The Year of Tapestry
Among the cognoscenti, Edinburgh is known as the epicentre of tapestry weaving. Starting with the founding of the Dovecot Studios in 1912 and the inception of the Tapestry Department at Edinburgh College of Art fifty years later, the city has been long been home to a wide variety of artists in this minority medium.
This year marks three major exhibitions which will complement each other, showing tapestry in all its aspects. First up in March is Archie Brennan: Tapestry Goes Pop! https://dovecotstudios.com/exhibitions/archie-brennan-tapestry-goes-pop/ Archie was virtually Mr Tapestry in Edinburgh, having been the director of the Edinburgh Tapestry Company (Dovecot Studios) and founder of and long-time teacher at the Tapestry Department. Much of his work was influenced by that of his friend and prominent pop artist Sir Eduardo Paolozzi. Over 80 tapestries have been gathered up from collections in several countries for this major retrospective, showing the breadth of his contribution to the medium.
In May we will see the fifth annual Cordis Trust Prize exhibition at the beautiful Inverleith House Gallery within the Royal Botanic Gardens. https://thetapestryprize.oess1.uk/ The brainchild of Miranda Harvey and her husband, the writer Ian Rankin, this juried show awards the most lucrative prize for tapestry in the world. About twenty shortlisted works from international artists always demonstrate a wide range of approaches, highlighting the fact that tapestry has numerous possibilities, including moving into the third dimension.
The final show of the year will be the one I am most involved in, with the working title of Tapestry: Changing Concepts, opening at the City Art Centre in November. 2021 Exhibition Highlights revealed by City Art Centre | The Edinburgh Reporter This exhibition will showcase the work of members of STAR*, Scottish Tapestry Artists Regrouped, of which I am Honorary Secretary. All members are graduates of or taught at the Tapestry Department of Edinburgh College of Art. While every type of tapestry will be included, there will also be works in other media, demonstrating the breadth of creativity of the exhibitors. A video of our previous show at the CAC can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbE_NOD_mys
These exhibitions represent all that is good about tapestry in Edinburgh. The Archie Brennan show tells viewers about an important part of history of the Edinburgh Tapestry Company (Dovecot Studios); the Cordis Prize draws in international artists; and the STAR* show is about current makers who are all connected to the Tapestry Department. Of course I will be at all the exhibitions, and I hope to see you there.