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Tapestry as Art

Tapestry may well be a future design trend if artist Ruan Hoffman has anything to do with it. Known for his ceramic masterpieces, Ruan recently began dabbling in tapestry. The result is a piece he’s called Le Chemin, or ‘the path’ and is the entire first of a series soon to be exhibited in Europe. He refers to his tapestry work as a dream of his, one that has been made possible through the use of a mechanical loom, which he explains, makes it easier to replicate details and work more quickly than on a traditional hand loom. Of Le Chemin, Ruan explains that he has aimed for a 'mesmeric effect' – the kind you might experience walking through a labyrinth. He refers to this as 'taking your eyes and your mind for a walk'.

ruan2 Le Chemin: Wool and cotton mix with gold Lurex detail. Size 180x320cm. Photo credit: Jeroen Niezen

While his is a hands on, involved process to make each ceramic piece, his tapestry work is a group effort. 'Apart from me doing the drawings and approving the final yarn and colour separation and minor changes to the original design, the tapestries are basically out of my hands until the finished piece arrives at my house,' he says. As for what drew him to tapestry in the first place, Ruan explains, 'I have a great passion for this art form and always wanted to produce work in textile.' It's an exciting thought and while his first tapestry exhibition is taking place in Europe only for now, plans are afoot for an exhibition of large embroidered textiles based on his designs made by the women at the Mogalakwena Craft Art Development Foundation, which will likely take place at Mokgwalakwena Gallery in Cape Town in the near future.