Friday, 17 March 2017

Dovecot Studio Edinburgh

As promised, here's a review of the inspiring Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh.  The studios are housed in an iconic Edinburgh building which used to house the Infirmary Street Baths.  The studios house an exhibition gallery, shop, cafe and a huge workshop area that is open to public viewing at certain times so that you can watch the artists at work.

There was only one person working while I was there but there was a wonderful atmosphere walking around the gallery and looking down onto the workspace.  The large groups of cones were so inspiring and I would have loved to have scooped up the waste to use in my own weaving.  I wonder if they would have missed a cone or two?  Sadly I would have had to abseil down to snaffle one.

This tapestry above is being made for a commission to The Perse School which I think is in Cambridge.     I think the method being used is tufting where the wool is fixed into the rug by use of a pneumatic gun.  The tufts are then trimmed to length (cut pile).

At the empty looms it was possible to see the cartoons and preparations made for the tapestries.

These bunches are used to test out the colours and blends in an approximation to how they will look in a piece of work.

This exhibition piece seems particularly relevant these days.  Regrettably my phone didn't capture the maker's name.

Down the staircase was a large weaving made as a site-specific project.

I was really tired by the time I got to the studios but the visit was stimulating and well worth the effort.  If you're in Edinburgh and in any way interested in weaving or tapestry it is well worth going.  The building has its own beauty and while it hasn't been a tapestry studio for many years it has a great sense of history and is a beautiful building in its own right.  Until 1 July there is an exhibition in the gallery focussing on the apprentices of the studio.  It was interesting to see how some techniques had evolved over the decades.

The photos are all from my phone so apologies if they are not clear.

Back soon with more Edinburgh sights and a visit to the Rosslyn Chapel.


Robin Mac said...

Fascinating Julie. I have never done any weaving, but I have enjoyed watching your progress over the last few years.My Dad used to make rag rugs when I was a child, a primitive version of the tufted rug you showed in a photo.

Gina said...

What a fascinating place . I can't claim to know anything about weaving but I'm sure I'd enjoy a visit to those studios. The Perse is indeed in Cambridge.

Heather said...

I can understand how fascinating your visit was for you. I have no plans to do weaving myself but love to see how others go about it. Your photos captured the atmosphere and activities so well. Thanks for taking the trouble to share them with us.

sharon young said...

What a fabulous post, Julie, I did a bit of weaving at college, but got frustrated with the amount of time it took to complete even a small sample! So nice to read a blog post for a change instead of the instant quick flick through on a FB post.

Emma said...

It's a fabulous site isn't it? I'm looking forward to my visit to Edinburgh in June

Margaret Cooter said...

These studios are definitely on my list for my next visit to Edinburgh. I've seen the work they've produced, here and there ... wonderful stuff.