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Exhibition of Irish Collaborative Tapestry (Timelines)

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Aras an Chontae

Roscommon County Council

Ardnanagh

Roscommon

Ireland

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This project has been described by Joan Baxter as

"unique in that although many tapestries have been collaboratively woven, I don't know of any where both design and making are collaborations. The idea was that the 10 participants would each draw a line that represented their life between the winter solstice of 2012 and the summer solstice 2013. We met for five days in October 2013 when the 10 lines were assembled together into a composition and colours were chosen. We all wove samples to indicate how we would like our own line to be interpreted and we also started weaving the tapestry so everyone was able to thoroughly familiarise themselves with weaving on a big loom. Throughout this time there was a great deal of discussion about every aspect of the project. From then on participants were able to come and weave, two or three at a time, whenever they could.

The group that created this tapestry is made up of experienced tapestry weavers. I first encountered this group when I came over to Ireland to give them a workshop. I quickly understood that they felt isolated from the mainstream tapestry world and some lacked confidence in their skills. Although they wanted me to return the following year, I felt I didn't have all that much more technical material to teach them and that I needed to find a project that would challenge whilst addressing the confidence and isolation issues.

I intended this project to be both a design experiment and a way of introducing experienced solo tapestry weavers to the very special skills involved in collaborative weaving. Since Ireland has no commercial tapestry studio those skills are not available to local tapestry weavers.

Through the technical and interpretive knowledge shared on the loom and the building of trust between the weavers, we were able to create a powerful collective statement. It has been expressed as a letting go of the personal and particular in favour of the integrity of the whole. A very fine line to tread.'

This project is funded and supported by Roscommon County Council.

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Aras an Chontae

Roscommon County Council

Ardnanagh

Roscommon

Ireland

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