Thursday, 22 September 2011

The Victorian Tapestry Workshop in South Melbourne

After meeting the lacemakers of Melbourne, I was told that I must visit the Victorian Tapestry Workshop, so my daughter-in-law (along with 8-month old Ryan) drove us to Melbourne South for the free tour of the workshop. We arrived early for the tour so had a stroll around the surrounding streets doing some window shopping until it was time. There were only 2 other ladies attending but we had to wait for a bus of tourists to arrive, but they never did. so it was quite a personal tour.
Artist weavers working on a tapestry
with scores of coloured wools
tapestry in progress
with the weaving bobbins
One is not allowed to enter the workshop itself where the weavers are working on looms up to several meters wide, but there is a mezzanine level where one can look down on the whole workshop. It was established in 1976 by the government of Victoria and is one of very few such workshops worldwide, weaving tapestries in the traditional European way. Most tapestries are specially commisioned for art galleries, corporate foyers and boardroms, embassies, museums etc and each design is unique and designed by contemporary Australian artists. In the dying area, pure Australian wool is dyed to the exact shades required for each tapestry and the weavers are artists themselves reproducing the design in a woven wool tapestry.

The gentleman who gave the talk and showed us from the upper level what was going on in each area, was very knowledgeable and patient with all our questions but as it has been rather a long time since the visit, this is a very cursory report on it. I was so enthralled by it all that I forgot to take any photographs so I took these couple from the advertising leaflet. If you wish to find out more, go to www.austapestry.com.au .

I did buy some cones of the fine wool to use for making lace - possibly a scarf - when I get home. It was not easy to choose a colour from the array of 366 colours but I eventually settled on 3 shades of denim blue.

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