As 2024 approaches, we are reflecting on some of our highlights at Dovecot Studios this year!
Tapestry Studio Projects
This year, our tapestry studio completed ten tapestries and two rugs, which accumulated to over 7000 working hours of weaving and rug tufting, and approximately 3075 cups of tea and coffee!
2023 marked the first collaborations between Dovecot Studios and artists Angie Lewin, Yinka Shonibare and Sekai Machache with their tapestries Teabowl and Bracken, Modern Spiritual (Fang Ngil, Kumbaduba), and Lively Blue respectively.
Did you catch a glimpse of these gorgeous tapestries from the Tapestry Studio Viewing Balcony as they were woven? You can learn more about all Dovecot Tapestries by visiting our website!
Royal Museums Greenwich
We had the pleasure of creating Feeling Blue by Alberta Whittle, a striking new artwork commissioned by Royal Museums Greenwich and displayed at the Queen's House!
Feeling Blue (2023) by Alberta Whittle and Dovecot Studios was developed in response to RMG’s large and varied collections and Greenwich's history and cultural significance. The tapestry was handwoven over six months by Dovecot Master Weaver Naomi Robertson and Weaver Elaine Wilson, using a variety of techniques and over 150 yarn colour mixes!
The colour blue is immediately associated with oceans and seas, but there are also more emotive connotations that Whittle and Dovecot chose to explore, from tranquillity to depression. Weaving together themes including migration, melancholy and mythology, Feeling Blue responds directly to Royal Museums Greenwich’s sites and collection. This includes, for example, items in the Queen’s Presence Chamber, where it's on display; the pearl beads woven into its design reflect the jewels in the room’s portraits, including the famous Armada Portrait of Elizabeth I.
You can learn more about this project, the artist's inspiration and the tapestry weaving process by reading our blog post ‘Feeling Blue – New commission with Alberta Whittle unveiled at Royal Museums Greenwich’.
In 2023, we welcomed over 24,602 people into our exhibitions, thank you to everyone who came along!
Knitwear: Chanel to Westwood
At the start of the year, we said goodbye to our winter exhibition, Knitwear: Chanel to Westwood. This exhibition explored the evolution of knitted fashion across the 20th and 21st centuries, and the influence of art movements such as Modernism, Pop, Punk and Deconstruction.
Kaffe Fasset: The Power of Pattern
In spring, we welcomed the exhibition Kaffe Fasset: The Power of Pattern to Dovecot Studios. One of the most influential artists and designers in contemporary craft, Kaffe Fassett: The Power of Pattern explored the artist's career and influence, spanning over 50 years of quilting, pattern making and original textile artworks.
Scottish Landscapes: A New Generation
On the Tapestry Studio Viewing Balcony, we were delighted to host Scottish Landscapes: A New Generation, curated by Siobhan McLaughlin. Scottish Landscapes: A New Generation highlighted the diverse and dynamic work produced by new Scottish art school graduates, showcasing photography, film, sculpture and painting.
Scottish Women Artists: 250 Years of Challenging Perception
Lastly, we partnered with The Fleming Collection to bring Scottish Women Artists: 250 Years of Challenging Perception to Dovecot Studios and were ecstatic to receive multiple 4 and 5-star reviews! The exhibition celebrated the work of women artists who have challenged and shaped the contemporary art scene in Scotland. In an era when women lead Scotland’s galleries and art schools, it is easy to forget the prejudices and barriers their predecessors have faced.
A Royal Visit
In July, we were delighted to welcome Her Majesty Queen Camilla to Dovecot Studios ahead of the Scottish ceremony to mark the King's Coronation.
Camilla met with Dovecot trustees, weavers, and artist Victoria Crowe before making her way up to the Weaving Balcony to meet with local producers and students and learn about national initiatives as part of the inaugural Regenerative Textiles Scotland exhibition.
Her Majesty was shown the current projects on the looms, including a newly commissioned Alberta Whittle tapestry and one of the three tapestries that make up the recently completed ‘The Edinburgh Seven’. She also met with artist Victoria Crowe, whose painting of Orkney has inspired a new gun-tufted rug – Above Stromness.
Find out more about Queen Camilla’s visit to Dovecot Studios here.
Paintbox School of Art
This year, we hosted the fantastic Paintbox School of Art end-of-year exhibition! This exhibition is the culmination of the year-long professional development course with Paintbox, an intensive course for artists who wish to push their practice forward in new ways while developing the 'business' side of their practice.
Additionally, we collaborated with Paintbox School of Art to bring two painting workshops inspired by the art styles of Scottish women artists -Elizabeth Blackadder and Victoria Crowe- to Dovecot Studios!
If you are interested in joining one of our painting workshops, sign up to our newsletter for all future workshop dates!
This winter, Dovecot Studios had the pleasure of hosting a stall of textile wares crafted by the fabulous makers at Garvald Edinburgh during our December Festive Night.
Garvald Edinburgh is a local charity that offers practical and creative opportunities for adults with learning disabilities. The charity is spread across five locations where Garvald members can build relationships and learn new creative, social and practical skills alongside highly qualified staff support members.
Since 2017, Garvald has supplied our Dovecot Weavers with handcrafted bobbins made from off-cuts from larger woodworking projects. You can learn more about Dovecot’s partnership with Garvald Edinburgh in our blog ‘Partners in Craft: Dovecot's Collaboration with Garvald Edinburgh’.
Edinburgh Printmakers is a creative centre for printmaking and the visual arts. This year, Edinburgh Printmakers showcased a wide range of artworks in Dovecot Studios, including artists such as Sam Ainsley, Hannah Lim and Rachel Maclean.
During the summer, Edinburgh Printmakers hosted one of our Art and Aperitivo evenings, where guests received tours of the Printmakers collection on display within Dovecot and tours of the current exhibitions.
You can browse the collection in the Dovecot Shop where we have a range of framed and unframed prints ready to take home!
15 Years at 10 Infirmary Street
In August, we celebrated 15 years of Dovecot Studios at 10 Infirmary Street!
Dovecot Studios opened its doors to the public in August 2008 after moving from its original location on the grounds of the former Corstorphine Castle, which was demolished around 1797. The tapestry studio took its name from the 16th-century castle ‘Doocot’, still present at the historic site.
Dovecot Studios (then Edinburgh Tapestry Company) was at risk of closure in 2000 but was saved by the Dovecot Foundation and moved into the Infirmary Street Baths after a complete renovation in 2008.
The Victorian Infirmary Street Baths were the first public baths in Edinburgh. They were built by architect Robert Morham in 1885 and sadly closed in 1995.
New Apprentice Weaver
Another (very recent) highlight is that we welcomed our newest Apprentice Weaver to Dovecot Studios! Introducing Sophie McCaffrey!
Sophie joined us in December after working in the Dundee V&A as an Audience and Media Assistant. Sophie studied textiles at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee, specialising in printed textiles. We wish Sophie the very best during her apprenticeship and we cannot wait to see the tapestries she creates!
In 2023 we hosted a jam-packed public programme filled with exhibition talks, creative workshops, after-hours special events and tapestry studio tours!
Thank you to all of our amazing workshop partners for offering their creative expertise in such amazing workshops. And thank you to our amazing customers who attended all of our activities, making November a sell-out month!