Dewsbury-based Shirley Ross studied at the Royal College of Art. In 2005 she was one of five Yorkshire weavers who came together in Heptonstall to discuss how British tapestry weaving could be rescued from its then state of decline. The outcome was the formation of the British Tapestry Group, now with hundreds of members, not only in the UK but around the world.
Shirley is exhibiting her monumental work On the Shoulders of Giants at Fabric of the North; here you can see it in the process of being hung. This is just one of the many superb tapestries which will fill Kirkleatham Museum until the end of January.
Many of the participating artists in Fabric of the North are helping set up the displays of their own and other weavers' work. Here we see Leeds-based new-materials artist Jane Walkley setting up her work entitled Sunny Bank Mills; site interaction 2.
Most of the tapestries on display will be wall-hung, but some of the less traditional works will be displayed in showcases.
...comes this spectacular mural, which will greet visitors to Fabric of the North in the entrance area of Kirkleatham Museum:
The mural was commissioned by the Whitworth Gallery to accompany the Gallery's Tapestries exhibition last year. The textile artist Ibukun Baldwin was briefed to illustrate tapestry-weaving terms and processes. The mural was overpainted at the end of the Manchester exhibition, but the artist made a record of it and has allowed us to re-use it for Fabric of the North. Here you see it being installed. It will be accompanied by a number of displays of tapestry-weaving process, and by live artist-in-residence sessions (socially distanced, of course!)
There's a great clattering and banging and scraping of ladders, a smell of sawdust and paint, a sense of excitement in the air as strangely shaped boxes and tubes are unpacked and the tissue linings carefully unfolded... The display rooms are being prepared, the tapestries are coming in, and Fabric of the North exhibition designer Jane Riley is putting in 25-hour days.
Not long now!
If you're a practising weaver, and can't come to Fabric of the North, think about joining a Zoom workshop. There are still a few places left - click ZOOM! above.