NatureArt Lab

STUDIO COURSE: RED – IN NATURE AND WEAVING, 10 November - 1 December 2020, Beginners to Intermediate

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Weave the colour red for a special Christmas tapestry with award-winning textile artist Valerie Kirk!

About the tutor:

Valerie Kirk studied art and design at Edinburgh College of Art, where she discovered woven tapestry. As a graduate she came to Australia and worked in the Australian Tapestry Workshop and travelled the country to teach in communities and colleges, work as an artist-in-residence, exhibit and lead community tapestry projects and textile tours. Between 1990-2017 she was a Senior Lecturer and Head of Textiles at the Australian National University.

During 2004-2019 she was commissioned to design and weave six major tapestries to celebrate Nobel/Japan/Kyoto Prizes in Science associated with the Australian National University.

Awards such as the Australia Council New Work grant, ACT Creative Arts Fellowship, Muse Arts Woman of the Year Award and the Canberra Centenary Community Tapestry project mark substantial success and her artwork can be seen in collections nationally and internationally.

About the workshop:

Red is a colour many people associate with Christmas but it is also a colour we see in many Australian flowers, foliage, birds and fish. In this project we will explore the variations of the colour red – light to dark, orange-reds to purple-reds. By studying the hue in nature we will gain information for selecting weft and blending yarn for weaving.

Beginners will warp up a small loom and learn the basic techniques of tapestry weaving, while making a 12 days of Christmas grid of red woven squares. Through mixing yarn on the bobbin for weaving, colour and the texture of different materials, light reflection and absorption can be explored.

Experienced weavers will design and weave their own small tapestry through focussing on the colour red, its associations and occurrence in nature. A subject could be the Australian native Christmas Bell, Blandfordia nobilis, Australian reds of the desert or NSW Christmas bush, Ceratopetalum gummiferum.

Advanced techniques and problem solving will be covered.

Finished tapestries can be photographed and the images used to make your own Christmas cards through Officeworks, print on demand companies such as Red Bubble or with your own home printer.

Learning Outcomes: 

  • Warp up a tapestry on a small portable loom
  • Select appropriate weft materials
  • Mark shapes on the tapestry warp as a guide for weaving
  • Use basic techniques to weave a small tapestry and finish it off
More advanced students will also be able to:
  • Design and weave their own small tapestry


Participants will need to bring a tapestry frame if you already have one (we can tell you how to make your own simple frame/provide one to borrow or buy for $20).

Tapestry bobbins if you have any (or these are available to borrow or buy)
-    Yarns will be provided, but you may like to bring other yarns in range of reds
-    Scissors
-    Notebook
-    Reading glasses if needed.

Warp and yarn for sampling are included. 

Suitable for all students from beginners through to intermediate students who wish to learn weaving skills. Class size is limited to 10 students. 

Note: Hand hygiene and social distancing rules will apply throughout the workshop. Students are requested to bring their own drinks and snacks for the course duration.

Dates: 10 - 24 November, 1 December (4 x three hour sessions)

Times: 9.30am - 12.30pm

Venue: NatureArt Lab Studio, M16 Artspace, 21 Blaxland Crescent, Griffith

Image: Courtesy of Valerie Kirk

Valerie Kirk