Aubusson Weaves Tolkien
There is an exciting project in progress at Aubusson.The Cite Internationale de la Tapisserie has been commissioned by the Tolkien Estate to weave 13 tapestries and a carpet based on JRR Tolkien’s original graphic works.
To celebrate the Franco/British friendship between french artisans and a British author, we were invited, as representatives of The English Library, to a guided tour of the new exhibition centre, followed by a buffet lunch.
On the morning of the visit, we opened the curtains to snow. Not to be deterred, we set out early and, roads being clear, were the first to arrive. A rare occurrence for the Essoms! We were soon joined by fellow co-president, Steve, and his wife Sue and several familiar faces and friends from other Franco/British associations.
We were welcomed by our guide, Claire, and set off on our tour, which commenced with a showcase of ‘Tapestries of the World’, where various nation’s tapestries are displayed to a backdrop of scenery from around the world. Claire explained how tapestry links countries together, whilst having their own particular methods and individuality.
Next on the tour was ‘The Hands of Aubusson’, where techniques ancient and modern were explained and demonstrated and an insight given into the importance of Aubusson’s expertise on the world scene.
En route down the stairs our attention was drawn to a piece of work that has the appearance of coils of rope in 3D. Once up close to this piece, it is actually a weave of many colours on a black slightly sparkly background, which bears no resemblance to rope. A truly extraordinary and amazing tapestry.
After an excellent buffet lunch, we were introduced to the Tolkien project and shown the wonderful graphic works, which are the basis for the 13 tapestries and carpet. The first tapestry has just been started and we were able to see this on a very large loom in the workshop, where the artisans were in discussion over colour shades for the next piece of the work. This is a four year project and when complete some of the tapestries will be touring in the UK and America, however, there will be duplicates, so there will always be some available to see at Aubusson.
Our visit was completed in ‘The Nave of Tapestries’, which is a gallery featuring pieces created at Aubusson between the 15th and 20th centuries. Here we were able to see sets of tapestries that came together to tell a story and also see how the weaving has evolved over the centuries.
All in all it was a very interesting and enjoyable visit and we would recommend it to anyone.
The Chickens and the Essoms.