Thursday, September 25, 2008


An exhibition of new tapestries for sale will be held at
GALLERY 4747 Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3PB
(Opposite the British Museum)
11th November – 22nd November 2008
Open daily including Sunday, 16th November between 10am & 4pm
If you would like to receive an invitation to the Private View to be held onMonday 10th November from 4-8pm, please contact Barbara Heller,
Phone: 44 (0)20 7267 1034, e-mail:

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

From Mardi Nowak

Mardi Nowak's Blog

had an email from a student at ANU Canberra today who is studying tapestry with Valerie Kirk. She had to complete an assignment on tapestry weavers who use the human image or form in their work. She had discovered me and sent me a list of questions for me to respond to for her assignment. It's always interesting doing these exercises as it makes me think back to why I do this stuff and what I think about.
So here are my responses to her... yes, I did feel like I was starting to write a thesis again!

1. What is your background? What led you to pursue tapestry as an art form?I have completed a Bachelor of Fine Art majoring in tapestry at Monash University Melbourne in 1998 and have also completed my honours and then a Masters of Fine Art by Research all primarily working in woven tapestry. Kate Derum was my supervisor during that time.

pursued tapestry mostly as I saw it as a challenge. I had previously worked in painting and printmaking and had initially thought that I would major in one of those disciplines at university. I had seen tapestry but had thought I knew how to do it to major in it! However after a discussion with Kate Derum out in a corridor who claimed that my work and style would lend itself to tapestry well, I decided to take the plunge and move into a new discipline. I should mention that I had always had a strong history with textiles. My parents owned a Singer sewing machine store, were boot makers, milliners and pattern makers so I had always worked with textiles, even when I was printmaking, so it seemed a natural progression for my work.

When it comes to being an artist, in particular an artist working in woven tapestry, I love being part of a very old tradition but showing contemporary imagery. I also like the fact that it’s a skill based art that not everyone does, so it makes it a little special - it has a bit of ‘wow’ factor. When it comes to motivation and inspiration, the everyday is what inspires me. Now that I don’t have much time to spend on my artwork, I make things that I want to make and that I feel strongly about or have a connection with. I don’t make work that is controlled by what may sell or what other people want. The imagery I create is made very intuitively but the selection of what will be woven is selected on aesthetic basis and because it has something to say, either about me or because there is a narrative I want to share. I’m heavily influenced by artists such as Karen Kilimnik and Elizabeth Peyton with whom I share a love of figurative works that have a quiet narrative and who also put the viewer and artist into a range of characters.

2. Do you practice other art forms, and if so, what would they be?Although I primarily work in woven tapestry I do work across a wide range of media. Most of my tapestries have a collage starting point and mostly I will work on paper, either collaging, mixed media or drawing. Often I will work with objects as well and during my honours year I was making 3D dolls to add to tapestries and also bags that held objects and tapestries, primarily looking at new ways to display tapestry as well as ways to get my ideas across.

I still work on paper constantly, mostly as my tapestries are big and it’s a quick way to get ideas down. I am still working with objects and the idea of the doll as well as creating artist books of images. I’ve always been very interested in artist books as I’m heavily influenced by popular culture and fashion magazines and liked the idea of creating my own.

3. I notice that your work features young, attractive women. Is there a particular reason for your work taking this direction?I have always worked with the figure and when it comes to what inspires me to create my imagery I stick with things that I know and that relate to my own personal experience. More and more now I find that I am intuitively drawn to selecting figures (or characters) that seem very much like me; that they become the vehicle of my statements within the tapestry. Although it seems very egotistical to say that I am a ‘young and attractive woman’, the works are very much about my view on the world or an imaginary character that I would like to play at some point. The works for my Masters thesis titled ‘Outfit’ talked about our obsession with celebrity and the role of the fan. I can relate to the role of the fan and in some ways idolise and fanaticize about the role of celebrity.

am interested in the notion of ‘people-watching’ and find it an important inspirational tool to capturing the essence of the everyday for me and my work. I think that people watching can be used for static forms such as magazines also and that this crosses over into my work whereby the images created through weaving are static. I also enjoy the strong history of portraiture in art and think that most people are obsessed with looking at others and situating themselves within how others appear.

