WHY CHOOSE TAPESTRY?
Tapestries make an ideal alternative to a painting, indeed they have several useful advantages over paintings: Firstly being a textile and made with soft materials, they have an intrinsic visual warmth that a painting can never have. They have superior sound absorbing properties making them ideal for spaces with a lot of hard, sound-reflective surfaces like foyers and stairwells. They are very portable since even very large tapestries can easily be rolled up and wrapped for storage and transportation. Since their principal component is usually wool, they have a very low carbon footprint, are made from natural, renewable materials and are non-flammable. They are capable of having a very long lifespan as long as they are not exposed to too much direct sunlight and are protected from moth. They are easy to keep clean and require very little maintenance.
THE COMMISSIONING PROCESS
Some clients have a very good idea of what they want the tapestry to look like or what function they want it to perform - for example it might be a memorial or it might be a visual expression of corporate goals, it might be required to give flair and distinction to a neutral interior or be a quiet focal point for meditation. Other clients simply like my work and commission a personal piece to enjoy in their home or office.
When a potential client approaches me with a view to commissioning a tapestry we have preliminary discussions about ideas and concepts for the design as well as size, timescale and cost parameters. A site visit at this stage is also very useful though not strictly necessary.
I will then make a series of sketch designs and woven samples as well as working out a price and a projected timescale for the finished tapestry. If the designs are approved we will exchange contracts and I will start the project on receipt of the first stage payment and deliver on receipt of the final payment. I normally work to 2, 3 or 4 stage payments depending on the size of the commission. The client is welcome to visit the studio during the weaving if they wish. I can also send regular photographic updates by e-mail. In the event of no tapestry being commissioned from the designs, the client will pay a design fee agreed in the initial discussions and I will retain the designs and copyright in the designs as is normal.
The time it takes to weave a tapestry depends entirely on how complex the design is. 1m x 1m would be likely to take me anything from 6 to10 weeks. This should be borne in mind when setting timescales.
The work is costed out by the square metre and again the cost depends on the complexity of the design. Current (2015) prices start at £4500 per square metre.
For a more detailed article about some of my commissioned work go to: www.americantapestryalliance.org