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2004-09-29 Terry expresses himself with the words that he can weave

Woven tapestry is one of the oldest and richest mural arts, and can be traced right back to the Ancient Greeks, Egyptians and Native North Americans. Weaving has always been a symbol of `creation' ever since Plato referred to a Goddess spinning the universe.

 

Spiders weave and spin their webs, wordsmiths weave their texts and composers weave their melodies and harmonies into a symphony of sound.

 

Opera, as an art-form, has everything theatre has, with an added luscious layer of awe-inspiring music. In much the same way, tapestry has everything painting has, with the added tactile allure of texture. The dictionary defines weaving as `making cloth by interlacing threads of the weft and the warp on a loom'. Like a musician composing a symphony, a weaver composes a texture by the union and intertexture of threads. The weaver's ideas and images emerge through drawing and painting, and these pictures are translated into fibre, yarn and weave, so that the weaver's materials become words expressing with ease what the weaver wants to say.

 

Woven art has been commissioned by governments, corporations, churches and private collections for centuries, and the uniqueness, warmth and depth of colour, and durability of woven art becomes clearly evident when one views such stunning medieval tapestries as those exhibited in halls and palaces throughout the world. The tapestries in Siena's Palazzo Publicale have to be seen to be believed.

 

There are very few full-time weavers in Ireland, but the "Irish Times" recently singled out Terry Dunne, as one of the country's leading and best-known tapestry artists and rug weavers. `Terry the Weaver' is a Dublin South-sider but now lives in his quaint and lovingly-restored thatched cottage in South County Wexford, between the villages of Duncormick and Wellingtonbridge. Terry graduated from Dun Laoghaire School of Art and Design in 1980 with a Diploma in Textile Design (with distinction). A multiple award-winner, Terry spent several further years in craft training workshops and studios in Cork, Dublin and Wicklow before he moved to set up his own home- studio in Wexford, with his own self-built loom. A part-time teacher at Dublin's NCAD in Thomas Street, Terry has given endless courses in spinning, weaving and dying, as well as exhibiting extensively at home and abroad. He has exhibited at all of Ireland's major venues (RDS, Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin Castle, Wexford Festival etc), and he has also created original pieces for countless private collections - Smurfit, New Ireland Assurance, Irish Life, Church and General, National Concert Hall, Green Isle, Fyffes and the Mater Private, to name but a small selection. The frieze of tapestries on display at St. Macartin's Cathedral in Monaghan town are entirely the work of Terry the Weaver.

 

Once Terry is commissioned to create a piece of woven art, he firstly agrees the design, approves the budget, and then shows the client samples of the proposed tapestry (in colour, texture and technique). An awareness of the site is always an advantage. Terry's art is inspired by his inner and outer worlds, nature and the environment, and that is why a piece by this talented artist always becomes the focal point in the space in which it hangs or lies. With wooden floors very much `in' at the moment, durable hand-woven floor-rugs have become increasingly popular. Terry's floor-rugs are exercises in colour, designed and woven to suit the area. The "Irish Times" recently described Terry's many wall-hangings as "beautiful subtle graduations in soft colours". Terry also does his own spinning and dying. Spinning is the transferring of loose fibres such as wool or flax into thread. Again, this art goes back to the dawning of time ; one only has to think of Rumpelstiltskin or the expression "spin me a yarn".

 

Endless possibilities presented by design, colour, pattern, structure, and texture can be realised through the therapeutic arts of weaving, spinning and dying. I have to admit to not knowing my beater from my bobbin, and I couldn't tell the difference between an inkle loom and a rigid heddle loom, but if you want to know more about Terry Dunne's original and affordable woven art, contact him direct on 051 - 563100, or email him at terrytheweaver@eircom.net or at least have a look at www.terrytheweaver.ie .