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Weaving the Century at Dovecot Studios 1912 - 2012

Sat 20 October 2012, 11.00amSun 16 December 2012, 5.00pm


Tapestry is an extraordinary and special art which brings together two worlds to make a new one.

At its best, an artist and weavers create a unique work of art in which skill, texture, colour, form and space together spark magic. The iconic and rarely seen works within this exhibition by Alan Davie, Frank Stella, David Hockney, Paul Gauguin, Elizabeth Blackadder, Sir Peter Blake, Edward Wadsworth, Cecil Beaton, Graham Sutherland, Eduardo Paolozzi, Jankel Adler and Claire Barclay, amongst others, are testimony to this unique fusion.

A weave is as individual as the weaver who interprets a design.

Over the last century, Edinburgh based Dovecot Studios have produced more than 700 tapestries and rugs, ranging from the more traditional, finely-woven hangings to experimental textile art. This exhibition, curated by Dr Elizabeth Cumming, presents over 60 of these tapestries and rugs on loan from major museums and private collections in America and Britain. Each one, created at Dovecot during the twentieth and early twentieth-first centuries, represents the broad range of visual and technical weaving styles that has established Dovecot’s reputation as a centre for excellence and innovation.

This is the first time that such a vast collection of works produced by Dovecot has been shown together. Whilst revealing the history of Dovecot, it also offers the opportunity to explore the rich artistic potential of modern tapestry. Visitors will see how Arts and Crafts ideals, synonymous with the fine weaving of Scottish historical and pastoral designs of William Skeoch Cumming and Alfred Priest, evolved into an engagement with modern, Neo-Romantic art from the 1950s onwards, when designs came from leading artists including Graham Sutherland, Henry Moore, Stanley Spencer and John Piper. A quest for experimentation dominated the 1960s and 1970s when Dovecot worked with a range of artists including Eduardo Paolozzi, David Hockney, Frank Stella and Elizabeth Blackadder. Since then there have been Dovecot collaborations with John Bellany, Barbara Rae, Kate Whiteford and, more recently, with Claire Barclay, Patrick Caulfield, William Crozier and Liz Rideal.

Interactive Tapestry studio

The exhibition also has an interactive element: the Stratford upon Avon Guild of Weavers Spinners and Dyers have a studio within the exhibition space, demonstrating weaving techniques as well as running hands-on workshops for visitors on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.

A Dovecot touring exhibition curated by Dr Elizabeth Cumming.