Guest post by Guild Committee Member Muriel Beckett (www.murielbeckett.ie).
In 2012 weaver Pascale De Coninck invited Joan Baxter to her wonderful studio in Midleton, Co. Cork to give a series of tapestry workshops. Building on the success of this workshop and the enthusiasm of the group, Joan returned this year for a follow up five day event.
Joan is a very experienced tapestry weaver based in the highlands of Scotland, she studied at the tapestry department at the Edinburgh College of Art in the 1970’s, then at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts in Poland, followed by a periods working at the West Dean Tapestry Workshop, Dovecot Studios and The Victorian Tapestry Workshop in Australia. Joan then set up her own studio in England before finally moving to Scotland.
Joan works with groups in Scotland, England, Denmark, and now Ireland. She also travels to America giving workshops. The results of previous collaborations between the European groups have recently been on display at The Blue Egg Gallery in Wexford entitled Sand Journeys/Sea Journeys. The images can be seen on the Gallery’s Facebook page.
At this year’s workshop we were working on a very specific project. During the summer each of the nine participants created a “timeline”, that is a line to represent our life between the Winter solstice of 2012 and the Summer solstice of 2013. Some were pencil drawings , some painted lines, or in one case a line made using paper collage. During the workshop we worked on amalgamating these lines, weaving samples of how each of us saw our lines being translated from paper to woven tapestry as part of a two metre wide finished piece.
A large tapestry loom had already been warped up, we agreed on a final design, colour-ways, drew up a cartoon and made a good start on weaving with three people working together side by side at any one time. We used fine yarns from Weavers Bazaar, mixing and blending multiple strands together and experimenting with Joan’s own great range of colours which she dyes herself. Weaving will continue now beyond the formal ending of the workshop.
During the week Joan gave a number of presentations which gave great insights into her inspiring work,samples which can be seen on her website http://www.joanbaxter.com
Muriel Beckett, December 2013.