Tuesday, February 15, 2011
TOURING TAPESTRY IN EUROPE
Internationally known tapestry artist Cresside Collette is hosting a tapestry tour of Europe beginning in London on the 15th of June and concluding in Aubusson on the 2nd July 2011. I invited Cresside to write an article about the tour. All text and images have been kindly provided by Cresside.
When Pauline Tran, of Tran's global tours asked me to outline a tour of what I considered to be the most important and appealing tapestry destinations in Europe I was really delighted. I realized, when I started putting it together, that I had done a lot of the groundwork for this tour a couple of years ago when I revisited the UK and France to reconnect with old friends and meet new ones, all passionate practitioners of the art of tapestry. These selected sites have held deep personal interest for me in my area of study and I have had first hand experience of all of them. So what better way to enhance my own knowledge than to share it with others interested in this field?
We will start in London, exploring the renowned Whitechapel Gallery and the Geffrye Museum and of course the incomparable Victoria and Albert Museum, home to the
15th C. Devonshire Hunts and the Raphael cartoons (which themselves embody the turning point between Medieval and Classical tapestry.) A visit to the West Dean tapestry studio in Sussex will witness weavers of our generation entering the mind of the medieval craftsman in their re - interpretation of the Hunt of the Unicorn tapestries, destined for the restored Queen's bedchamber at Stirling Castle.
In London we will also visit the studios of contemporary tapestry artists, including the masterful and innovative William Jeffries.
In Paris we will visit the Musee du Moyen Age, home to the gorgeous Lady and the Unicorn suite as well as wonderful collection of important Medieval works. Then a trip to the Gobelins Tapestry Workshop, set up under royal patronage in 1662, to see the longest running workshop in the world. The Musee des Arts Decoratifs shows the very best of the decorative arts, an overwhelming display of skilled craftsmanship from the very old to the very new set in the spacious Tuileries gardens alongside the Louvre
We will also experience the oldest surviving suite of tapestries, The Apocalypse, housed in the castle in the town of Angers, a treasure of the Loire valley. Within this imposing fortress the enormous, poetic tapestry illustrates the book of Revelations in seventy surviving panels. Angers is also home to the Cathedral St. Maurice that contains eleven Gothic tapestries and the St. John's Hospital, a collection of 12th C. buildings that displays the work of modern tapestry artist, Jean Lurcat, including the magnificent Song of the World series inspired by The Apocalypse.
Travelling by bus to a Manoir in central France we will settle in for a six day workshop to learn and explore tapestry techniques. I am designing this to accommodate the skills of the participants - from beginners to professionals. Our stay will be interspersed with visits to Aubusson, which is a twenty minute ride away. This picturesque town has survived on the weaving industry since the 14Th C., its individual ateliers open to public view as well as its more formal tapestry centres.
I hope that this visual feast of tapestry will inspire its appreciation on many levels, and consolidate the participants' knowledge and practice of this timeless art form.
If you are interested in taking part of this tour the detailed program can be found here. Or I am more than happy to send the details if you email me a request form.