Could His Royal Highness Prince Charles bring about a revival in the art of tapestry? Judging by his impressive performance at an Australian tapestry workshop, he may just be the man for the job.
Beginning the second day of the Australian leg of his Pacific tour with a visit to the Australian Tapestry Workshop in Melbourne, the Prince tried his hand at tapestry weaving under the guidance of senior weaver Sue Batten.
Adding a few threads to a tapestry depicting a rural scene, Charles proved more than up to the task with an impressive display of skill and dexterity that left onlookers thoroughly impressed.
Having shown interest in tapestry, perhaps the Prince could be persuaded to commission a tapestry for the Royal Collection in conjunction with The Tetley Workshop in England – the official Royal carpet and tapestry conservators by appointment to Her Majesty the Queen.
Designed by artist Bern Emmerichs, the tapestry given the “royal touch” is a commission for the Northern Hospital (Epping) where it will be will be prominently hung in the entrance lobby of the hospital to welcome all those who come through the front entrance.
Having grown up in the area where the Northern Hospital is located, the artist has created a design that cleverly and whimsically incorporates the nature and history of the area.
Incorporated into the work are elements of the local landscape including the river red gums, the volcanic rocks, the Plenty Ranges and the Plenty River. Historical references stretch from the early Aboriginal inhabitants and European settlers through to modern urbanisation. There are also allusions to local commercial and leisure pursuits, including the dairy industry, market gardens and horse racing.
Established in 1976 and one of only a small number of similar organisations in the world, the Australian Tapestry Workshop boasts an international reputation for the production of contemporary, hand-woven tapestries.
The Australian Tapestry Workshop's skilled weavers work in collaboration with artists from Australia and overseas to produce tapestries that are famous for their freshness and vigour, vibrancy of colour, technical accomplishment and inventive interpretation.
Since its inception, the Workshop's philosophy has been to employ weavers trained as artists, to help enable the close collaboration essential with the artists whose work they are interpreting. The weavers use this collaborative information to create unique works of art, rather than woven reproductions of the design.
Click the slideshow to see images of Prince Charles trying his hand at tapestry weaving