Press Release: Shortlist announced West Dean Tapestry Commission Open Call 2016

View work by shortlisted artists and download high res images here.

Judges at West Dean Tapestry Studio have announced the shortlist for the first ever Tapestry Commission Open Call. Over 150 artists, based in the UK and working in different disciplines, submitted a design or concept to be handwoven by Master Weavers at the internationally renowned Studio. It was established 40 years ago and specialises in contemporary design using traditional hand-weaving techniques.

"We were delighted to receive around 150 entries from artists all over the UK, from the Isle of Skye to the Isle of Wight," said Alison Baxter, Head of Creative Enterprise, West Dean College. "The quality and diversity of designs submitted is highly rewarding. It is very exciting to widen the access to traditional textile arts for artists from different disciplines, thereby enriching our cultural fabric".

The shortlisted artists in alphabetical order are:

  1. Katja Angeli, a recent Royal College of Art, MFA graduate. Katja was selected for New Contemporaries 2016, and lives and works in London.
  2. Fiona Curran, Manchester School of Art, MA and currently PhD candidate at The Slade School of Fine Art. Fiona is Senior Tutor in Mixed Media Textiles at the Royal College of Art.
  3. Rebecca Lennon, Fine Art (Media), Slade School of Art, MFA. Rebecca works with video, sound, text and installation and designed her first tapestry last year following an EMARE Residency in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, in 2012 and an ACE residency in Mexico City in 2013.
  4. David Musgrave, Chelsea College of Art and Design, BA Hons Fine Art. David explores image making using diverse forms and materials. He has exhibited at Tate and is included in the permanent collection.
  5. Eva Rothschild, Goldsmith's College, MA Fine Art. Sculptor Eva was awarded the Tate Britain Duveens Commission (2009) and the Children's Commission at Whitechapel Art Gallery (2012).
  6. Sarah Staton, Central Saint Martins School of Art. Sarah is Senior Tutor in Sculpture at the Royal College of Art. Her work is in the permanent collection of the Tate Gallery.
  7. Ian Whittlesea, Chelsea College of Art and the Royal College, London. Ian's work uses the lives and words of other artists as source material and assumes many forms: from painstaking text paintings to printed books, ephemeral posters and transient projections.

The winning artist will be announced on Monday 3 October and will spend a three-week residency at the internationally renowned West Dean College working closely with Master Weavers expanding their knowledge of the handweaving process to develop the final design which will be woven in 2017. The residency will also offer the opportunity to work closely with the Visual Arts department and engage in lively academic discourse around skills-based making within contemporary art.

The shortlist of seven artists was drawn up by a panel of three selectors at the Studio with specialist knowledge of woven tapestry; Philip Sanderson and Katharine Swailes, Master Weavers, and Alison Baxter, Head of Creative Enterprise. The guest selectors are Simon Martin, Pallant House Gallery; Helen Turner, Cass Sculpture Foundation; and Sarah Hughes, artist. The Open Call panel welcomed bold and imaginative proposals from artists working in any medium. Previous experience of working with tapestry was not a requirement.

West Dean Tapestry Studio specialises in commissions from contemporary artists and has built up a strong reputation for their interpretive skills when translating work into hand woven tapestries. The studio has developed an outstanding portfolio, including commissions from Tracey Emin, Martin Creed, John Piper, Eileen Agar, Basil Beattie, and Henry Moore.

For details on commissioning a tapestry contact West Dean Tapestry Studio on +44 (0)1243 818233.


Notes to editors

  • 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.
  • West Dean College, founded by Edward James in 1971, is internationally renowned for teaching in Conservation of historic objects and Creative Arts.
  • The completed Open Call tapestry will be available for sale.
  • 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 818301


West Dean College, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 OQZ