Katherine Swailes & Caron Penney: Tapestry Exhibition & Workshop


Katharine Swailes and Caron Penney will be exhibiting at Zimmer Stewart Gallery  June 6 – 27th 2015. They both travelled repeatedly to New York City over a twelve year period whilst working on a large commission. During this influential time both artists were inspired by the urban landscape, street architecture, museum collections and natural environment. Mapping this journey through photography, note taking and sketches to their resulting work in woven textiles.

 ‘Manhattan’ is the beginning of a new chapter for both the artists, one which has involved shedding the past and emerging into new avenues.

 Swailes has created textiles for over 20 years, specifically working in tapestry for the last two decades. She specialises in both conventional flat wall works and smaller three-dimensional, sculptural pieces – as well as weaving large scale commissions at West Dean Tapestry Studio. Swailes is interested in the constructively open ended nature of the medium.

 Recent works explore the textures, systems and structure of Central Manhattan – using a limited palette of techniques, materials and colour. The inclusion of gold thread offers a contrast in structure to the natural fibres of cotton, linen and wool. This latest series of works draws on the collections in museums, the parks and streets of Manhattan.

 Penney has also been producing tapestries for over 20 years and is a Master Tapestry Weaver. As well as working on high-profile commissions for the West Dean Tapestry Studio and her own Weftfaced Tapestry Workshop, Penney is a prolific exhibition-led weaver in her own right. ‘A defining characteristic of her oeuvre as an artist is the use of visual semiotics in expressing autobiographical themes’ (from Tapestry, A Woven Narrative: Black Dog Publishing 2012).

 SeventhAvenueDuskPenney uses references to the street architecture, structural comparisons between the warp and weft and the gridded road systems in New York City. The colour red establishes a sense of separation within a dominant monochromatic palette which is repeated throughout Penney’s work.

 Both Caron Penney and Katharine Swailes have worked on large scale commissions for established artists such as Tracey Emin (Black Cat was exhibited at Collect and Frieze in 2011), Martin Creed and Gillian Ayres (Tirra Lirra will be exhibited at Collect in 2015). They also reproduced seven tapestries of the 16th century “Hunt of the Unicorn” series of tapestries for Stirling Castle.

 During the exhibition Swailes and Penney will be inviting participants (of all levels) to one of two Creative Workshops at Arundel Museum on 6 & 20 June.

Tapestry Workshop
Caron Penney and Katharine Swailes are running a new tapestry weaving workshop at Arundel Museum. The class is open to both beginners, intermediate and master weavers. You will have the opportunity to learn new and experimental techniques. You can also focus on progressing your work into new directions, or untangle problem areas. Katharine Swailes will be focusing on the techniques she uses in her own work. Caron Penney will focus on techniques she uses in interpreting the work of artists.

DSE_4873Both weavers are exhibiting their latest work at the Zimmer Stewart Gallery during June. Part of this course includes joining both Katharine and Caron in a private viewing of this exhibition on the 6th and 20th June 2015.

Times: 10.30 – 16.00 and 16.30 – 18.00 Private View at Zimmer Stewart Gallery.

Text/ images Zimmer Stewart Gallery and the artists’ own.


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