Monday, May 13, 2013


I came across these video's today on You Tube while searching for something completely different. One of the great things about You Tube is that there are a lot of uploads of old programs that would otherwise be lost somewhere in archives, never to be seen again. These documentaries featuring Archie Brennan were filmed in New Zealand in 1992.
The first video begins with that wonderful sound of the tap tap tapping of the bobbin, beating down the weft. A sound so familiar to the solitary tapestry weaver. It is interesting watching Archie weave, sometimes from the front and other times from the back. There are several tapestries that I had not seen before and I particularly like the ones that feature fabrics and windows. I enjoyed Archie's thoughts on the process of weaving and the attraction of working in such a slow medium.

Archie talks of tapestries past and its use as a social commentary of the times. I like the cartoons and the way the women's dresses are woven. Listing to Archie, it reminds me of Grayson Perry's documentary 'In the Best Possible Taste' that was screened here earlier in the year. Archie seems to be attracted to weaving text, something many of us avoid. When commenting on the weaving the Sue Arnold tapestry it gives a lot to think about in terms of beginning a tapestry, as Archie comments that it would have been better woven upside down.

There is something really attractive about making tapestries about textiles. If the tapestries of the shirts and ties were paintings they would not have the warmth they do woven in wool. Don't be fooled by how simple the hounds tooth looks, it was woven by a master!
I won't say anymore about the programs, but see if you can pick out the tapestry in the third video that is woven on the bias?
Many thanks to the up loader for making these video's available again, so many years after they were filmed. They are just as relevant today as they were over 20 years ago. Enjoy!


  1. What a find! Thank you so much for sharing!
    I have several times tried to stop tapestry weaving and , - well - I am still at it and sometimes wondered why. Now I find someone putting it into words, that it is not something you choose to do but something that one just needs to do.
    I especially like Archie's closing words - talking about terrible situations in the world and that one feels that there is nothing one can personally do about them, - I weave tapestry, that is what I do.
    I feel so much better :-)
    it was marvelous to be able to listen and see!

  2. Hi Debbie: Thank you for posting these videos. I am a great admirer of Archie Brennan and I love listening to him talking about his work. Each time I see something different. You made my day!

    Elaine Duncan

  3. Hi Vera,yes I think weaving is just something that we have to do. It is so wonderful to hear Archie talking about his work. Debbie.

  4. Hi Elaine, the video's are fantastic. I have watched them through a couple of times. Each time like you I see something different. I am so grateful that they were uploaded and not sitting in an archive somewhere. We are lucky to be able to watch them. Debbie.

  5. Thanks for sharing these videos Debbie, they were very enjoyable.

  6. Hi Janette I have watched them through a couple of times now. Each time picking up something different. Glad that you enjoyed them. Debbie.

  7. Thanks from me too Debbie. I am new to tapestry and it is great to be able to see this and hear him reflecting on his work. I have only seen the first part so far but was really taken by his talk of how you do a section and then move on - and how this can be related to life. It would probably make life so much better if I applied this well.

  8. Hi Mary, I am glad that you enjoyed the video's. We were all new to tapestry once!


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