Carmel O'Connor - Tapestry Now!

Fine art tapestry

The Budgeon's display case in the Richmond Library foyer

415 Church Street, Richmond (Melbourne)

22 June to 19 September 2017

Review by Sophie Skarbek

Some of the small tapestries in Carmel O'Connor's display


I saw this show when I visited the Library a couple of weeks ago and was drawn to the rich wonderland of images, so when I was asked to write it up by Cressida, I said YES with pleasure.

It is a fascinating exhibition of mostly small tapestries which sparkle and bewitch with lovely colours. Majority are images of public buildings and houses in Darlington, well documenting the history of this town, it’s past and it’s present. Darlington is a town in the Western District of Victoria, a district I know well, spending two years of my life in the area. The tapestries show us the rich diversity of this town’s buildings. Looking at the display, I felt immersed in it’s atmosphere. I think it’s very important to preserve Australia’s small towns and their history, and it is sad to watch their demise. The meticulous drawings and descriptions Carmel uses, not only display preparation for her tapestry work but also contribute to this town’s preservation

I also enjoyed the larger tapestry based on a poem “A question of Manners’ by Rodney Hall. It humorously describes an occasion when Queen Victoria visited a house in a village and followed her hostess’s way of drinking tea from a saucer. This way the Queen demonstrated her good manners, but poor Mrs Higgings was left disappointed as she wished to see the Queen delicately sweeping the cake crumbs and drinking tea from a cup. As a child Carmel drank tea from a saucer with her great aunt and that memory stayed with her and was the inspiration for this tapestry.

Carmel describes her work as ‘Fine Art Tapestry made from cotton, linen, lurex and wool threads.’ Hence the sparkle! and the texture.

There are small images of Darlington Front Doors and Buildings also hand made cards in packs with envelopes which would make lovely cards to send friends for various occasions. Carmel studied Tapestry as a sub-major at Monash and since then Carmel makes a tapestry whenever she wants to mark an important event in her life.

Carmel also displays for us the tools she uses for her Art and these are a loom with stand on which a started work shows intertwining threads, there are wooden bobbins, spools of multicoloured threads, her visual diary and books on the Art of Tapestry

Carmel’s Curriculum Vitae describes her studies in Art, her work as an Art Teacher, Facilitator, Painter and Printmaker, her Exhibitions and numerous awards. This includes being a finalist in Archibald Prize Exhibition.

Sincere Congratulations Carmel on all your many achievements.

I enjoyed Carmel’s show very much as did the Librarians I talked to and people who stopped to view it. As can be seen in the CAS website, it is an enchanting show, and I am so happy I saw it and I highly recommend it to CAS Members. It’s lovely and well worth the trip to Richmond Library.



Darlington Front Doors, tapestries by Carmel O'Connor


A Question of Manners, after Rodney Hall, tapestry and poem, by Carmel O'Connor


Full view of Carmel O'Connor's display


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