Earlier this week I was priviledged to join a small group for the 'unveiling' of an extraordinary piece of art at one of Melbourne's 'Hidden Gems', the Victorian Tapestry Workshop (VTW) which is located at 262 Park Street, South Melbourne (link here). Now unless you are familiar with the work of this Hidden Gem the name conjures up an image of little old ladies sitting in a circle with needle and thread learning how to create a cushion! It is anything but.
|Even the outside the building is magnificent|
|The old knitting factory - now home to the light and bright ATW|
The VTW was established in 1976 and since that time it has created over 400 tapestries, from small to monumental. Each tapestry is woven using Australia's very finest wool which is dyed on site. It is the only workshop of its kind in Australia - and one of only a handful worldwide and it uses the same techniques employed since the 14th Century in Europe.
|Wool for sale in a rainbow of stunning colours|
The weavers work in collaboration with the artists whose work is 'transferred' into a tapestry artwork. This collaboration has included renowned artists such as Arthur Boyd, Ginger Riley, John Olsen and now the Melbourne based indigenous artist Brook Andrew. All the works are remarkable and are housed around the world.
|The Arthur Boyd Tapestry in the Great Hall, Parliament House, Canberra. It measures 20 metres wide by 9 metres high!|
The work Catching Breath was begun in April 2014 and has been created for the Australian High Commissioner's Residence in Singapore. It becomes the latest addition to the ATW Tapestry Collection. This particular piece of art was the first attempted by the ATW which included an additional layer - a tapestry veil - which covered most of the handsome and powerful head and torso of an historic photo of an indigenous male. To quote the artist:
"the veiled subject peers though the veil with eyes clearly focussed on the outside.
This eye communication catches our attention,
our breath as we decided whether or not to lift the subjects' veil,
to reveal the unknown.'
So let's go on a journey to reveal the artwork
|The original artwork with 'samples' of the tapestry|
|The original artwork/sample board (L), finished work still on the loom (C) and head (R)|
|The original 'head' - the weavers work on the loom (removed) in front of the work|
|A small loom to 'work' on the samples|
|The finished work before the 'cutting down' of the tapestry - the veil looks - and is - folded|
|A remarkable collaboration - the artist (L) with the main weaver|
The twice weekly tours are a wonderful way to visit the ATW so contact them via their website or telephone 9699 7885. You won't regret it. I find when I walk in the door that I feel I am on 'hallowed ground'. I hope you do too!