Tree of Life - Diary of a Tapestry

The Tree of Life is a 3metre x 5.5metre tapestry designed by tapestry weaver Cresside Collette for the RMIT Spiritual Centre. It incorporates leaf elements from staff and students of RMIT and is being woven by a team consisting of three professional weavers and a number of volunteers. This blog records the progress of the weaving.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

This will be the last post on this blog. The three new tapestries for the three campuses of RMIT are now finished and the cutting off ceremony was held last Tuesday. Also I am no longer a student there - have gone on to bigger (and hopefully better) things at Uni NSW. The following are a few pics from the ceremony. The first pic shows the three tapestries side by side on the loom. The second is the designer, Cresside Collette with the course coordinator, Pat Jones. Then, most of the weavers who worked on the tapestry, The Vice-Chancellor of RMIT, Professor Margaret Gardner starting the cutting off and a small helper.
Each of the tapestries will hang at its respective campus although they were also designed so that they could hang together as a 'suite'. Hope you've enjoyed watching the tapestries grow.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Can you believe it? Its March already-and no posts since November! We all had a break over Christmas and the New Year but the weavers have been back in action since the middle of January and are powering along! The 2 pics here of Sue and Julie were taken a couple of weeks ago but I just haven't had the time to get them up. I've been enrolling in a master's degree course with University of New South Wales and because its all on line and my computer skills are only average- its been a bit of an effort. The three new tapestries are now about halfway finished and looking very good.

Another bit of news is that an article I wrote on the Tree of Life tapestry has been published in Textile Fibre Forum. - Issue 1, No. 89, 2008, pp 28 and 29. (If you get to look at it you will finally get to know my real name too)

Since I wont be studying at RMIT any more this year, the posts here might become even more sporadic than they have been for the last couple of months but I will be looking in on them every now and again just to see how things are going .

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The top two photos were taken on the 22nd October and you can see that the little figures alog the bottom have taken shape. On the close-up you can just see how the lines are marked out on the warps before weaving.

This was a lovely morning tea we had on the 30th to welcome Cresside back from her trip the America (that's her in the red and white stripes)

Poor old Julie - in the foreground also in red and white- is temporarily in a wheelchair after falling off a roof and breaking both ankles. However she is now getting around and can still weave from the chair.
The last picture shows where we are at today

OOPS! I must be out of practice! Sorry about that and for not posting for a while. Hoowever I have been taking photos and so this post will be to show you what has been happening since September.The top left picture shows Sue working on the spacing of the warps. This photo was taken on the 17th September. The other three were taken on the 15th October and show howit has progressed. The one of the board shows the completed designs for the three tapestries and are made up of a collage of photographs of the three campuses of RMIT - City campus, Brunswick and Bundoora. I'm having a bit of trouble getting the pictures to stay put in the right order so I think I'll close this post and put the next lot in another.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

The new loom has been assembled (its BIG) and the designs for the three new tapestries have been reproduced to size for the cartoons. And now the warping up has started as you can see from the pics. The three tapestries - one for each of the three campuses of RMIT - will be woven at the one time. They just fit across the loom. The other tapestry you can see in the background is the Harmony Tapestry woven for the city of Greater Dandenong by some of the weavers who were associated with the Tree of Life tapestry and who will also be workingg on the new ones. As you can see it shows a number of different textile fragments form different cultures and these represent the different nationalities and cultures found in the City.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Well, its been a while since I last posted but at last the tapestry is hanging in its new home at the RMIT Spiritual Centre and it looks REALLY GREAT. Here's a few pics of the hanging process which took most of the day! It gives you an idea, too, of just how big the tapestry really is when you compare it to the figures of the people working on it.
The top one is of Sue sewing on the label at the back which records the names of all the people who worked on the tapestry over the months that it took to complete.
The next one shows it being unrolled after attaching at the top and then one of it compleately unrolled with Sue and Cresside (weaving supervisor and designer) standing in front.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Its done! The tapestry is now off the loom and being readied for hanging. The Vice Chancellor of RMIT, Margaret Gardner, performed the 'cutting off' ceremony yesterday in front of a small crowd of weavers, staff and students at the Brunswick campus where the weaving has taken place. And it looks fantastic! One of the problems with tapestry weaving is that you only ever see about a metre of the tapestry while it is being woven, so there is always that little bit of trepidation before you see the completed work. Will the edges be straight? Will the colours be consistent through the whole tapestry? Will the commissioner like the finished product? etc etc. However, as you can see from the pics it all went well and everyone is happy with it.

The Vice Chancellor starts the cutting off

The tapestry comes off the loom

A happy bunch of weavers and volunteers

Once off the loom, all the levelling threads are removed

And the plaiting off of the warp threads begins. After this it will be readied for hanging and I will let you know when that is about to take place

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

And now some pics of yesterday's work -

Nearly ready for hitching off

All hands on deck to finish the last little bit - everyone is standing because the working area has reached the height limit (some are even standing on telephone directories)

Jen is showing a new volunteer the ropes

Starting to hitch off

And the completed line of hitching

Rolling on, retying the warps, and starting to weave on the last stretch.

Well, its been some time since I last posted and I apologise for that. And what an eventful couple of weeks it has been! When I last posted we were getting ready to do the last rolling on of the tapestry. This was quite important as the warps had to be lengthened at the same time due to the fact that a further few centimetres had to be woven to provide a turnover hem. This was because the tapestry is now going to be hung on a wall instead of the original idea of it being a floor tapestry. Not ony has this been done now, but the final "hitching off" was also completed yesterday. Tomorrow, the Vice Chancellor of RMIT will perform the "cutting off" ceremony, where the completed tapestry is removed from the loom (more pics tomorrow).
We have also had news that a further three tapestries are to be commissioned by RMIT - one for each of the campuses - so it appears that the tapestry apprentice will be in business for a while yet. The following are a series of pics taken over the last cople of weeks. Enjoy! Actually there may not be any pics in this post as Blogger has just changed th format and I cant figure out how to get the pictures in so I'll post this and then try and get some help.