Martin Creed at West Dean Tapestry Studio

Now on show at Hauser & Wirth, New York (8th November – 21st December 2013), a work by renowned Scottish artist Martin Creed has a close connection to West Dean. ‘Work No. 1683’ was handwoven by Caron Penney at West Dean Tapestry Studio over an eight-week period in 2013. Creed’s major solo exhibition encompasses new work as well as examples representing his career over the last three decades.

This is not the first time that the West Dean Tapestry Studio has worked with a noted artist in the production of original work. The studio is renowned for its previous collaborations with figures such as Henry Moore, John Piper and Tracey Emin. A great deal of work related to tapestry and textile art practice is currently being produced and explored by contemporary artists, including the use of digital weaving technologies by artists such as Chuck Close and Grayson Perry. Creed’s commission is notable for his use of traditional handweaving techniques and the manner in which those processes inform its conception.

Caron describes ‘Work No. 1683’: “The tapestry is rendered in coloured threads sourced from the Studio’s archive, specifically from the years 1980 to 2013. A connection to indexical measurement and pre-existing systems runs through the work: at 40cm wide, the tapestry’s dimensions correspond to the width of the ‘heddles’, traditionally the width of the weaver’s shoulders. Individual weavers would often work with their own set of heddles, allowing them the freedom to make larger tapestries sitting closely alongside numerous other skilled craftsmen. Each coloured stripe is produced from a length of wool measured against the distance of the weaver’s stretch and the height of the work is dictated by the number of individual stock colours.”

Martin Creed - Work No.1683 (2013) Photo: Ellen Page Wilson

Martin Creed – Work No. 1683, 2013, wool, 40 x 272 x 1 cm / 15 3/4 x 107 1/8 x 3/8 in [Photo: Ellen Page Wilson] © Martin Creed, all rights reserved

Martin Creed was born in Wakefield, England in 1968 and grew up in Glasgow. He lives and works in London and Alicudi, Italy. He has exhibited extensively worldwide and, in 2001, won the Turner Prize. Recent major solo exhibitions include the National Gallery of Canada (2012); Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago IL (2012); Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas TX (2011); The Common Guild, Glasgow (2010); Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Japan (2009); and the Duveen Commission, Tate Britain, London (2008).

The completed tapestry on the loom in West Dean Tapestry Studio, 2013

Caron Penney cutting off 'Work No. 1683' in West Dean Tapestry Studio, 2013