Press Release: Artists Meet their Makers: new exhibition on the art of woven tapestry

West Dean Tapestry Studio is delighted to announce a new exhibition. Artists Meet their Makers which will open at the Crafts Study Centre in Farnham on 4 April 2017 until 1 July. The Studio, established in 1976, has developed an outstanding portfolio of work with leading contemporary artists. The exhibition will shine a light on both artist and Master Weaver with equal intensity and explore how a dialogue and language is established between both parties. Works on display will include commissions with leading contemporary artists Tracey Emin, Michael Brennand-Wood, Basil Beattie, and Henry Moore alongside original work by the Studio's Master Weavers, as well as new pieces by artists Rebecca Salter and Biggs & Collings, both working in tapestry for the first time and commissioned specifically for the show.

"If it were just going to be a colour reproduction I wouldn't be interested," said Moore. "It is because it is a translation from one medium into another and has to be different that you get the surprise… the beauty of tapestry is that it is different, an interpretation, and that is to me the excitement and the pleasure".¹

Transformer is a design for textiles by Michael Brennand-Wood and hand woven in 2012 by Philip Sanderson, Master Weaver at West Dean.

"The constructed aspect of textiles is what interests me, the building of an image. I tend to make everything myself, but this is clearly a different process," says Brennand-Wood who is internationally regarded as one of the most innovative and inspiring artists working in textiles. "At a certain stage, I handed the image over to Philip. I kept thinking it's like handing over the master tapes to be re-mixed. It was really exciting to see how the imagery is interpreted once the weaving begins."

Artists Meet their Makers will be curated by Liz Cooper, contemporary craft curator and project manager with a background in art textiles and a strong grounding in contemporary visual arts. It is hoped that the exhibition will go on tour during 2017.

The Studio has its own dye laboratory to produce bespoke yarns and the exhibition will include tapestry samples, yarns, dye recipe books, notes, original photographs and other reference materials from the Studio archives to cultivate a wider understanding of the traditional craft of hand weaving for visitors.

West Dean Tapestry Studio works with contemporary architects and designers including British designer, Faye Toogood. It also has extensive experience of heritage projects, including The Hunt of the Unicorn a series of seven tapestries based on the 15th century originals held in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and commissioned by Historic Scotland. The biggest weaving project undertaken in the UK for 100 years involved 18 international weavers and took 13 years to complete in 2015.

The second West Dean Tapestry Symposium takes place on 19 April. Speakers will be announced in the New Year.


Notes to editors

  • ¹Tapestry: Henry Moore and West Dean, catalogue for an exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, August1980.
  • Liz Cooper.
  • Crafts Study Centre, Farnham is a specialist university museum open to the public as well as a research centre and home to internationally renowned collections of modern British craft.
  • Eva Rothschild, a leading sculptor was chosen from 150 artists UK-wide as the winner of the Studio's Tapestry Commission Open Call 2016. The work is scheduled to begin development in November at West Dean and news on the project's progress will be included in the new show.
  • West Dean Tapestry Studio is part of The Edward James Foundation, a charitable trust which also comprises West Dean College, West Dean Gardens and the West Dean Estate. Charity No. 1126084.
  • All photography is copyright free to use for editorial purposes.

Media Contact Information

For further information, high-resolution digital images of filming opportunities contact

Irene Caswell, Senior Media Officer, +44 (0)1243 811301


West Dean College, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 OQZ