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Rich Tapestries

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This is the third exhibition by Bronwyn Theobald and Alison Hill in the Sidespace Gallery.  A shared love of oriental carpets became the starting point for Rich Tapestries and it is a thread that continues to unite the work, even as the artists’ paths diverge.

Bronwyn Theobald’s dinnerware is inspired by the rich colours and patterns of her own collection of oriental carpets and the fabulous stories from One Thousand and One Nights.  Richly coloured glazes reveal and conceal intricate designs and fragments of text from Scheherezade’s fantastic tales.

Alison Hill began by exploring the rich tapestry that is Tasmania’s alpine heath.  The colours in the landscape seemed to mirror the colours in oriental carpets.  Ferns, mosses and stunted trees grew through the carpets.  Over time other stories, tales from books and film and family life, have intruded and woven their way into the works.

EXHIBITION: Wednesday 6 – Tuesday 19 May 2015
10:00am – 5:00pm daily

OFFICIAL OPENING: Wednesday 6 May 2015, 5:30pm – 8:00pm
Exhibition to be opened by Ms Robin Banks, Anti-Discrimination Commissioner


Bronwyn Theobald
Thrown and slip-cast dinnerware;  linocut prints under transparent coloured glazes; stoneware fired

“The overwhelming sense of exotic colour in oriental carpet shops, and the stories of Scheherazade in Burton’s 1882 translation of One Thousand Nights and a Night (The Arabian nights stories) inspired the design and making of this dinnerware.

Wandering through an oriental rug shop in North Hobart years ago, I wanted to make dinner ware that radiated the feeling of colour and pattern that the rugs gave off.  This exhibition is the result of that wish.

Scheherazade delays her imminent death by telling her executioner fantastic stories so he postpones her death night after night, in order to hear next episode of her tale.  These stories are the original cliff-hangers beloved of  the writers of soapies.

Fragments of text from the old stories appear on and under the plates.   Images taken from old carpets belonging to myself and friends emerge as linocuts and screenprints covered with glazes coloured to reflect the wools in the rugs.

The tales of The Husband and the Parrot, The Fisherman and Jinni and The Prince and the Carpet are translated into visual images.  Hopefully some of the magic of the wonderful stories and rugs shines through.”

– Bronwyn Theobald


Alison Hill
Paintings (Ink, gouache and pastel on paper)

For the last year or so I have been engaged in a process of exploring my visual preferences.  My quest began with the alpine heath of Hartz Peak, part of Tasmania’s world heritage wilderness area.  But life is so rich and changeable and so the work has flitted about a bit from landscape to interior, from books to films, from carpets and textiles to beauty and birds.  I have knotted together some of the threads that run through my life.  This is what I see.

It seems my preference is for rich vibrant colour over a dark ground.  It is a combination that, when encountered, vibrates on the retina and quickens the heart.  A very particular black ink is key.  It is the starting point.  The shadows of plants on water.  The darkness beneath the leaves.  The depths of eyes.  The storm in clouds and the velvety background against which the complex patterns, colours and stories of Persian carpets are woven.  I enjoy the chalky rich colour of gouache over this darkness.  Pastel takes the experience up another notch.

What also becomes apparent, is a preference for detail over big picture.  When I walk to Hartz Peak, my eyes seek the small pools and miniature worlds of moss and fern rather than the great lakes or grand vistas.

It is interesting to see, in retrospect, what I felt to be “paint-worthy”.  Sadly, there is not time enough for it all.”

– Alison Hill

Image Credits:
Ceramics by Bronwyn Theobald; Photographs by Robin Roberts.
Paintings by Allison Hill; Photographs by Rod Bochholltz

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