In TW 33 (Tapestry Weaver Issue 33, March 2023) we heard from Margaret Jones about how the Heallreaf tapestry exhibitions are funded, relying significantly on an Arts Council grant plus entry fees, with all that applying for such funding entails. She also talked about her Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) funding for her MFA. Another source of funding for weavers is the Theo Moorman Trust, which has supported a number of individuals with funds for practical things such as looms, yarns, travel costs, or simply studio rent to free up time to develop professional skills. Reading through the grants awarded, it is evident how important grant funding can be to simply allow us time to develop as artists, rather than needing to continuously generate an income.
In the same issue, Gyllian Thomson talks about the importance of awards from local arts bodies, as well as links with artists' networks, such as via Open Studio events. In her case, becoming a member of Upland enabled her to apply for a Visual Artist and Craft Makers Award, established by Creative Scotland but administered locally. This then led to further awards, which have enabled her to re-establish her creative practice, gain recognition for her work, and also develop links with fellow artists locally. As part of Upland she will be taking part in Spring Fling, the annual open studios event across Dumfries and Galloway (Image above left: Gyllian Thompson holding The Red Weave. Photo © Colin Hattersley)
Funding, sponsorship and awards such as these help to support us as tapestry weavers, as well as generating a profile for tapestry weaving more widely. We wondered what other sources of funding there might be out there; what experience you might have of applying for funding; and if you have applied, what advice you might have for fellow weavers.
Heallreaf 4 Private View at the Oxmarket, Chichester, September 2022. Photo © Peter Jones