Often viewers have asked if the girls in the tapestries are me. From a resource point of view they are not. The original images are often found from fashion magazines or advertisements. Though I think even when I was still painting and creating portraits and figures, they inevitably ended up with qualities similar to my own. Now, they have dark hair, big eyes and a fringe, which most people would say are my own features.

4. I'm interested in the career paths that a Fine Arts degree can lead to. I see that besides being a practising artist, you are also the curator at the Town Hall Gallery in Hawthorn. Could you comment on your choice of career in the arts field?I usually describe myself as a full time curator and part time artist these days.I always had an interest in how exhibitions were constructed and the role of the gallery in educating, inspiring and challenging people. Becoming a curator is something that I fell into. I started working as a volunteer in a regional art gallery at a very young age and then was mentored by the Director. I had been given the opportunity to curate an exhibition in my final year of VCE and found that I loved the balance of creating my own work and working with other artists and being inspired by their ideas.

Although I had always thought that I would do a Fine Arts degree, I continued with curating and being heavily involved in the behind the scenes in exhibitions mostly as I felt that it allowed me to become a better artist. Many curators have gone on to do Museum or Arts Management studies, though I believe that the continual hands on work has allowed me to become the curator I am today, along with being an artist as well, gives me insight into dealing with other artists, their aspirations and when they will panic!

Being a tapestry weaver and a curator also has allowed me to continue with my passion of tapestry being seen as a contemporary art form. Working in the industry allows me to push the envelope, so to speak and to put it into a critical context with other works. Most people say that I’m very lucky to work within the arts but I think that the curating and creating feed off each other in the way that I think and approach both my works.

Monday, September 15, 2008

1. Re: "a marginalized discipline" . "suddenly wonderous and revelatory" (Stanley Bulbach)

Since it seemed to pass by unnoticed amongst most of the fibercommunity, I want to share a local news report of importance to theentire fiber community. The news was featured in not one, but two --TWO !! -- front page stories on the New York Times Wednesday, September 10.

The Front Page of the New York Times carried the stories, "Curator atMet Named Director of the Museum" by Carol Vogel and "A New Voice From Within" by Michael Kimmelman. When Director Philippe deMontebello retires in January, he will be replaced by Thomas P.Campbell, the Met's Curator of Textiles. Again as in the past, thewriters emphasized the importance of his exhibition, "Tapestry in theRenaissance: Art and Magnificence".

Mr. Kimmelman wrote "He no doubt is only known to a wider public asthe curator behind the Renaissance and Baroque tapestry shows thatwere among the finest, most beautiful and most praised exhibitionsthe museum has done in years. Via those shows and their heftycatalogs, Mr. Campbell brought to life a marginalized discipline andmade it seem suddenly wondrous and revelatory."

Ms. Vogel wrote "His exhibition "Tapestry in the Renaissance: Artand Magnificence" became the sleeper hit of 2002, attracting some215,000 visitors, more than twice what the museum had project, withmany works that had never been seen in America."

(That story from 2002 alone -- of double the number of visitors thanthe museums best projections -- should be a constant topic ofdiscussion on our fiber bulletin boards, in our fiber publications,in our fiber organizations, etc.)

I think we fiberists can rejoice that a curator in our field is beingacknowledged in this manner. And not just any textile curator, butone who is cited as knowing the rules of bona fide academic research-- relatively unknown in our field -- including the primaryrequirement that you actually have to look at a field's contentaccountably before you pass "expert" judgment on limited parts ofit. For years I have attempted to urge fiberists to encourage anopen dialogue about the importance of our work and how it isinaccurately overshadowed in the broader art world.

