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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!!

Comments

Moira H., 31st Dec 2021
Matty - you need to hire some storage space, or better still some studio space, for your scaffold loom etc. Maybe have occasional sales of your work! Good luck!

Jane Kirby , 31st Dec 2021
Matty - I wondered who was donating all the marvellous tapestry books that are appearing on the Oxfam online shop, listed by the Henley branch! It did cross my mind that it might be you. I can't imagine how one deals with letting go of the tapestries themselves. Best of luck with your move. Jane

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