Heallreaf 2 – Tapestries on show in West Dean and London

William Jefferies

Two years ago, the inaugural Heallreaf exhibition (pronunciation guide: Hea is pronounced ‘hare’ and reaf as ‘reff’ – the full word sounding like ‘Hare-l-reff’) of contemporary woven tapestry took place at West Dean. The exhibition was organised by recently graduated Visual Arts student, Margaret Jones, and held in the Tapestry Workshop, now part of the Edward James Studios and host to the full-time Visual Arts programmes. Continue reading

Staff and Alumni News: Visiting ‘Las Pozas’

screen-shot-2016-09-25-at-09-24-33   aavs-las-pozas-beton-machineVisual Arts programme leader, Dr. David Stent, was awarded a research grant to travel to Mexico and visit ‘Las Pozas’, the extraordinary garden built by West Dean College founder, Edward James, between 1947 until 1984. From its position high in the mountains of San Luís Potosí, Xilitla looms large in the context of James’ life and work. He worked on the former coffee plantation, consisting of some 80 acres of rain forest punctuated by a series of waterfalls and natural pools – in collaboration with Plutarco Gastélum, as well as a number of expert carpenters, masons and other local workers. Continue reading

Staff News: Shortlists and Exhibitions

philip-sanderson-all-different-things-2016

This week saw the announcement of artists shortlisted for the third Cordis Trust Prize for Tapestry, established by Visual Arts Scotland in collaboration with the Cordis Trust. A number of West Dean College staff members were present on the shortlist, which was drawn up by a prestigious panel of selectors with specialist knowledge of woven tapestry: Fiona Mathison and Susan Mowatt, along with Miranda Harvey of the Cordis Trust, Nicky Wilson, owner of Jupiter Artland, and VAS President Robbie Bushe. The presence of so many artists with direct links to the College affirms that West Dean – represented by the full-time Visual Arts programmes, the Short Course provision and the Tapestry Studio – remains at the forefront of tapestry-related practice. Continue reading

Two Evening Events in April

Evening Lecture: Artist and Weavers at West Dean Tapestry Studio
Thursday 19 April, 5:30-7pm. The Old Library, West Dean College. Free*
West Dean Tapestry Studio has an international reputation for working with leading contemporary arts practitioners. Known for its strong interpretive skills and artistic vision, the studio has an outstanding portfolio including  major commissions from John Piper, Tracey Emin, Martin Creed and Henry Moore. Current Master Weaver, Philip Sanderson, will talk about how the Tapestry Studio works with artists to translate their imagery into the medium of tapestry. Continue reading

Visiting Our Neighbours: CASS Sculpture Foundation

A few weeks back, the Visual Arts students and a few staff members made their annual visit to West Dean College’s neighbours at CASS Sculpture Foundation. As well as having time to tour the grounds and see the latest display of large-scale sculptures by artists such as Eduardo Paolozzi, James Capper, Tony Cragg and Tania Kovats, we were also given access to the CASS archive. Having the chance to look through the stored collection of large-scale drawings and works on paper, together with maquettes relating to previous commissions, is always a particular privilege and an experience that feeds directly into the practices developing back in the Studios at West Dean. At the same time, we were given a brief tour around the temporary exhibition in the Main Gallery, combining with separately commissioned works by UK artist, Alex Hoda. Continue reading

Behind the scenes at CFT

In the middle of the autumn term, a few Visual Arts students and staff made a visit to the costume and prop store of Chichester Festival Theatre. Housed in the former ‘Olympia Electric’, the town’s first purpose-built cinema dating from 1911, the store contains a vast collection of theatrical costumes and set objects, all organised according to type. The building and its contents are certainly something of a hidden gem, given the location in the middle of a city roundabout, a small distance from the theatre complex itself. After being destroyed by fire in 1922, the building became the Southdown bus garage before its more recent transformation into the theatres storage warehouse. Continue reading