Australian Tapestry Workshop @ 226-266 Park St, South Melbourne © Open House Melbourne

Weaving their magic - OHM 2014: Australian Tapestry Workshop

Once again Open House Melbourne has come and gone for another year and once again I took the opportunity to volunteer. Having been assigned the Australian Tapestry Workshop as my building for the Saturday morning shift, I had no idea what to expect as I wasn't even aware of its existence and I'm probably not alone in that respect.

Occupying a National Trust and Heritage listed building at 262-266 Park St in South Melbourne, the Australian Tapestry Workshop is the only studio of its kind in the country and also one of only a few worldwide for the production of hand-woven, contemporary tapestries. Originally built in 1885 to plans drafted by architect TJ Crouch, as a drapery establishment Harcourt and Parry Emporium, before being adapted for use as Patross Knitting Mills.

A renovation by Peter Carmichael in 1976 transformed the formerly derelict and dingy factory space into a spacious, light filled studio; a perfect home for the Victorian Tapestry Workshop, now known as the Australian Tapestry Workshop. The most recent spate of works were carried out in 1999 by Peter Williams of Williams Boags Architects.

Visitors to the Workshop experience a vibrant setting with multi-coloured yarns lining the walls and weavers seated at many looms creating new artworks. Ranging from miniature to monumental, the tapestries are woven using the finest Australian wool, which is specially dyed onsite to a unique palette of 370 colours.

Most of the Workshop's tapestries have been specially commissioned and hang in significant public buildings and collections.

Outside of Open House Melbourne, the Australian Tapestry Workshop is open to the public from Tuesday to Friday, 10am-5pm ($5 studio viewing, no charge for gallery viewing). The public are welcome to browse through the collection of small and large tapestries, and the retail shop stocking the workshop's exclusive range of yarn, 370 colour shades and tones, as well as cards and books featuring recently commissioned tapestries and highlights from past commissions.

I can honestly say I was pleasantly surprised and very impressed by the fantastic spaces and architecture, filled with a rich and diverse body of work at various stages in their development. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience and would like to say a big thank you to the wonderful staff.

For more information check out their website and be sure to follow them on Twitter and Instagram.

In the meantime, please enjoy my photos from Saturday afternoon.


Development & Planning

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 12:00
The swirl of development activity in Footscray has found another gear as new projects are submitted for approval, or are on the verge of beginning construction. Two separate planning applications have been advertised by Maribyrnong City Council; their subsequent addition to the Urban Melbourne Project Database has seen the overall number of apartment developments within Footscray in development swell to 40.

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Monday, November 20, 2017 - 12:00
The marriage of old and new can be a difficult process, particularly when the existing structure has intrinsic heritage value. In previous times Fitzroy's 237 Napier Street served as the home of furniture manufacturer C.F. Rojo and Sons. Taking root during 1887, Christobel Rojo oversaw operations though over time the site would become home to furniture manufacturer Thonet.

Visual Melbourne

Friday, August 25, 2017 - 07:00
The former site of John Batman's home, Batman's Hill is entering the final stages of its redevelopment. Collins Square's final tower has begun its skyward ascent, as has Lendlease's Melbourne Quarter Commercial and Residential precinct already. Melbourne Quarter's first stage is at construction and involves a new 12-storey home for consultancy firm Arup along with a skypark.


Transport & Design

Tuesday, December 12, 2017 - 12:00
When a site spans 19,280 square metres, it becomes a 'district'. That's the case according to the development team behind the Jam Factory's pending overhaul. Reporting on the project to date has focused on the close to 60,000 square metres of new commercial space that is earmarked for the site, but more importantly from a layperson's perspective is the extensive new public realm that is planned as part of the development.

Sustainability & Environment

Tuesday, October 24, 2017 - 12:00
Cbus Property's office development for Medibank at 720 Bourke Street in Docklands recently became the first Australian existing property to receive a WELL Certification, Gold Shell and Core rating. The WELL rating goes beyond sustainable building features with a greater focus on the health and well-being of a building's occupants.