TEXTILES TOUR with VALERIE KIRK
21 March – 4 April 2020
Marrakech, Atlas Mountains, Sahara, Fes, Chefchaouen, Rabat
Travel with textile artist Valerie Kirk and explore the traditional Amazigh (Berber) crafts of Morocco at a grassroots level where women’s cooperative ventures present a range of textile creations melding age-old skills with new innovations.
In Marrakech we visit the exquisite new Yves Saint Laurent Museum featuring his fashion design as well as the Berber Museum that houses the Moroccan textiles and jewellery that inspired his work.
We then venture into the High Atlas Mountains and follow the ancient trade routes across the Tizi’n’Tichka Pass from Marrakech to the Sahara. Weavers of carpets and cloth, embroiderers and basket weavers are found in remote locations where they still employ their skills and maintain their traditional life style.
Next we make our way north to Fes and the blue city of Chefchaouen for a feast of colour and Islamic culture, finishing in the capital city of Rabat.
The tour includes hands-on experiences and demonstrations with local artisans. On the road in the mountains and Sahara we learn some exquisite embroidery techniques, tie knots to make rugs, explore some eco-dyeing using Rose Madder and Pomegranate.
Guest artist Valerie Kirk will share her skills and experience to allow participants to develop their ideas for textile design, drawing inspiration from the sublime landscape and rich cultural environment provided by the art and architecture of Morocco. The tour is not an intensive workshop as there is too much to see and experience in Morocco, but time will be devoted to sharing ideas, discussing colour, pattern, materials and trialling techniques for future development. You will be encouraged to keep a visual diary and create studies and samplers incorporating your ideas.
Accommodation is provided in the most comfortable traditional guesthouses, where we enjoy the extraordinary delights of Amazigh food and hospitality. You will discover the highlights of Morocco and the indigenous Amazigh culture that evolves and continues largely through the extraordinary textile traditions. We also enjoy music and a complete range of traditional cultural experiences and crafts.
Traveling with a small group of like-minded people and an experienced team of co-hosts the program offers an innovative and creative way to explore a new place that is stimulating, supportive and safe.
Valerie Kirk studied art and design at Edinburgh College of Art, where she discovered woven tapestry. As a recent graduate she came to Australia and worked in the Victorian (now Australian) Tapestry Workshop and travelled the country to teach in communities and colleges, work as an artist-in-residence, exhibit and lead community tapestry projects. She is an artist and tapestry weaver, writer, teacher and public figure who has made a significant contribution internationally.
While actively maintaining her practice as an artist, Valerie’s remarkable capacity for achievement has seen her research Australian Indigenous textiles, direct significant projects, guest lecture on international textile tours and create major works. During 2004-2019 she was commissioned to design and weave six major tapestries to celebrate Nobel/Japan/Kyoto Prizes in Science associated with the Australian National University.
Awards such as the Australia Council New Work grant, ACT Creative Arts Fellowship, Muse Arts Woman of the Year Award and the Canberra Centenary Community Tapestry project mark substantial success and her artwork can be seen in collections nationally and international.