Archie Brennan (1931-2019) is recognised internationally as the undisputed master of modern tapestry. He is also known as an innovator, pioneer and iconoclast, friend to Eduardo Paolozzi and Sean Connery, and a remarkable Pop artist.
Brennan began his 60-year weaving career at Dovecot Studios in 1948, eventually becoming artistic director. Dedicated to the art of tapestry and teaching, he inspired weavers all over the world from Papua New Guinea to Australia, and his influence and contribution to both Scottish and international weaving is unparalleled.
Yet Brennan’s legacy to Scottish tapestry weaving is at risk with a new generation of weavers who never had the opportunity to work or study with him, or to weave his designs. To address this, Dovecot initiated a major skills development project to encourage two of the Studios’ more junior weavers to design and weave a tapestry informed by a brief that Brennan himself undertook in 2012.
Weaver Ben Hymers and apprentice weaver Elaine Wilson designed tapestries inspired by a selection of textiles from the collection of National Museums Scotland that were chosen at random. From a fisherman’s jumper to Archie’s own tapestries and samples, the two tapestries interrogate Brennan’s innovations and techniques to create 21st century works that demonstrate the skill and mastery of a new generation of weavers.
A skills development project supported by The Dovecot Foundation and Creative Scotland. With special thanks to National Museums Scotland.