Hebden Bridge Arts Festival


Dusty and dull?
Not these tapestry jewels

June 26, 2006

Think tapestry and you probably think of heavy old hangings in stately homes. But the work on show in Hebden Bridge next month is anything but stately.

In the first ever exhibition by the British Tapestry Group, 31 artists from around the country will be showing the huge range of techniques, themes and materials being used in contemporary tapestry and weaving.

Jennie Moncur’s tapestry combines images from both the natural and the man-made world. She weaves by hand in wool, mohair, linen, silk and cotton yarns.

“We are all used to seeing large, often dull tapestries in stately homes. These were produced almost on an industrial scale by weavers, from paintings and drawings,” says Ros Bryant, Chair of the British Tapestry Group, which formed last year to promote tapestry weaving.

”Today’s tapestry weavers do the whole process, from initial idea and drawings to weaving the tapestry. They develop their work on the loom rather than simply reproducing a painted design.”

And the stunning results range from miniature fine jewel-like pieces to dramatic and colourful wall hangings.

“It’s wonderful that the Tapestry Group has chosen to debut their work at the Hebden Bridge Arts Festival,” says festival organiser Enid Stephenson. “We’re getting a reputation for pioneering new work – from art and crafts to music and drama.”

Carol Dunbar took the working journal kept by her grandfather, a professional gardener, as the starting point for this large tapestry. The circular form reflects the natural cycle of the gardening year, and its formal structure emphasises cultivation over wilderness.

The exhibition is at the Canalside Gallery, Machpelah Works, Burnley Road in Hebden Bridge from July 1 to July 15, 10am to 4pm.

The Hebden Bridge Arts Festival opens from July 1 with two days of street entertainment. As well as exhibitions of textiles, photography, painting and drawing, the festival includes theatre, dance, music from around the world and children’s events.

Programmes and booking forms are available from the festival office on Albert Street, Hebden Bridge or by calling 01422 842684. Details and regular news bulletins can also of course be found here at

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