West Dean Tapestry Studio Collaborate with Michael Brennand-Wood
| Original design by Michael Brennand-Wood|
At the Crafts Council’s annual Collect exhibition at London’s Saatchi Gallery (11- 14 May), the Bluecoat Display Centre (stand no 7.3, Gallery 7, First Floor) will be exhibiting a collaboration between the artist Michael Brennand-Wood and the West Dean Tapestry Studio.
This unique commission sees Michael’s Transformer design translated into tapestry by Philip Sanderson, the Creative Director of the West Dean Tapestry Studio. This project has been made possible through West Dean’s Collaborative Fund, which was set up in 2011 with money from the Ashley Family Foundation to support collaborative projects between the Tapestry Studio and established or up-and-coming artists. The money raised from sales of the tapestries will be reinvested in the Fund to help finance further works. The Fund’s ultimate aim is to ensure this ancient craft inspires a new generation of artists to work with tapestry as a creative medium.
Michael’s original design is in response to the Bluecoat Display Centre’s overall theme for 2012 ‘the heroic’. Michael Brennand-Wood: "A tapestry is frequently woven from an existing artist’s drawing or painting. I thought it would be interesting to challenge that model, and see what would happen if a textile talked to a textile? I tend to make everything myself, but this time I had to hand the image over to Philip Sanderson, the weaver, for him to interpret the work into the woven form. It's a bit like handing over the master tapes to be re-mixed. My cartoon (from which the tapestry is woven), was in many ways, exactly that, a comic book character, born from a fusion of various textile components. Increasingly the image reminded me of a playing card; I wanted to create a heroic character, one that might save my world. There's a quality of detail in tapestry that's unique, it's been a real joy to see how Philip has enhanced the initial design. I feel like I'm seeing my work in another dimension.”
Philip Sanderson: "Working collaboratively with Michael has offered me and the Studio a great opportunity to get involved in a project which pushes the boundaries of the work we usually do. The design has developed through discussions between artist and maker and an image has emerged which offers both parties a new way of working within the medium of tapestry weaving. The tapestry incorporates techniques which gives a more three-dimensional and physical quality to the tapestry which is rarely explored in Studio weaving. The raised surfaces create a sense of spontaneity that works in contrast to the more traditional approach to translating an image. The tapestry has been a very different challenge but a hugely enjoyable one.”
Philip Sanderson studied at both Middlesex University and the Royal College of Art before taking up the position of Creative Director at the West Dean Tapestry Studio. Sanderson has designed tapestries for numerous clients, most famously the New Parliamentary Buildings in Westminster. His tapestry ‘Nr. The Cheesewring’ was exhibited and sold at Collect in 2009.
Michael Brennand-Wood visual artist, curator, lecturer, arts consultant. Michael is internationally regarded as one of the most innovative and inspiring artists working in textiles. He has persistently worked within contested areas of textile practice, embroidery, pattern, lace and recently floral imagery. Examples of Michaels work can be seen in major public, corporate and private collections worldwide including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa and National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.