New City Art Centre exhibition to explore the changing concepts of tapestry

Tapestry exhibition to open at City Art Centre in November

13 November 2021 - 13 March 2022, City Art Centre, Free Entry

This winter the City Art Centre presents Tapestry: Changing Concepts, a two-floor group show featuring work by 19 contemporary artists associated with the former Tapestry Department at Edinburgh College of Art, either as graduates or lecturers. Artists include: Jo Barker, Archie Brennan, 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.

From the early 1960s to the 2000s the Tapestry Department was a hotbed of artistic invention. There was a strong emphasis on drawing, and all students learned to weave, yet at the same time were encouraged to explore different media to express their ideas. Tapestry was taught on an equal footing to the other fine art disciplines at the college and this ethos continued for almost 50 years, as the course gradually changed direction and eventually became Intermedia. Many of the alumni who originally trained in tapestry went on to develop a professional practice in an area which bore little or no relation to warp and weft.

Tapestry: Changing Concepts reflects the unconventional approach of the department. On display are drawings, installations and sculptures alongside works made of textile - all presented under the banner of tapestry. People often think of tapestry as a traditional artform, in terms of technique, subject matter, or both. This exhibition aims to challenge this preconception and broaden the understanding of what a tapestry is or can be. Where it was once seen as a craft, it is now considered an artform in its own right, underpinned by ideas as much as technique. These works break with convention, looking to the future rather than the past.

The exhibition has been organised in partnership with STAR* (Scottish Tapestry Artists Regrouped) and is accompanied by an exciting events programme and a catalogue with an essay by Professor Lesley Millar, Professor of Textile Culture and Director International Textile Research Centre at the University for the Creative Arts.

Councillor Donald Wilson, Edinburgh’s Convener of Culture and Communities said:

We are delighted to present Tapestry: Changing Concepts at the City Art Centre this winter. This exhibition will give visitors the opportunity to see the works of 19 contemporary artists associated with the former Tapestry Department at Edinburgh College of Art, many of whom are still based in Edinburgh or Scotland. Once again, this exhibition shows the City Art Centre supporting local artists - an important strand of its programming. 

Councillor Amy McNeese-Mechan, Edinburgh's Culture and Communities Vice Convener, said:

This stunning exhibition mixes tapestries, large and small, mounted and unmounted, traditionally woven and mixed-media, as well as drawings, installations and textiles - all presented under the banner of tapestry.

Over two floors, visitors will be able to enjoy a range of works, spanning 50 years and not only discover more about this fascinating artform but also the exciting and innovative Tapestry Department at Edinburgh College of Art.

Published: October 13th 2021