Featured Tapestries

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Finding Kenneth Myer

This work was commissioned by the Tapestry Foundation of Australia, and funded by donations from the senior Myer siblings to commemorate the life and achievements of their eldest brother, Kenneth Baillieu Myer, AC DSC, who died in 1992. This tapestry has been gifted to the National Library of Australia where Kenneth Myer played several leadership roles.

This tapestry marks the Workshop’s second collaboration with John Young (Young Zerunge). Described as being “eleven tapestries in one,” the work is made up of different segments, some superimposed on others, to create the design. This style of collaged image-making is characteristic of Young’s works.

To draw inspiration, Young had access to a number of National Library of Australia archives. Each section of the design references specific aspects of Kenneth Myer’s life, namely his contribution to the arts, sciences and humanities. The small segment in the top right corner depicts a cotton flower with cotton DNA running behind it, symbolising Myer’s time working with the CSIRO. The three main portraits are from different times in his life: a few months before he died, as a young naval officer, and at age 13 taken at his father’s funeral.

The words along the top allude to the wide array of Myer’s philanthropic and personal passions. In fact, the artist has mentioned the difficulty he experienced in limiting the amount of information included in the design, while still expressing the vigour of Myer’s activities.

The three weavers working on this project had specific areas to interpret, each with its own palette and complexity. There were several discussions with Young about the ‘painterly’ colours and tones he thought should be included in the tapestry. When the weavers found the pitch of his tones hard to match against the Workshop’s range of colours, they experimented widely with mixes, and eventually used a ‘cup of green tea’ as the perfect match to create the main background colour.

Works on rotation include: image of tapestry cutting off with L-R, weavers Milena Paplinska, Cheryl Thornton, TFA Emeritus Trustee Arnold Hancock OAM, and weaver John Dicks.