As I approach the final week prior to a house move I have become acutely aware of the joy/burden of my chosen art form. I started weaving tapestries 13 years ago and over that time have created dozens of works of all sizes. Many of them are both small and mediocre and are kept on a large box. But quite a few are large works which I have a real pride in, and they hang on the walls of my home - like the tapestry on the left called 'Lost Boy'. And there's the rub – although my new home will give me enough space to continue weaving, albeit at a smaller scale, it has fewer (and smaller) rooms so less space for either hanging finished works or storing materials.
A serious tapestry downsize has been undertaken over the past few weeks. My first challenge was my yarn stash - I went through it four times with each review more ruthless than the one before; the local senior school and 6th form college have benefited from several suitcases of donated yarns. Next came equipment: half a dozen weaving frames have also gone to the local college and my scaffold loom remains a problem yet to be resolved but I have held on to all my bobbins. And then there were the books - shelves and shelves of them. I have kept a few titles that I know I will want to refer to either for inspiration or techniques but five bags of textile-related tomes have found their way into the local Oxfam Bookshop. Going through that process was difficult enough and left me feeling as if I had stripped myself of some cherished friends.
But that was nothing compared to the tapestries themselves - what to do with them all? Perhaps I should open an Etsy shop or put them up on Facebook Marketplace (which has been invaluable in helping us find new homes for much unwanted furniture). On the other hand, I do not really feel ready to let these works go. Yes, I have a photographic record of them, but I am not sure that is a meaningful substitute for seeing the real thing. Nor can I take them all with me and keep them in a cupboard whilst I work out what to do with them - there is very limited storage space at the new home and Little Henry, the indoor clothes dryer and the ironing board have a first option on it anyway.
And even if I could relocate them with me, what then happens on my demise? I recall seeing a Sarah Brennan work being sold on an online auction once - presumably purchased by an admirer of her work but left to relatives to deal with as part of an estate. A somewhat ignominious end!
So, what do we tapestry artists do with tapestries we are connected to but cannot provide a home for? What suggestions do you have for what I might do with my collection? Must 'Lost Boy' become even more lost!!