Tapestry Commission Open Call

West Dean Tapestry Studio is pleased to announce the only open call tapestry commission in the UK for 2016.

This is an exceptional opportunity for artists working in any discipline to propose a tapestry to be hand-woven by Master Weavers at the West Dean Tapestry Studio. We invite artists to propose bold and imaginative ideas, no experience of working with tapestry is necessary.

West Dean Tapestry Studio specialises in contemporary design and weaving using traditional techniques. The Master Weavers are dedicated to working closely with artists and have developed an outstanding portfolio of work, including previous commissions from Tracey Emin, Martin Creed, John Piper, Eileen Agar, Basil Beattie, and Henry Moore.

Applications have now closed for the Tapestry Commission Open Call.
Shortlisting is underway and the winner will be announced on 3 October 2016.

The Opportunity

Artists working in any medium are invited to propose a design or concept for a tapestry to be woven by Master Weavers at the West Dean Tapestry Studio. This opportunity includes a three-week residency at West Dean College which will enable the successful applicant to work closely with the Master Weavers to expand their knowledge of the weaving process and develop the final design. The residency can be taken in one three-week block or over a period of up to three months. At the end of the development stage the Master Weavers will weave the tapestry.


Simon Martin, Co-Director, Pallant House Gallery
Helen Turner, Curatorial Assistant, Cass Sculpture Foundation
Master Weavers at West Dean Tapestry Studio
Alison Baxter, Head of Creative Enterprise, West Dean College
Sarah Hughes, Artist

How to Enter

  • A maximum 400-word proposal
  • A 200-word artist statement
  • A current CV
  • Five images of your work (files no larger than 500kb)
  • Link to website
  • An entry fee of £10 per application

'West Dean work in the most traditional way and it totally lent itself to my images. They are incredibly sympathetic and intuitive and understanding towards the colours and forms in my work. I am delighted with the work done in translating my work to the woven form.'

Tracey Emin

Key Dates

  • 1 June 2016: Open Call Commission Launch
  • 1 September 2016: Deadline for entries 5pm
  • Shortlisted artists must be available for interview during the week commencing September 19th
  • 3 October 2016: Winner announced
  • October-December 2016: Research and development period. 3-week residency
  • January - June 2017: Weaving of Tapestry


  • Artists working in any medium
  • An individual or collaborative practice
  • Artists must be 18 or over
  • Currently based in UK
  • Resident in the UK for at least 3-years
  • This opportunity is not open to students in full-time education
  • Please contact Alison Baxter (Head of Creative Enterprise)

Terms and Conditions

  • The successful applicant will give two presentations as part of the commission - one at the beginning of the residency period and another at the end of the project.
  • The successful application will write a blog post outlining the development of the project.
  • The artist will own and have intellectual property rights of the tapestry, with the option of storing and exhibiting the finished work in West Dean Tapestry Studio. This will be available for external exhibitions when required.
  • The West Dean Tapestry Studio will retain all samples of works. Intellectual copyright will remain with the artist.
  • The tapestry must be available for sale, with 50% commission.
  • The artist retains copyright of the work.
  • Images of work in progress and the final tapestry are available to be used on social media by West Dean Tapestry Studio and West Dean College.
  • The studio will credit all photographs with the artist's name, the title of the work and the name of the photographer.

"Working with the Tapestry Studio at West Dean College was an absolute pleasure. The master weavers translated my vision into a beautiful piece of art and the attention to detail is unparalleled."

Faye Toogood


Tapestry commissioned by Faye Toogood. Titled: Play, 2014. Hand-woven by Katharine Swailes, Master Weaver at West Dean Tapestry Studio © Faye Toogood.
Play in-situ at Milan Design Week.
Tracey Emin Tapestry Commissions. Titled (from left to right) Thank you, Keeping you in mind, Rose Virgin and In the dark. Exhibited at the Turner Contemporary Margate.
West Dean Tapestry Studio. Tapestry commissioned by Faye Toogood. Title Super Jumbo. Bedroom image credit: Tobias Harvey.
Martin Creed, Work No1683, 2013 Hauser and Wirth Gallery, New York. Hand-woven at West Dean Tapestry Studio © Martin Creed
Basil Beattie attending the cutting-off of his tapestry, woven by Katharine Swailes, Master Weaver at West Dean Tapestry Studio 2015.
Master Weavers Caron Penney and Philip Sanderson weaving Tracey Emin, Black Cat 2010
Cass Sculpture Foundation
Pallant House Gallery

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