Dovecot Studios operate in the traditional studio model of employing and training weavers. As one of the only studios in the world operating this way, Dovecot’s Apprentice Programme is unique in its teaching of the art of tapestry weaving.

Ben Hymers joined Dovecot as an apprentice in 2014, undertaking training over three years. Dovecot’s apprenticeships date back to its founding in 1912, and the sharing of skills and knowledge from master to apprentice remains key. The teaching methods remain remarkably similar, beginning with simple triangular and curved forms, before tackling more involved compositions and techniques.

An important part of Dovecot’s current apprenticeships is for the new weaver to produce a completed and self-designed apprentice piece. Hymers’ piece, Penelope, takes its name from the wife of Odysseus whose faithfulness to her husband on his long journey was maintained by her weaving, secretly unravelling, and then reweaving a burial shroud for Odysseus’ father Laertes. Because of this faithfulness the name Penelope is considered synonymous with fidelity, but it also became a term used in tapestry. This tapestry demonstrates various weaving techniques, while also highlighting Hymers’ skill for tapestry design and affinity for delving into the history of mechanics and weaving to inform his practice.

Read about Ben’s final apprentice piece inspired by a watercolour by His Royal Highness, The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay

Ben Hymers

Ben Hymers


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Gallery & Shop

Gallery & Shop
Mon–Sat: 10am–5pm (including Sundays during August)

Tapestry Studio Viewing Balcony

Mon-Fri: 12–3pm
Sat: 10am–5pm

Festival Opening Times 2022:

Mon-Sun 9.30am-5pm*
Monday 1st August–Monday 29th August 2022

*Late night opening on every Thursday until 8pm


Pinks at Dovecot
Christmas Hours: Pinks will be closed from 24 Dec to 4 Jan

Mon–Sat: 10am - 4pm (last sitting)