contemporary Scottish artists feature prominently at venues across Sydney for the 19th Biennale this March – June.

Glasgow based artist Nathan Coley has worked with the Biennale's title statement, YOU IMAGINE WHAT DESIRE, and two other variations to create illuminated text pieces that project into Sydney's urban landscape. Having witnessed THERE WILL BE NO MIRACLES HERE at NGMA, Edinburgh, it's interesting to encounter Coley's work again in Australia. Here the message seems more uplifting and asks the viewer to contemplate creativity

Glasgow based artist Nathan Coley has worked with the Biennale’s title statement, YOU IMAGINE WHAT DESIRE, and two other variations to create illuminated text pieces that project into Sydney’s urban landscape. Having witnessed THERE WILL BE NO MIRACLES HERE at NGMA, Edinburgh, it’s interesting to encounter Coley’s work again upon arriving at MCA, Sydney. Here the message seems more uplifting and asks the viewer to contemplate creativity.

Jim Lambie's 'Zobop' (2004) takes over one of the first gallery spaces encountered at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Lambie's signature floor work is combined with sculptural pieces and found object assemblages.

Jim Lambie’s ‘Zobop’ (2004) takes over one of the first gallery spaces encountered at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Lambie’s signature floor work is combined with sculptural pieces and found object assemblages.

Martin Boyce creates a utiliatrian aesthetic of objects altered to become devoid of purpose. The work takes over one of MCA's gallery spaces, creating an environment with distinct atmosphere, differentiating it from other artist works in the surrounding galleries. Attention to detail, for example, in the altered airvents within that space, is reminscent of Boyce's solo show at DCA, Dundee in 2009/10 prior to winning the Turner Prize in 2011.

Turner Prize 2011 winner, Martin Boyce creates a utilitarian aesthetic using objects which have been altered to become sculptural, and devoid of their intended purpose. The work takes over one of MCA’s gallery spaces, creating an environment with distinct atmosphere that differentiates it from works in the surrounding galleries. Attention to detail, for example, in the airvents which have been altered to fit the installation, is reminscent of Boyce’s solo show at DCA, Dundee in 2009/10.

The slowly blinking eye which features in Douglas Gordon's 'Phantom' installation at MCA, Sydney, is also the marketing image that advertises the Biennale city-wide and beyond. The installation, featuring video, an installed stage, piano and burnt piano, and song by Rufus Wainwright, draws the viewer into the space by strategic use of mirrors. The atmosphere within the dark space is highly emotively charged and suggestive of the dualisms which characterise Gordon's work: love and loss, light and dark, public and intimate.

The slowly blinking eye which features in Douglas Gordon’s ‘Phantom’ installation at MCA, Sydney, is also the marketing image that advertises the Biennale city-wide and beyond. The installation- featuring video, an installed stage, piano and burnt piano, and song by Rufus Wainwright- draws the viewer in by strategic use of mirrors. The atmosphere within the dark space is highly emotively charged. Dualisms, love and loss; light and dark; public and intimate, which often characterise Gordon’s work are present here.

Glasgow based artist Corin Sworn presents a film installation at MCA, Sydney which uses non-linear narrative and reference to crime/mystery genre. Objects recur and time shifts, asking the viewer to supply their own imaginative narrative to the images onscreen. Sworn is one of many artists using video in the Biennale this year, video installations features across the venues.

Glasgow based artist Corin Sworn presents film installation, ‘The Rag Papers’ (2013) at MCA, Sydney which uses non-linear narrative and reference to crime/mystery genre. Objects recur and time shifts, asking the viewer to supply their own imaginative narrative to the images onscreen. Sworn is one of many artists using video in the Biennale this year, video installations features across all venues.

Final morning tea with all the lovely people who form the ATW team. Ans what a spread of Australian food goodies!

Final morning tea with all the lovely people who form the ATW team. And what a spread of Australian food goodies!

Tony Stefanovski talks me through the proces of wool and cotton dyeing at ATW's dedicated dye shop

Tony Stefanovski talks me through the proces of wool and cotton dyeing at ATW’s dedicated dye shop

Tapestry designed by Murray Walker and woven in 1991, at 600 Bourke Street, Melbourne

‘Melbourne’ tapestry designed by Murray Walker and woven in 1991, at 600 Bourke Street, Melbourne

Detail of 'Pavilion Suite I - IV' designed by Mary MacQueen and woven in 1984, at The Arts Centre, Melbourne

Detail of ‘Pavilion Suite I – IV’ designed by Mary MacQueen and woven in 1984, at The Arts Centre, Melbourne

‘Sorry’ tapestry designed by Juan Davila and woven in 2013, at State Library, Swanston Street, Melbourne

Wattle tapestry designed by Marie Cook and woven in 1979, at Sofitel Hotel, Melbourne

Wattle tapestry designed by Marie Cook and woven in 1979, at Sofitel Hotel, Melbourne

2014 marks the beginning of the three year weaver exchange program between the Australian Tapestry Workshop and Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh, Scotland. This year Freya Sewell will visit the ATW and Sue Batten will travel to Dovecot Studios. This creative exchange is designed to raise the profile of contemporary tapestry weaving by fostering talent, building relationships and sharing knowledge.

ATW Director Antonia Syme will present a talk about Dovecot Studios and the history of cultural exchange between Dovecot and the ATW. This will be chance to learn more about the work of Dovecot Studios and meet Dovecot Junior Weaver Freya Sewell.

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ATW artist in residence Michelle Hamer created new hand-stitched work in the studio— with Michelle Hamer in Melbourne, Australia.

 

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Accentuating shapes using sumac with ATW senior weaver, Sue Batten — in Melbourne, Australia.

 

 

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Learning about colour mixing ATW style, with wools and cottons all dyed in-house by ATW dyer, Tony Stefanovski — in Melbourne, Australia.

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Freya Sewell's first day at ATW working beside weavers Sue Batten and Milena Paplinska

Freya Sewell’s first day at ATW working beside weavers Sue Batten and Milena Paplinska

The day before Freya leaves for Australia Tapestry Workshop, weaving Alison Watt Butterfly Tapestry.

The day before Freya leaves for Australia Tapestry Workshop, weaving Alison Watt Butterfly Tapestry.