Studio visits are a real treat. And last month’s was no exception. We visited Nicole Breedon during her stint as artist-in-residence at the Australian Tapestry Workshop in South Melbourne. We were there to see her progress on the ambitious woven works she’s producing for the June show ‘A Whole New World’ at Chapter House Lane. It turned into an hour long sticky beak into an amazing operation where we met a band of lovely, hard working, passionate weavers. A black and white photo of its original team of workers was peppered with artists and fashions not out of place today (though the hair was less tame). The building was filled with light and looms so large they dwarfed the test frame Breedon was working on. Her desk was covered in research on autostereograms and mathematical equations to determine the weave density, tension and number of rolls of wool that will be required to produce the metre square works. With an exhibition title taken from 1992 animated Disney film Aladdin, Breedon is combining the concept of a magic carpet with the Magic Eye images of the popular book series.
Across from her, a huge project was underway with weavers deftly producing test colours for a new commission to be hung in the State Library of Victoria. The production of the right shade might require 15 different strands of multi-coloured wool. The palette decided on, the work space is surrounded with spools in the hundreds which to me suggest an exercise in near impossible patience, but to the artists involved present an unparalleled exciting challenge.