In the middle of the tapestry tour, we drove south to Albi. This is an interesting town on a beautiful river with a massive cathedral. It also is home to the Talouse-Lautrec museum. We took a day trip from Albi to Soreze where we visited the Dom Robert Museum which was definitely a highlight of the trip. The video blog tells you more about it!
While in Angers, we also went to the Musée Jean Lurçat. The museum houses his large tapestry cycle, Le Chant du Monde (Song of the World) which was his response to the Apocalypse Tapestry. Though I think anyone having a response to the Apocalypse tapestry is a bit ballsy, seeing these massive tapestries was fantastic.
Below is the 6th episode in my video blog. After that, some more thoughts about the Lurçat tapestries.
The trip as a whole was phenomenal. I got home late last night. One of the highlights for me was seeing the Apocalypse tapestry. I will write a whole post about it soon, but for now, this video blog gives you some idea of our first full day in Angers. We followed the Apocalypse with Lurcat’s Chant du Monde which was quite fitting since he was creating a response to the Apocalypse (which in itself is incredibly ballsy, don’t you think?). I’ll show you that one in the next episode.
We had a fun day as we left Paris. We had a couple stops along the way on our way to Angers. We stopped in Chateaudun but were unable to see the tapestries we went to see. We also stopped on the way into Angers at the studio of Anne Zerna. She is a tapestry weaver who also makes large felt pieces. She is also a printmaker. her studio was delightful.
The video blog has more details!
The tapestry tour has been such a fantastic experience. The attached video blog is about our visit to the Gobelins while still in Paris. I have a lot of thoughts about this visit, but will wait until I get home and have time to digest it a little more. For now, here is the basic structure of these workshops.
There are three state-supported weaving workshops.
They are the Manufactures Nationales
Savonnerie makes pile rugs and we did not visit this workshop.
The mission of the Mobelier Nationale which runs these workshops as well as a conservation studio for tapestries, rugs, and furniture and a lace-making studio is first to furnish official buildings in France. So most of the work the tapestry workshops are doing go into a catalog and ministers of France can choose them for their offices or embassys. Occasionally they do commissions as well.
We took a bus about 100 km from Paris to Beauvais to see the National Tapestry Workshop there. It was an incredible day. There are three workshops supported by the state (Manufactures Nationales): Beauvais, Gobelin, and Savonnerie.
Beauvais is divided between the town of Beauvais and another site in Paris. This is because Beauvais was heavily bombed in WWII. When a new building was built decades later, weavers were able to volunteer to relocate to Beauvais so about half of them are at the workshop there and the other half are at the Gobelin in Paris.
I am currently on a tapestry tour of France with Cresside Collette of Australia. Cresside has run similar tours of France and the UK over the last decade. She is the perfect person to guide us in our enjoyment of tapestries made from about the 15th century to today. She was a weaver at the Victorian Tapestry Workshop (now Australian Tapestry Workshop) for 15 years and has had a successful career as an independent artist. Take a look at her website for more information and her portfolio.
We are leaving Paris tomorrow for Angers. While in Paris we have seen The Lady and the Unicorn, had a trip to Beauvais to see the tapestry manufactory there and today we went to the Gobelin and saw both the Beauvais workshop and Gobelin workshop in Paris. I will talk more about these workshops and the trip to the Cluny in future posts.
I thought I might try my had at video blogging. In the hiking world this is called vlogging. I’m actually not that good at taking video on the run, so this is a mash-up of still photos, video, and narration. It is done quickly because there is much to see and do here! But I hope you enjoy a little look at my trip to France. I’ll be doing more of these though I can’t guarantee how soon I’ll finish the videos.