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David Larwill- The talk  2002  Wool, cotton, 171.0 x 220.0cm. (Detail)  Weavers:Milena Paplinska, Irja West

This exhibition has been in my diary for months.  I’m such a devoted fan of the Australian Tapestry Workshop.  It was one of the first places to really really excite me when I came to live in Melbourne over 20 years ago.

Their tapestries are produced in a collaboration with contemporary artists. Exquisite care is taken by the weavers in the planning stages, so that the tapestry is as sympathetic to the artists work as possible. (You can see the result, in the painterly quality of this work by David Larwill.)

They maintain the special ‘home grown’ quality of the finished product by using only Australian wool. Their range of 366 colours in wool and 200 colours in cotton is produced on site at their dyeing workshop in South Melbourne. These wools are available to the public for purchase.

All of their weavers are highly trained and adhere to strict guidelines to maintain the unsurpassed quality of the finished work. Their work is reknowned world wide. What can I say?  These tapestries are so so beautifully made and equally so so beautiful to look at. Just scroll down and enjoy them!

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David Larwill- The talk 2002 Wool, cotton, 171.0 x 220.0cm. Weavers: Millena Paplinska, Irja West

This week, in their great wisdom, the Manningham Gallery offered a floor talk by Pamela Joyce, a Tapestry Workshop weaver, to coincide with their exhibition. Pamela talked about the Workshop, the current exhibition and gave a brief weaving demonstration. It was very informative and ‘fleshed out’ the exhibition beautifully.  It’s rekindled my interest in the Workshop and may just have necessitated another visit there, in the not too distant future.

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Arlene Textaqueen – Queen of hearts 2003 Wool, cotton, polyester 77.0 x 57.0cm (Detail) Weaver: Caroline Tully

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Arlene Textaqueen – The playing card series.  Weavers: Hilary Green, Rachel Hine, Caroline Tully

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Ross Moore – Williamstown 1990  Wool, cotton 197.0 x 300.0cm. (Detail) Weavers: Tim Gresham, Joy Smith

These pics represent only a small selection of the work on show.  Other artists represented include Alun Leach-Jones, Gordon Crook, Glenn Morgan, Merrin Eirth Jon Campbell, Mark Schaller, Christine Johnson and Alan Davie. I know I often say this, but the photos here don’t do the work justice. Tapestry and other textiles need to be seen to be fully appreciated.  In this case, the texture, the scale, and depth of the works is mesmerising. Don’t miss this one!

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Ross Moore – Williamstown 1990 Wool, cotton 197.0 x 300.0cm. Weavers: Tim Gresham, Joy Smith

To see a wonderful short documentary about the work of the Australian Tapestry Workshop, with comments from Heide Director Jason Smith, artist Jon Cattapan and Workshop Director Antonia Syme, click on this link.

Exhibition Dates: Wednesday 2nd November- Saturday 19th November.

Manningham Gallery website.

My thanks to the Australian Tapestry Workshop© for allowing me to publish these images and to the Manningham Gallery’s Megan McEvoy for her assistance .