ref: d4o Jul 5-Sep 27 2014 DOVECOT STUDIOS Current Exchanges - Open a 'pdf' of this press release - return to Galleries PR Index

June 2014

Press Release

Current Exchanges: Dovecot and the Australian Tapestry Workshop

5 July to 27 September 2014

Celebrating the continuing connections between the Australian Tapestry Workshop, Melbourne, and

Dovecot Studios, Edinburgh, the exhibition Current Exchanges brings together recent work from

both institutions.

Although geographically separate, both share a similar philosophy of working closely with

contemporary artists to produce tapestries at the cutting edge of artistic practice. The links between

the studios date back to the founding of the Australian Tapestry Workshop in 1976: Dovecot’s

Artistic Director, Archie Brennan, advised on the structure and feasibility of the new antipodean

enterprise. Since then the exchanges of weavers and ideas have continued. This year marks the

beginning of another cycle of such interchanges between Melbourne and Edinburgh, through an

exchange between weavers from the two studios funded by Creative Scotland’s Creative Futures

Programme. The international exchange programme between Dovecot Studios and the Australian

Tapestry Workshop is designed to raise the profile of contemporary tapestry weaving by fostering

talent, building relationships and sharing knowledge. By spending an extended period in the host

country, weavers engage both with familiar and with new working practices, and immerse

themselves in the local arts and cultural community. Junior Weaver, Freya Sewell completed her

residency at the Australian Tapestry Workshop in early 2014; a weaver from Melbourne will travel to

Dovecot in the autumn.

The tapestries and rugs in this Current Exchanges exhibition range in price from approximately

£4,000 to £60,000. Most woven and hand-tufted Dovecot textile pieces are created in response to a

request from a private collector or public commissioner. The tapestry on the loom throughout the

duration of this exhibition is the result of a collaboration between artist Magne Furuholmen and

Dovecot. The Glass Onion design that the weavers are referring to is a woodblock print created

specifically by Furuholmen, inspired by musical terminology and Beatles song lyrics. A print from this

series will feature in the exhibition, while visitors are also able to view the weavers working on the

tapestry from the Balcony.

Tapestries from Melbourne and Edinburgh are hung together on the walls overlooking the Weaving

Floor at Dovecot a survey of practice from both institutions spanning a decade. Artists include

Nusra Latif Queneshi, Alan Davie, Anamarari Brown, William Crozier, Brent Harris, Peter Saville,

Adrian Wiszniewski, Sangetta Sandreager and Arlene TextaQueen. In recognition of Dovecot’s

historic association with the inception of Australian Tapestry Workshop and in this year of the

Commonwealth Games, Archie Brennan’s Meadowbank Stadium tapestry also has pride of place.

June 2014

Current Exchanges: Dovecot and the Australian Tapestry Workshop is curated by freelance historic

fashion and textile curator, researcher, writer and editor Ben Divall. His field of research includes

textile trade and interaction, both intra-Asian and between Europe and Asia; interiors, architecture,

decorative arts and authenticity; Asian textiles, particularly South and Southeast Asian;

contemporary textiles; and curatorial practices. Divall has curated previous exhibitions at Dovecot

including Heirlooms in 2011 and Fleece to Fibre in 2013.


On Saturday 2 August from 12.30pm to 1.30pm Dovecot will host an event: David Weir and Antonia

Syme in Conversation, to which all press are invited. Directors of two contemporary tapestry studios

with a longstanding alliance, come together to converse about the history and cultural exchanges

between Dovecot Studios and Australian Tapestry Workshop. To reserve a place, please book at once advertised.

On Wednesday 13 August from 6.30pm to 7.30pm Dovecot will host and event: Current Exchanges

Curators Tour, to which all press are invited. Ben Divall, curator of Current Exchanges for Dovecot,

will talk about the exhibition and the tapestries. To reserve a place, please book at once advertised.

Current Exchanges: Dovecot and the Australian Tapestry Workshop exhibition is part of the

Edinburgh Art Festival 2014 programme.

Also showing:

Craigie Aitchison RA

Paintings, etching and tapestries

Timothy Taylor Gallery and Dovecot Studios present a selected showcase of paintings and etchings

from the estate of Craigie Aitchsion CBE RSA RA (1926-2009), alongside tapestries created by the

Studios in collaboration with the artist, from 5 July to 27 September 2014.

The Aitchison selection highlights the recurring themes of the artist’s work including the Crucifixion

and Bedlington terriers. Aitchison depicted the Crucifixion in his artwork from the 1950s, when his

tutor at The Slade suggested that the subject was “too serious” for him, thus prompting him to

tackle it regularly. Although not pious, Aitchsion was drawn to the spirit and glamour of Catholicism.

One of the tapestry miniatures featured in this show, is a detail recreated in weave from a large

commissioned painting of the same subject. Resolving the design with Dovecot’s weavers, Aitchison

felt that the detail chosen particularly suited the medium of tapestry. This was one of a number of

tapestries made with Aitchison and is the only tapestry design which Aitchison made using this

central theme in his work. It is an open edition and he bought one for his own collection.

