Archie Brennan

Born 1931 Roslin, Scotland, now living in upstate New York

1958-61 DA (Edin) Stained Glass
1961-62 Andrew Grant Postgraduate Scholarship
1962-73 Head of Tapestry Department
1973-75 Lecturer in Tapestry

Quite simply, the practice of woven tapestry has been an obsessive passion my entire adult life. It is my language and I love -hate- delight and struggle with it each day, all day. In an unique manner, it is a vehicle to convey concepts, comment, harmony, discord, rhythm, growth and form. Simply put, it is what I do. That tapestry today is widely regarded as a minor art form leaves me unconcerned. That is somebody else's loss. In medieval Europe (and pre-Columbian Peru and Coptic Egypt) tapestry was supreme. 500 years ago it was already extremely sophisticated in its development- aesthetically, technically and in diversity of purpose. Today, its lack of a defined purpose, its rarity, gives me an opportunity to seek new roles, to extend its historic language and, above all, to dominate my compulsive, creative drive. In 1967, I made a formal decision to step away from the burgeoning and exciting fiber arts movement and to refocus on woven tapestry’s long-established graphic pictorial role. My belief was and still is that tapestry had foundered into an imitative, reproductive process. In spite of a few notable exceptions, the technical virtuosity of the eighteenth - twentieth century became a serious and sorry disadvantage. Tapestry was merely a servant to painters and paintings.

Archie Brennan at home with his loom, 1973

'At a Window III' (woven by the Edinburgh Tapestry Co. Ardkinglas Collection) 1974
'A Full Meeting of Members of the Board' 1989

Selected Biography
1981 OBE for Contributions to the Arts
1977-80 National Arts School, Papua New Guinea
1975 Creative Arts Fellow, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
1962-1975 Artistic Director, Edinburgh Tapestry Company
Consultant, Victorian Tapestry Workshop, Melbourne, Australia

'Portrait of Mr John Noble' (woven by the Edinburgh Tapestry Co. Ardkinglas Collection) 1979
'Old school tie' 1971

  home lecturers and graduates next