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The Government House Tapestry Screen
 
In November 2012 I was approached by Ian Athfield Architects to submit a design concept for a free standing tapestry screen for Government House in Wellington. The screen was to be a gift to the House from Her Excellency Lady Susan Satyanand at the time of her husband's retirerment as Governor General of New Zealand. The inspiration for the refurbishment of Government House was the flora and fauna of New Zealand and as I had been working on a series of conte and charcoal drawings and paintings of native New Zealand plants, I felt that this theme was veryr relevant for me. One of our native birds, the tui, was the inspiration for the colour scheme in the Drawing Room so Id ecided to use the kowhai flower in my design. I had many photographs that I had taken of the kowhai tree in flower, so I developed one of these into two different concepts. For the proposal I made a cartoon of one panel and then wove a small sample tapestry and attached it at the appropriate place on the cartoon.

My concept was accepted by the commissioners and I was able to start work on the tapestries in January 2011 and employed another tapestry weaver, Diane Ammar to work with me on this project as the time frame was too short for me to weave it on my own. Unfortunately, the weaving was also interrupted by the February 22nd earthquake and was held in limbo in my studio in the Arts Centre of Christchurch for about seven weeks, after which we were able to rescue the looms. The remaining yarns necessary for the weaving and all my other artworks, tapestries, books and other materials were not rescued until early April and we started work once again on the tapestries on the 20th April 2011. The screen was presented to Government House on 17th August, the same day as the Governor General and Lady Susan had their final farewell in Parliament.


'Design Concept for Tapestry Screen '
2010

The first step in the creation of a tapestry is the design concept. This can take the form of a drawing, a collage, a digital image or a painting. The concept for these tapestries was a computer generated image from one of my own photographs. I cut the resulting digital print into four equal sections to form the panels for the screen. The design is semi-abstract with a pixelated background.


Price. $0.00
Status. SOLD



'The first panel after seven days of weaving. '
2011

The cartoon is visible behind the warp threads and you can see how the shapes correspond to the cartoon. The squares form a lovely contrast for the organic shapes of the kowhai flower that are just starting to take shape.


Price. $0.00
Status. SOLD



'Marilyn at the loom just a few weeks before the earthquake which destroyed the studio'
2011

This photograph shows Marilyn weaving the detailed second panel of the tapestries. Very happy and smiling - blissfully unaware of what the next few weeks would bring. Work was progressing well and there was about one week's work left to do on the first two panels when the earthquake struck and everything came to a halt.


Price. $0.00
Status. SOLD



'The studio before the Earthquake'





Price. $0.00
Status. SOLD



'The looms in storage after the earthquake'
2011

The looms were rescued from the studio in the Arts Centre about six weeks after the eathquake and were put into storage in my brothers workshop until I could get back to Christchurch and sort my small two bedroom to try and fit the looms in there.


Price. $0.00
Status. SOLD



'Back weaving'
2011

Back weaving at last and cutting the first panel off the loom. This is Diane showing her work after it came off the loom. Note the small space where the looms were now situated.


Price. $0.00
Status. SOLD



'Dr Warren Feeney cutting the last tapestry from the loom.'
2011

We had a lovely cutting off ceremony for the cutting off of the last two tapestries. This image shows Warren cutting the tapestry with visitors crowding into the small space to watch.


Price. $0.00
Status. SOLD



'Diane and Marilyn celebrating the completion of the weaving. '
2011

Here we are! So pleased to have the weaving completed. There was still a lot of finishing to do on the tapestries before they could go to Wellington to be put into the wooden screen.


Price. $0.00
Status. SOLD



'A close-up detail'
2011

Here is a close-up of the weaving with bobbins holding the yarn mixtures.


Price. $0.00
Status. SOLD



'And another close-up detail showing the texture of the work'
2011

This image also shows the sewing of the slits. This was done as the weaving progressed as it is much easier to sew sllits while the work is under tension - working hands!


Price. $0.00
Status. SOLD



'The screen at Government House'
2011

The screen was presented to Government House early on the 17th August, 2011. Here is a photograph of Marilyn and Diane at the presentation.


Price. $0.00
Status. SOLD



'The Completed Tapestry Screen'
2011

Their Excellencies Sir Anand and Lady Susan Satyanand with the screen.


Price. $0.00
Status. SOLD




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Marilyn Rea-Menzies
Artist Studio and Hallway Gallery
50 Albert Street
Hamilton East
Hamilton

Ph: 64 7 856 6010
Cell: 027 474 3441
marilyn@tapestry.co.nz