Emma Straw Tapestry at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation

Finalist for Prestigious Australian Tapestry Award

by Emma Straw, MA Visual Arts student

Every two years the Australian Tapestry Workshop announces an open call, The Kate Derum and Irene Davies Award for Emerging Tapestry Artists. When the award was announced earlier this year I had just completed the Creative Research Strategies module on the MA Visual Arts programme here at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation; the research module gave me access to the extensive Edward James Archive, introducing me to photo albums, maps, poetry and huge collections of writings. Since arriving at West Dean my studio practice has focused on attempting to weave imagery created by a fluid material; inks, paints and dyes - so the marbled papers in the Archive were an instant draw.

After creating my own marbled papers, fabric and books, it made perfect sense to weave one of the images. This resulted in 61 Hours Unfolding Time, a tapestry woven in wool and cotton, dyed here in the Tapestry Studio and woven in 61 hours in the Visual Arts studio, the tapestry formed part of my Creative Research modules exhibition in April.

It was from this marbled imagery that I decided to enter the Australian Tapestry Workshops open call, much smaller than 61 Hours, only taking a couple of days to weave, the 30x30cm tapestry, Marbled Tapestry, uses the same colour palette, warp and weft setting and similar shape, line and blend within its imagery.

After submitting an online application, the tapestry was chosen for the Irene Davies Emerging Artists Award and on June 18th landed safely in Australia, awaiting showing at the Australian Tapestry Workshop, with the private view on July 16th.

I am super pleased that my tapestry has been selected for the exhibition and that I am a finalist for the award, I would not of had the confidence to apply to the open call without the support from fellow students and tutors within the Visual Arts programme.

Emma's work will be exhibited at SEE, a free exhibition at Artgame in Margate, taking place 20-28 July 2019.
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