Design Canberra Festival Design Canberra Festival

Valerie Kirk, studio view. Photo: Courtesy of the artist.
Valerie Kirk, studio view. Photo: Courtesy of the artist.
Free event

Open Studio: Valerie Kirk Tapestry Studio

Valerie Kirk studied art and design at Edinburgh College of Art and was captivated by the creative process/infinite possibilities of the tapestry medium. In 1979 she came to the Victorian Tapestry Workshop, (now Australian Tapestry Workshop), where she worked on large scale commissioned tapestry. Later she travelled around Australia doing residencies, teaching, weaving and exhibiting. Then in 1991 Valerie moved to Canberra to be Head of Textiles, ANU, School of Art and Design, where she worked and continued her practice till 2017.

Now she works in the studio full time as an artist, tapestry weaver and teacher – drawing, designing tapestries, weaving and working in other forms of textiles. During 2018 she produced a body of work for the exhibition “So Fine” at the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra. This included gouache drawings on slates from Scotland and the tapestry portrait, “The Traveller”, which was also exhibited in the international Fiberart Biennale, Beijing, China.

Between 2004-2013 she was commissioned to design and weave five tapestries, 1.2 m w x 2.4 m h to celebrate prizes in Science associated with ANU. In 2019 a sixth tapestry about the work of scientist Graham Farquhar was designed and woven in the Todd Street Studio.

The studio was purpose built behind a Tocumwal house, which was moved from the border of Victoria and NSW after the war. It is my creative place, full of materials, equipment and artworks – sometimes chaotic but always interesting as work evolves and collected objects, images, books and yarns fill the space.

Valerie will show drawings on slate and woven tapestries from the Scotland-Australia series and experimental works from research at the Age of Fishes Museum, Canowindra.  She will also set out the preliminary and design work for commissioned tapestries to reveal the working process from idea to digital cartoon then weaving.

Recent artworks, tapestries and visual explorations from a residency at The Cité Internationale des Arts,, Paris will be on display and for sale along with textiles collected on study tours in Peru, Laos, India and Japan .