Wednesday 10 October 2012

The Stirling Tapestries

It was my delight, while at West Dean, to be given a guided tour of the tapestry studio there, where replica tapestries are being made for Stirling Castle in Scotland. A total of seven hand-made tapestries were commissioned in 2001. Four of them now hang in the Queen’s Inner Hall; the remaining three will be completed and hung by 2013. The designs are closely based on a set of Renaissance tapestries held at the Cloisters Museum in New York. These were woven in the Low Countries around 1500 and tell the story of a unicorn hunted and killed by a group of huntsmen and dogs. This can be read as both as an allegory of love, and as a Christian parable. While tapestries are being woven at West dean, another team is also busy at their loom where they are making a tapestry in full view of the general public, demonstrating how tapestry is made. Each tapestry in the set involved three weavers at a time with weavers coming from the USA, Sweden, Australia, Japan, Scotland, Isle of Man and England.It is hoped the tapestries will be ready by 2013. When I asked how much a weaver wove a day, Rudi - one of the team (2nd from right above) - made a shape touching index finger to index finger and thumb to thumb to create a shape that could not have been more than 4 inches by 3 inches and told me this was the amount they had to work each day. Now look how great these pieces are and marvel!

1 comment:

  1. Incredible the patience you have to have, so beautiful and what a fulfilling job to have!