Aitchison used a distinctive Mediterranean palette. His expressive ‘cut-out’ iconographic figures and

objects set against a bright coloured background are redolent of the simple clarity of the Trecento

and Quattrocento which he often referred to. Born in Edinburgh in 1926, Aitchison enrolled at the

Slade School of Art in 1952. His work was soon recognised with a solo show at Beaux Arts Gallery in

1956. His reputation grew and this was followed by a solo show at Marlborough Fine Art in 1968, a

retrospective at the Serpentine in 1981, a retrospective at GoMA in Glasgow in 1996 and a solo show

June 2014

at the Royal Academy in 2003. He was elected a Royal Academician in 1988, was awarded the

inaugural Jerwood Prize in 1994 and in 1999 was awarded a CBE for his contribution to British Art.

Aitchison died in London in December 2009. Timothy Taylor Gallery is the representative of his


More information and prices for the Craigie Aitchison works and how to commission a tapestry, can

be obtained from Dovecot.


Notes to editors

1. Founded in 2004, Edinburgh Art Festival is the UK's largest annual celebration of visual art.

Uniquely, the festival offers the chance to experience the best contemporary Scottish artists

in the context of exhibitions of the most important international artists and movements of

the 20th Century and historical periods. Attracting over 250,000 visitors each year, Edinburgh

Art Festival brings together the capital’s leading galleries, museums and artist-run spaces,

alongside new public art commissions by established and emerging artists and an innovative

programme of special events. The vast majority of the festival is free to attend. Further

details at

2. The Glass Onion tapestry will take 4 months to weave and will measure 2 x 1.5 metres. For

more information, images and a press release relating to this project please contact

Press release image:

William Crozier (1930-2011)

Easter Day, 2009

Woven by Douglas Grierson, David Cochrane and Naomi Robertson, Dovecot Studios

Wool and cotton, 244 cm x 183 cm

Image courtesy Dovecot Studios

About Dovecot

Dovecot is a specialist tapestry studios at the heart of a landmark centre for contemporary art,

craft and design based in the centre of Edinburgh.

In August 2008 Dovecot moved to new workshops in a renovated Victorian Swimming Baths on

Infirmary Street in Edinburgh’s Old Town. As well as providing a permanent home for Dovecot’s

tapestry studio, the building also houses two stunning gallery spaces which deliver an

international programme of exhibitions exploring contemporary art, craft and design. Events,

gallery and meeting space rental, café and shop all contribute to making Dovecot a dynamic

creative centre in the city.

Dovecot Studios was originally established in 1912 by the Marquess of Bute; the two founding

weavers from William Morris’ renowned tapestry workshops at Merton Abbey passing on their

skills to successive generations of weavers through a formal apprenticeship scheme that

continues today.

Dovecot’s tapestry studios continue to work to commission, producing tapestries and tufted rugs

for private and public collectors working in collaboration with leading international artists,

designers, curators, architects and specialist interior designers. Recent commissions and projects

June 2014

include work with Peter Blake, Peter Saville, Victoria Crowe, Than Clarke, Nicholas Party and

Alison Watt.

Although Dovecot has evolved through the decades, the studios remain true to William Morris’

ethos of the artist craftsman and unique in its highly creative collaboration between artist,

weaver and commissioner: a potent dialogue that is special to each project, where human

interaction and the hand-made combine to create outstanding tapestry. The list of artists with

whom and for whom the studios worked and continue to work is extraordinarily rich: the British

Library, Scottish Opera, National Museums of Scotland, Kings College Cambridge, PepsiCo’s HQ in

New York, are amongst some of the many collections in which Dovecot tapestry now hangs. The

Dovecot Foundation, a not for profit organisation, has been established to continue to support

and develop the skills of the studios through apprenticeship and an evolving programme of

collaborations with both established and emerging artists and designers.

About Australian Tapestry Workshop

Established in 1976, the Australian Tapestry Workshop is the only tapestry studio of its kind in

Australia. Using the same techniques employed in Europe since the 15th century, the Australian

Tapestry Workshop's skilled weavers work with artists from Australia and overseas, to produce

tapestries that are known for their vibrancy, technical accomplishment and inventive

interpretation. Since its inception, the Workshop's philosophy has been to employ weavers trained

as artists to enable close collaboration with the artists whose work they are interpreting. Many

notable Australian and international artists have collaborated with the Workshop's weavers over the

years including Arthur Boyd, Jon Cattapan, John Olsen, Jorn Utzon, David Noonan and Sally Smart.

To date, the Workshop has created more than 400 tapestries ranging from palm-size to

monumental. They are woven using the finest Australian wool, which is dyed onsite forming

a unique palette of 370 colours. These works hang in significant public and private collections

around the world.

For exhibition enquiries:

For press information and further images:

Lizzie Cowan, Marketing Coordinator

Dovecot Studios

Tel: 0131 550 3660

Please see Dropbox link here to:

Current Exchanges images and image credits

Magne Furuholmen press release

Summer and Craigie Aitchison private view invites

Dovecot Studios

10 Infirmary Street



Tel: 0131 550 3660