A documentary following Chris Ofili’s lengthy journey making The Caged Bird’s Song, a magnificent large-scale tapestry recently unveiled at London’s National Gallery, is now available to watch on BBC. Titled Imagine, the film sees Alan Yentob track the artist’s process as he sets about transposing his famously fluid watercolour drawings into wool. Ofili didn’t do it by himself of course. Instead, he enlisted the skills and expertise of master tapestry weavers at Edinburgh’s renowned Dovecot Studios.

Five weavers worked on this tapestry in Scotland over the course of almost three years, depicting Ofili’s stylistic imagery inspired by classical mythology, contemporary ‘demigods’ and the stories, magic and colour of the Trinidadian landscape where he lives. Known as one of the foremost authorities on tapestry weaving, this is not the first major commission for Dovecot Studios, having previously worked with an arsenal of various artists such as Linder, Garry Fabian Miller, Than Clark, Julie Brook and Magne Furuholmen.

Established over 100 years ago in the home of the Marquess of Bute, Dovecot has since grown into something of a cultural institution, incorporating apprenticeship schemes, public and private commissions and now residing in the magnificent and historical Infirmary Street Baths which were refurbished from 2005-2008. This was where Ofili worked so closely with his team of weavers making The Caged Bird’s Song.

Dovecot Studios will host the Selvedge Edinburgh Fair next month on the 19th of August. To buy your ticket, click here.

To find out more about Imagine, click here.

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  • Sasha McInnes on

    Totally gorgeous tapestry and story; thank you for bringing it to our attention. Best wishes to all of you.

  • Helen Brown on

    I saw this whilst in London recently..It is the most magnificent tapestry. The use of colour and the effect of blending in the wools is awe inspiring. All the more so because it is a huge work. Congratulations to those at Dovecot and of course Chris Offali. Bravo the National gallery for putting it so effectively on display for us all to see.

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