Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Weaving the Century 1912-2012: Dovecot Studios, Edinburgh

*** update 18th August 2012

16th August 2012

On a second visit to the Dovecot Studios, we completed the ground floor having missed a Hockney inspired tapestry; as well as the Sutherland, noting his comments on specifying the colours for the tapestry. 

The staircase to the top floor is worthy of comment.  The railing is on the right hand side as the stair climbs, and the Dovecot Studios have woven a fishing net from top to bottom in a spiral around the square sided staircase.  The railing also has the original studs from the days when the building was used as a public baths and swimming pool complex.  My father took me swimming as a child to this building.

I have included some photographs of the staircase taken looking down from the top.  I could make out the spiral lines, the fishing nets and the square sided stair on my peripheral vision.  This is both a tactile experience and if you have some peripheral vision, a very interesting and appropriate dressing of a stairway by the Dovecot Studio for their Weaving the Century exhibition.

The café is quite popular and is as delightful as usual.   The staff recognised us from last year.  The gallery staff are very helpful if you have any problems in locating any of the tapestries I have noted.

Additional notes:

Monarch of the Glen
Peter Saville after Sir Peter Blake after Edwin Landseer 2012
Cotton warp, wool

Sunset over Corrib
Douglas Grierson
Cotton warp, wool

Could make out rhombuses, very colourful

Untitled Series
Peter Blake
Cotton warp, wool, cotton

4 squares: roundel, rainbow, 5 pointed star and a heart

Untitled Rug
William Crozier

5 vertical bands, colours: orange, blue, pink, yellow

Cosmic Spiral
Alan Davie
Cotton warp, wool, cotton, linen

Circles within circles, stars

Clapham Concerto
John Bellany
Cotton warp, wool

Bright yellow, people sitting round a table, man in front – Janus like effect

A Tapestry made from a Painting made from a Painting of a Tapestry made from a Painting (Play within a Play)
after David Hockney

Form against Leaves 2nd edition
Graham Sutherland
Cotton warp, wool

Gave detailed instructions for colouring, probably due to experience of designing the Christ in Glory tapestry in Coventry Cathedral – said to have spent many weeks at French Pinton Feres studio selecting wool colours himself.

*** end of update

4th August 2012

The Dovecot Studios are in Infirmary Street and the access has been much improved from last summer.  The help and information desk is where you might expect to run into it.  The staff offered information on large print guides and I found my contact extremely helpful.  I now have the programme and as the café is still highly rated (I liked it last year, going twice http://profwhitestick.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/anton-henning-exhibition-at-talbot-rice.html) I will be back to explore more.  I have also heard good reports on a metal crafts and jewellery exhibition.  

This was my first visit to Weaving the Century, which is “the first major Dovecot tapestry exhibition to be presented in Scotland for over thirty years.”  The exhibition is curated by Dr Elizabeth Cumming and has over 60 exhibits from various collections. 

Over the years, Dovecot has collaborated with many well-known artists and the exhibition brings “together work from many of these artists” including David Hockney, Paul Gauguin, Elizabeth Blackadder, and Cecil Beaton among others.  It is on show over 3 galleries and we went round 2 of them. 

Stairway dressed with a fishing net - interwoven with staircase over 3 floors
Dovecot studios - former Infirmary Baths
16 August 2012
© Prof Whitestick

The weaving is accessible to me now that I have found out more, especially at the Bauhaus exhibition in London.  The art works are varied in materials used such as cotton and wool.   The items are beautifully lit and though a few have cordons it is possible to get up close.  I could swear that many of them were paintings as the lines are so clear. 

It may be that modern textile dyes and lakes are so much more colour clear than many tapestries of older times.  I have had problems in making much of Boucher tapestries though this could be on account of the lighting.  The examples on show in the Dovecot Studios are vivid and beautifully presented. 

My initial notes are shown for some of the pieces that I liked.  

Notes of First Visit

Coat of Arms of Elizabeth, The Queen Mother
Stephen Gooden c1950

I recognised the arms of the late Queen Mother with the heraldic pun or canting device on the her family name- Bowes Lyon.  The 2 quarters of bows and quarters stood out as did her husband’s arms.  Appropriate for her birthday. This is a painting!

Light and Day (Aether and Hemera)
Nadia Benois 1955
Vivid, very clear lines

St Luke
Sax Shaw 1954

Marine Still Life 1949
Edward Wadsworth
Statue of liberty points – points of a compass?
I could make out many shapes in this interesting piece with almost a sculpture aspect. The head of the famous Statue of Liberty came into my mind as it is often shown and I climbed to the viewing platform at the top in the 1980s. (This is a schema for memorising a piece of artwork.)

The Risen Christ
Sally Pritchard (Sadie McLellan) 1961
Looks like illuminated manuscript
This remark is made having viewed many images on my lap top from the recent British Library exhibition.

Harold Cohen
Abstract, bottom left hand corner clear lines

Robert Stewart
Book ended, circular piece, spectrum of coloured lines (shades of grey to black)

After Black Disc on Tan
Adolph Gottlieb
Black circle, white splodge on red background

At a Window VII
(The Spotted Dress) 1980
Archie Brennan
Right arm along window
This reminds me of many of the portraits with angular arms and right angles.  It is well lit and a really stunning piece with so much detail to discover when continuing to follow clear lines.  A real composition with a story.

Dovecot studios: www.dovecotstudios.com