Tomorrow, a dynamic exhibition of tapestries from the Australian Tapestry Workshop opens at the Australian Design Centre. Painting with Thread takes on a behind-the-scenes approach, showing visitors the steps of tapestry creation from design, sampling, to weaving and completion.
The Australian Tapestry Workshop succeeds in updating visitor's ideas of tapestry weaving as a craft from past eras and presents it as an expressive and colourful contemporary art medium. Founded in 1976, the AWT brings together leading artists, designers, and craftspeople to produce unique hand-woven artworks. Contemporary tapestry is experiencing a resurgence at the moment, as the world comes to recognise the importance of preserving this beautiful traditional art form. At the forefront of this revitalisation, AWT seeks to push new boundaries creatively and engaging the public more broadly.
Visitors to Painting with Thread will be able to see works such as Treasure Hunt (2018), a tapestry designed by leading Chinese-Australian artist Guan Wei and woven by Chris Cochius, Pamela Joyce, Jennifer Sharpe and Cheryl Thornton. The tapestry, which depicts a colourful treasure map, combines skillful weaving technique with humour and playfulness. This is typical of Wei's artistic style; his work is often light in tone and yet he also has a serious side. Each piece he creates is also subtly profound in message as Wei engages with complex social issues underpinned by humility. The design of a map links to recurring themes in Wei's work, which include migration, identity, and notions of boundaries and place.
Painting with Thread opens 2 August and on display until 26 September 2018. There will also be a forum on the first Saturday (4 August) linked to the exhibition, discussing tapestry weaving and its cultural meaning.
Blog post by Jessica Edney