Internationally Renowned Professional Tapestry Studio
During the Covid-19 lockdown, West Dean Tapestry Studio relocated to the kitchen or loft space of each weaver, and weaving continued - albeit on a much smaller scale. Studio Weaver Emma Straw has created a series of small tapestries inspired directly by the Empress of the Insects project that she was working on in the Tapestry Studio before the lockdown. The Tapestry is a translation of a drawing by Edward James, The Empress of the Insects at her Midsummer Night’s Ball created by James in 1983, the year before his death at 77.
Emma has selected elements of the drawing, specifically the eyes that adorn the Empress's dress, as the theme for this series of small tapestries. The production of the work has been captured in this time lapse (see below gallery).
These tapestries are for sale and can be viewed on our Tapestries for sale page.
Eva Rothschild, a leading sculptor and artist-in-residence at the College during 2017-18 collaborated with tutor and Studio Leader, Philip Sanderson at the West Dean Tapestry Studio. The result of the collaboration was her first tapestry, The Fallowfield, which was acquired by Tate in 2019 and part of the Tate Britain Exhibition Walk Through British Art: 60 Years. It was also on show at Collect 2018.
Eva is primarily known as a sculptor, although she has always engaged with ways of making associated with textiles, most specifically weaving and rug making, and has a longstanding interest in the ways that artists have engaged with textile making. This commission, coordinated by Studio Leader, Philip Sanderson, gave Rothschild the opportunity to learn the principles of tapestry weaving with expert tutorage in the professional studio. Learning these principles has informed the final design which was woven by master weavers. The collaboration began following our Tapestry Open Call in 2016, possibly the first of its kind in the UK.
The Fallowfield is pictured below.