Naomi Robertson, master weaver

Naomi Robertson, master weaver and tapestry studio manager at Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh, a converted swimming baths on Infirmary Street.

studied tapestry at Edinburgh College of Art. I’d dabbled in it in my last year of school, where a teacher had shown us how to weave, but I hadn’t intended to specialise in it. But it was a really exciting department at the college, and I loved the colour and the scale of it. I suppose I just really enjoy making things. If I didn’t do this, I’d be making something else. I love the challenge of tapestry. I’ve been weaving at the Dovecot Tapestry Studio in Edinburgh for 25 years and every new piece, for whatever reason, is a challenge. You never think you’ve solved it all. So you never get bored and there’s always something to learn. I love it. The skills and techniques of making a tapestry have scarcely changed over the centuries. The skills we use are very traditional – nothing has changed in the hundred years of our company, certainly. If anything is different, it’s the designs and our approach to the work. It is maybe drawn more from paintings rather than the kind of designs that were originally devised for a tapestry. Now it’s more about the weaver’s interpretation of it and how we’d solve the marks an artist has made. The weaver interprets the design. It’s not the case that once we’ve picked the colours we just weave. We’re constantly making decisions about how to proceed or how to interpret particular marks.

This is just a taster, you can browse the full article with more stunning photography on pages 167-197, issue 100.

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Interviews Judy Diamond
Photography Neale Smith