To this day, most of our fiber bulletin boards still prohibitnon-technical discussions. Our media, for example Interweave Press,is increasingly owned by investment companies, for example, AspireMedia, that focus on fiber as a retirement distraction and not alsoan art form equal to others. Our primary advocacy organizations, forexample HGA and ACC, have lost about 20% of their membership base andeconomic support over recent years. Yet we have censored ourselvesfrom speaking out in a normal, constructive, academicallyinvigorating manner to preserve and improve our field.

Thus, there is even more reason to celebrate today the Met'sselection of Mr. Campbell as its new Director. This is the mostencouraging news I've seen on the front page of the New York Times inquite some time!

Three cheers from New York City,

PS. I sent this report Wednesday to the American TapestryAssociation, and there has been dead silence in response! I find nofield that matches ours for pursed lips and self imposed silenceabout our relatively poor position.

Stanley Bulbach, Ph.D.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I have added a list for exhibitions on the right hand side navigation bar. If you have an exhibition coming up or know of one please email through the details so it can be added to the list.
The only information we need is the name of the exhibition and the URL ( web address) of the exhibition eg: the gallery page listing the exhibition.

Daniels Edwards Artist statment

Hi, my name is Daniel. I am currently in my third undergrad. year at the ANU School of Art in the Textiles Workshop. This year in my work I’ve been exploring the theme of masculine identity in craft. My work includes three tapestries woven with rug yarn combining geometric patterns that emphasise the woven quality with abstract portraits of bearded men. I hope to produce work that shows empowerment of gender suggesting that in practising craft one can form an identity in the field and medium. I have been collecting images of and looking at the bearded man and the aesthetic link that the present day has to the recent decades past where sporting facial hair was fashionable – particularly in the 1970s. The abstracted portraits are developed as iconic images or trademarks of the “maker”. I am interested in hearing from anyone who has ideas about what the bearded crafts person symbolises. Also gathering information on men in Textiles and the roles they play and gathering interesting pictures of bearded craftspeople.
Email Dan or phone 0413 275 869

Monday, September 8, 2008

Images from the conference

The British Tapestry Group goes global.....

Jennie Moncur

The British Tapestry Group goes global.....
BTG has decided to open up its membership to international tapestry weavers. You can join simply by visiting the BTG website,, although please be patient whilst we get our PayPal account sorted out. Membership fees for the current year, to April 2009, will be posted on the site.

Membership Benefits include:
· Access to the restricted members’ area on the website
· Access to the new BTG online Forum
· Create your own gallery page
· Subscription to the BTG Newsletter
· Member discount for the Tapestry 08 catalogue
· A range of members’ only exhibiting opportunities
· Reduced fees for Conference, Seminar and Workshop events

The new BTG Management Committee are also looking to forge links with international tapestry weaving groups, as well as individual weavers, so opening up our membership is our first step in this new direction. We’re already in the initial stages of organising an event for 2009, and the next major juried show, which we hope to tour to galleries around the UK.

2008 has certainly been a landmark year for the worldwide community of tapestry weavers with the Tapestry 2008 Symposium and events in Australia; BTG’s exhibition, conference and workshops in the UK; the American Tapestry Alliance’s Convergence events and exhibitions in the US; as well as the opening of the European Tapestry Forum’s second major touring show.

Add the British Tapestry Group website – - to your favourites list and keep yourself up-to-date with what’s happening in the UK.

Jane Freear-Wyld – Chair, the British Tapestry Group

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

American Tapestry Alliance New Project

"Inspiration & Creativity," curated by Mary Lane.

Inspiration & Creativity, a project hosted jointly by the American Tapestry Alliance’s Web Exhibition and Educational Articles programs presents the viewpoints of four internationally recognized artists: Peter Horn (Germany), Murray Gibson (Canada), Kay Lawrence (Australia) and Joanne Soroka (United Kingdom). Each artist has generously offered his or her perspective on the creative process through an essay published as an Educational Article. Each artist’s work is featured in the concurrent, and eponymous, Web Exhibition.

Inspiration & Creativity

Peter HornLighter Than Air