Katharine Swailes & Caron Penney:


An exhibition of hand woven tapestry by two master weavers


6-27 June 2015

Private View Friday 5 June 6-8pm


Tapestry workshops on 6 & 20 June

at Arundel Museum

Katharine Swailes and Caron Penney travelled recurrently to New York City over a twelve year period. During this influential time both artists were inspired by the urban landscape, street architecture, museum collections and natural environment. Mapping this journey through photography, note taking and sketches to their resulting work in woven textiles. 


‘Manhattan’ is the beginning of a new chapter for both the artists, one which has involved shedding the past and emerging into new avenues.


See the fully illustrated catlaogue for Manhattan here.


The exhibition was opened on Friday 5 June at the Private View from 6-8pm with a short introduction by Ann Sutton, MBE, internationally renowned for her work in woven textiles as an artist and for industry. Sadly Ann Sutton could not be there in person, but her cousin Dr Richard Howells gave her speech - see the full text on our Tumblr Blog.


Alongside 'Manhattan' we will also exhibit 'Tirra Lirra' by Gillian Ayres, woven by Caron Penney.


Swailes has created textiles for over 20 years, specifically working in tapestry for the last two decades. She specialises in both conventional flat wall works and smaller three-dimensional, sculptural pieces - as well as weaving large scale commissions at West Dean Tapestry Studio. Swailes is interested in the constructively open ended nature of the medium.


Recent works explore the textures, systems and structure of Central Manhattan - using a limited palette of techniques, materials and colour. The inclusion of gold thread offers a contrast in structure to the natural fibres of cotton, linen and wool. This latest series of works draws on the collections in museums, the parks and streets of Manhattan.


As well as working on high-profile commissions for the West Dean Tapestry Studio and her own Weftfaced Tapestry Workshop, Penney is a prolific exhibition-led weaver in her own right. ‘A defining characteristic of her oeuvre as an artist is the use of visual semiotics in expressing autobiographical themes’ (from Tapestry, A Woven Narrative: Black Dog Publishing 2012).


Penney uses references to the street architecture, structural comparisons between the warp and weft and the gridded road systems in New York City. The colour red establishes a sense of separation within a dominant monochromatic palette which is repeated throughout Penney’s work. 


Both Caron Penney and Katharine Swailes have worked on large scale commissions for established artists such as Tracey Emin (Black Cat was exhibited at Collect and Frieze in 2011), Martin Creed and Gillian Ayres (Tirra Lirra will be exhibited at Collect in 2015). They also helped reproduce seven tapestries of the 16th century "Hunt of the Unicorn" series of tapestries for Stirling Castle.


During the exhibition Swailes and Penney will be inviting participants (of all levels) to one of two Creative Workshops at Arundel Museum on 6 & 20 June. Full details of the workshops can be found here.


29 Tarrant Street, Arundel,

West Sussex, BN18 9DG

Tel: 01903 882063

or call/text: 07901 677933


contemporary art in Sussex

© 2014 by Zimmer Stewart Gallery

Open: 10-5 Tues-Sat

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