Australian Tapestry Workshop - St Michaels Church Collins Street - Melbourne Commission - 2010

St Michael’s unveiled their significant new tapestry. Four years in the creating, Celebrated Light is an abstract wonder of luminous colour and form based of the painting by artist Lara Merrett.

The full force of the shared creative spirit is evident in the new tapestry to be unveiled during Sunday at St Michael’s in the city on June 2oth. The process began with a poem written by Dr Francis Macnab, inspired by his desire to incorporate an important, colourful work of art into the interior of the church. The poem became the inspiration for a painting by emerging young artist Lara Merrett, in fact a series of three paintings, one of which was chosen to be subject of the new tapestry.

“It’s a stunning painting”, said Sarah Lindsay, the studio manager at the Victorian Tapestry Workshop “and we feel the tapestry is a very significant piece, monumental in its visual impact”.

The tapestry took two accomplished weavers, Pamela Joyce and Cheryl Thornton, 16 weeks to complete. Although tapestry is an ancient art form, with major medieval suites on show throughout Europe, this piece is abstract and the Victorian Tapestry Workshop is one of the few remaining commercial operations in the world that works with contemporary themes. A weaver usually trains for over 12 years to achieve the skill required to undertake a project such as this. Pamela Joyce, one of the two weavers who created the tapestry agrees with Sarah Lindsay that it does have an impact beyond its size.

“It was very interesting, knowing the painting was in response to the poem,” she said, “the longer we worked on the piece, we could feel the relationship between them more and more”. Joyce believes the project was benefited by the involvement of the artist especially in the weaver’s response to the colours. “We discovered what we thought was black was actually plum. Lara doesn’t use black, it’s just one example where understanding her colour definition helped us enormously”.

The finished work is substantial and arresting with floating and ambiguous forms connecting against a luminous background. The weavers have beautifully captured the painterly aspect and it is a startlingly bold, brave and energetic piece.

To be known as Celebrated Light, the new tapestry is 150 cm x 150 cm. It has taken four years from Dr Macnab’s decision to commission a colourful addition to St Michael’s to the revealing of the tapestry for the first time on the morning of Sunday, June 20th. Everyone is invited to share in the occasion, one that will have special meaning for everyone involved in the creation of this vibrant and significant work of art.
St Michael’s Uniting Church
120 Collins Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Celebrated Light
© All rights reserved – 2010 Australia

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