Tapestry: Changing Concepts opened at the City Art Centre, Edinburgh in November and will run until March 2022. The show looks fantastic, with many pieces I would be happy to take home with me. We have also had some good press coverage:

‘Fresh Fruit of the Loom’, Adam Benmakhlouf, The Skinny, pp32-33 https://issuu.com/theskinny/docs/issue_190_nov_2021

‘Tapestry: Changing Concepts’, Beth Williamson, Studio International https://www.studiointernational.com/index.php/tapestry-changing-concepts-review-city-art-centre-edinburgh

‘Edinburgh: A Tapestry Powerhouse’, Susan Mansfield, Scottish Art News https://www.flemingcollection.com/scottish_art_news/news-press/edinburgh-a-tapestry-powerhouse

The show includes work which ranges from the traditionally woven to sculptural pieces unconnected to fibre. All nineteen artists are graduates of taught at the former Tapestry Department of Edinburgh College of Art, where students were encouraged to break the rules and execute their idea in whichever medium suited it best. Besides this, some of the graduates have moved on to other media. One of the least tapestry-like is Henny Burnett’s 365 Days of Plastic. She cast all the plastic that came through her household in dental plaster and laid it out on a plinth. It is both horrifying and beautiful, and it makes a point.

At the other end of the spectrum, some of the traditionally woven work stands out. For me, tapestry is more vibrant than painting, in that it can use strong colour and texture which is unavailable to paint. Amanda Gizzi makes use of these strengths in I Salute You.

Even in working with a limited black-and-white range, Sara Brennan uses texture to the maximum, but in the most subtle way, to create a piece that also tests the limits of conventional composition with Tree Line I.

Other artists make use of paper, balsa wood and monoprint, while Fiona Hutchison has chosen plastic for The Edge of the Ocean. She admits she found it unpromising at first, even hating it, until she saw its potential. Her work has always been about the sea, so she made use of recycled shredded bale strapping to evoke sea foam, also alluding to the problem of plastic in our oceans.

In my own work, I have used different media. For the work in this show, I have stuck to tapestry weaving, supplementing it with tufting or knotting, but I also stay away from the rectangle to emphasise the shapes, in this case of continents. With Another Country (featured photo), I comment on the plight of refugees fleeing persecution and hardship, emphasising the movement from one place to another. Colour, warmth and texture are important to my work.

I hope you will have the opportunity to see this exhibition in the flesh.

Tapestry: Changing Concepts at the City Art Centre, 2 Market Street, Edinburgh EH1 1DE, Scotland

13 Nov 2021 – 13 Mar 2022

Artists include: Jo Barker, Archie Brennan (1931-2019), Gordon Brennan, Sara Brennan, Henny Burnett, Amanda Gizzi, Linda Green, Stephen Hunter, Fiona Hutchison, William Jefferies, Tessa Lynch, Fiona Mathison, Jo McDonald, Susan Mowatt, Ann Naustdal, Matteo Rosa, Cristina Sobrino, Joanne Soroka and Lesley Stothers

Further information about the exhibition: https://www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/whats-on/tapestry-changing-concepts

Related blog articles:

The Year of Tapestry https://joannesoroka.co.uk/the-year-of-tapestry/

The Cordis Prize Exhibition https://joannesoroka.co.uk/the-cordis-prize-exhibition-and-symposium/