Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cutting Off the Community Tapestry

The community tapestry, woven for the Dorothy Impey Aged Care Home, was officially cut off the loom today.
There was quite a crowd there, to witness the event.

Susie, Fi and Julie.

It was a sad and happy occasion.  There was sadness because of all the work that has gone into it, the feeling of community, the wonderful learning that was possible, and the ending of a long endeavour.
It was also sad as tapestry weaving is being phased out of the new textile course and it doesn't look like that similar community tapestries will be woven at RMIT in the near future.

However, it was also an exciting day, to see the culmination of all the planning and weaving.  Heather Gray, the CEO of the Dorothy Impey Aged Care Home, was very emotional.  She spoke of the memories that had been shared by the older people who had had some input with the designers of the four tapestries, of the connections between the current home and the local community and the historical connections, and of the immense value of the tapestries to the community at the home.
Heather Gray

 She mentioned one person who had arrived on the ship depicted in one of the tapestries. The site has been a migrant hostel, a munitions factory during World War 2 and a textile school.
Glennis with her design, the one with the ship that brought one of the aged persons to Australia.

It was also exciting to see the first two weavings revealed.  They had been rolled down and have not been visible for several months now.
The first two woven.

The work was beautiful.  It was interesting to see it as a floppy fabric rather than a stiff one, on the loom.  I am always surprised by the difference once it is off the loom.

Heather and Julie cutting off two of the works.

Susie and Cresside cutting off at the bottom of the top two pieces.

Susie and Joy cutting off the first two works, representing the textile school and the current aged care facility.

Congratulations to Julie Paul, Glennis Leary and Fi Brown, who designed the suite.  Extra congratulations to Julie Paul who managed the schedule of who would be there and when.  Susie Carstairs provided a lot of technical assistance with both the weaving and the loom.  Congratulations to Cresside Collette also, for her overseeing of the work.

From my own perspective, it was an invaluable experience to work on it, even though I only worked a small amount.  We had the chance to experience techniques and solve problems that we would not come across in our own, smaller, pieces.  It was also good to be able to work under instruction and not have to worry about the design or mixing the colours.  We just had to do as we were told and when we struck problems there was someone there immediately to solve them. It was also a good chance to meet other weavers in a very concentrated but relaxing experience.

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