About the British Tapestry Group
The British Tapestry Group promotes and explores the concept of woven tapestry as a contemporary art form.
By raising public awareness through its exhibitions and regional activities, the BTG showcases the combination of craftsmanship and artistic inspiration which is translated into woven works.
The British Tapestry Group welcomes professional UK and international tapestry weavers as well as those who are starting on their weaving journey.
Why a British Tapestry Group?
In 2005 five tapestry weavers, Ros Bryant, Janet Clarke, Beryl Hammill, Shirley Ross and Nicola Wheeler, met to discuss how to promote tapestry weaving, help weavers liaise more closely and support fellow British tapestry weavers. With tapestry weaving being largely an individual activity, often done in isolation, communication between weavers could be spasmodic. Tapestry weaving was also in decline, with fewer courses available and few exhibitions.
They set up the British Tapestry Group and organised two exhibitions over the next few years. ‘Tapestry Today’ was held at the Machpelah Works in Hebden Bridge in July 2006, followed by 'Tapestry 08' in Halifax, funded by the Arts Council. Since then the British Tapestry Group has grown from strength to strength, providing a network and forum for beginners and established practitioners, helping to raise awareness of and promote tapestry weaving in Britain and internationally.
You can read more in the 10th Anniversary edition of Tapestry Weaver with articles ‘Why We Need a Tapestry Group' by Beryl Hammill, ‘Beginning of The British Tapestry Group’ by Janet Clark and 'Ties that Bind' by Ros Bryant.
The British Tapestry Group Now
The British Tapestry Group is active at both a national and a regional level. We currently have 4 regional groups – London, South East, North and Scotland, with the potential for more where there is a group of weavers interested in setting one up. We promote BTG on Social Media and also share exhibitions via our Woven Art website, for members who are not part of a group or those around the world who want to stay connected. We hold national exhibitions, which may be juried, for full members and also exhibitions open to all members. Members of BTG receive regular updates via e-News, which includes the latest information on exhibitions, members’ activities, and other material that may be of interest.
We have the very informative Tapestry Weaver that is delivered to every member, still in paper form, so you can sit and enjoy at your ease. We are also actively promoting Exhibitions for all to enjoy and to take part in.
We have a voluntary Committee of ten members; we are always welcoming suggestions and advice from our Members. What we do as an organisation relies totally on the commitment and activity of our members – please join, please get involved in our regional groups, even think about helping on the committee!
What is the future of The British Tapestry Group?
Is there a future for BTG in a time when Schools and Colleges are curtailing their teaching of hand woven tapestry in their syllabus? When it is more difficult to get venues to show Tapestry Weaving Exhibitions? Resounding YES!
We are now attracting many weavers from the UK and around the World. We are seeing younger, energetic and creative new members join, alongside members who approach weaving design in different ways, using a range of materials. There are also many people who are organising community weaving groups and weaving with children. All of these will take tapestry weaving out to a newer audience - all ways to extend the reach of the knowledge of weaving to new arenas.
The BTG is here to be a cohesive force to assist and create these possibilities. We will continue to encourage inclusivity with all levels of weaving, making sure the 'professional' and the 'amateur' are catered for within our organisation.
BTG is also growing its social media presence and the more people who participate, the more valuable this will become as a way for weavers to connect with one another.
The future looks exciting!
About Tapestry Weaving
Tapestry weaving is an art form that has been around for hundreds of years. Many large tapestries were woven to decorate (and draught proof!) castles and stately homes, and a number of them can still be seen today, for example in museums (e.g. V&A) or at National Trust or similar properties. They were a demonstration of wealth and taste. It is a technique that has also been brought into the 21st century with contemporary tapestry weavers exploring the medium in a number of ways.