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Tapestry Weaving – A Universe


Tapestry Weaving – A Universe beyond the everyday.

Presented by Valerie Kirk Saturday, May 15, 2021, 10 am PDT

Online Presentation via Zoom

Admission: Free to TAC Members, $5 Students and members of FAMSF, $10 General Admission.

Purchase tickets here TAC members will be automatically registered!


While studying at Edinburgh College of Art, Tapestry Department, technique was presented as a means to an end and could be personalised to work with concept, image and construction. Drawing was encouraged and considered important as a discipline and way of making ideas tangible. Through five years of deep immersion in the medium and experimentation with personal ways of working, I found my life-long passion and a creative space beyond everyday concerns.

For me, tapestry is a place where I can best express my place in the world, in time and in relationship to my environment through tactile sensibilities in a dense constructed fabric.

French painter and tapestry designer, Jean Lurçat led a 20th Century revival in tapestry and he stated: “Well, it is . . . a coarse, vigorous organic fabric . . . It is heavy with matter and heavy with meaning. But it is more, it is heavy with intentions. It is this which secures its magnificence ……” Tapestry demands full commitment from the design development through every pass of weft over warp, to the finished work. From this there is a density that comes from focused attention to detail in the weaving, making an object that embodies all that the artist weaver transfers into the work – their skills, ideas, sensibilities, aesthetic, thoughts and ideas.

Valerie Kirk completed a degree and post graduate studies in art, design and woven tapestry at Edinburgh College of Art, Scotland. The College awarded her the HRH Prince Charles Award and the Helen Rose Bequest Award.

As a graduate she travelled to Australia to produce commissioned tapestries as part of the team at the Victorian (now Australian) Tapestry Workshop. She then worked for the Crafts Council of Australia travelling the country to teach in Indigenous communities, schools, colleges and universities and worked as an artist-in-residence, leading community tapestry projects. During this time her work in tapestry and drawing was exhibited internationally. She is an artist and tapestry weaver, writer, teacher and public figure who has made a significant contribution internationally. While actively maintaining her practice as an artist, Valerie’s remarkable capacity for achievement has been seen in her research on Australian Indigenous textiles, her direction of significant projects, her position as guest lecturer on international textile tours and her creation of major works.

From 1990-2017 she was a Senior Lecturer and Head of Textiles at the Australian National University and between 2004-2019 the university commissioned her to design and weave six major tapestries to celebrate Nobel/Japan/Kyoto Prizes in Science.

Recently she exhibited in “So Fine” at the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, Australia and Project Baa Baa, Ireland. Awards such as the Australia Council New Work grant, ACT Creative Arts Fellowship, Muse Arts Woman of the Year Award and the Canberra Centenary Community Tapestry project mark substantial success and her artwork can be seen in collections nationally and internationally.

Image Credits: 1. Floating Fossil, Tapestry, Valerie Kirk. Courtesy of Valerie Kirk. 2. On the loom: Floating Fossil tapestry. Courtesy of Valerie Kirk.


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