Saturday, December 15, 2012

DOES A TAPESTRY HAVE A USE BY DATE?

BLUE PATTERNED PLATE WITH FRUIT
I have thought a lot about this question over the years and am still not certain of the answer? If you dedicate a large part of your life to making a tapestry do you really only want to 'show' it somewhere ONCE? Do you want to continue making work that eventually ends up in some kind of storage in your studio? I am certain that we all have work that has never been shown anywhere. I have several tapestries that I have not photographed and shown here or anywhere else. Many of them are stored in a drawer that now won't take another single tapestry and my little 'Kimono' series are pinned on the boards above the computer desk in my studio. At least that way I get to admire them. Exhibition opportunities often have a 'theme' or size limit. Sometimes you may have something already woven but often entering these shows requires making new work. If you do make a tapestry for a specific exhibition is there anything 'wrong' with including it in a show somewhere else? Even if the work is a few years old? I will never be a prolific tapestry weaver, having tendonitis means that I can't weave for long periods of time, but I am considering what I want to do with the work I make in the future? One conclusion that I have come to is that most different exhibition spaces would attract different people and really so what if someone has seen the work before? Chances would be that most of the audience that you would attract would not be familiar with either you or your work. Writing a 'blog' usually only attracts your family and friends who like to keep up with what you are doing. Or other tapestry weavers and artists who like your work. That being said how many of these people or 'followers' of your blog, website or Facebook friends are likely to ever see one of your tapestries in the flesh? If you continue to make work based around the same series over a long period of time I can see the benefits of exhibiting a larger body of work. It often shows the growth of ideas and the artists progression throughout the series. I enjoy going to solo exhibition of artists who show older works included with new ones, as interests and technique often change showing the personal growth of the artist. It takes a lot of work to have a solo 'tapestry' exhibition so I think that it is wise to search out other opportunities to show you work. 
So what do you think? 

10 comments:

Rebecca Mezoff said...

I think that the more tapestries are viewed anywhere, the better. I don't think there is a "use by" date and seeing the progression of someone's work is a great thing in a solo show or retrospective. Tapestry is so slow to produce that I think we all exhibit work repeatedly and work that is several years old, or perhaps even very old in the right context. I say bring it out of the closets and put it up on the walls anywhere people will see it!

Debbie Herd said...

Thanks Rebecca, I agree! There are not that many opportunities to show our work. We need to make the most of them!

Michelle said...

Yeah, I'd love to see an exhibition of a tapestry artist's work from the beginning, right through to more recent work - fascinating!

Debbie Herd said...

Well Michell one would hope to see a lot of improvement! My first tapestries are beaten down so hard they have a very different feel to the ones I can make now. I was only in 3rd year when I got tendonitis. That was in 1995, long time ago now and the reason that I can't weave a lot. But I think that technically you would see growth.......well one hopes!The big thing for me was doing Visual Arts as well. Seven years all up. Design is where I think that you would see a lot of growth!

Marilyn Rea-Menzies said...

Debbie, have you considered having a solo exhibition of your work at some time? That is a good way to show all your tapestries together even if they are on different subjects. The fact that they are all your work would make them work together. I've just noticed that Rebecca is saying much the same thing.

Anonymous said...

I think that you should be able to exhibit your work no matter the age, as long as it is the quality and workmanship required for showing. I agree with Rebecca that the more tapestry is in the public eye, the better. They are such a labor of love and commitment they should be on show as much as possible. It is a shame to keep them locked away.

Debbie Herd said...

Hi Marilyn, I am having a solo exhibition in February 2014. It will be the tapestries from my Graduate Exhibition along with some new ones that I am working on. Depending on the exhibition space I may include some of my large paintings as well. Sounds a long time away BUT I have a big year of weaving next year!

Debbie Herd said...

Anonymous Thank you for your comment, Yes tapestry is a slow labor of love and there are not many opportunities to show it. Thanks for taking the time to comment, I appreciate it.

Mary said...

Hi Debbie, my first reaction to your post is that seeing work 'in the flesh' is always so much better than in books or on the computer. So go ahead and show it as much as possible. I love seeing work that I have heard about, or read about on blogs.
Unless an exhibition specifically states that the work must not have been shown previously, or has to have been made within a particular time-frame, go ahead and show.
I am currently deciding where to put my work - in my own house. It does no good in the drawer. I hope I actually get around to it.

Debbie Herd said...

Hi Mary, yes I agree work is so much better viewed in the flesh. There are not that many opportunities to exhibit tapestry in Australia.

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