Growing up in the Belgian town of Oudenaarde, Dorothea Van De Winkel became fascinated by local tapestry traditions at a young age. Later on, she decided to make her own tapestries and followed a multitude of training courses. The textile artist works on a traditional Basse-Lisse loom to transform pencil drawings into beautiful hand-woven tapestries.

Galerij Theaxus is situated in the picturesque village of Kwaremont, where designer and textile weaver Van De Winkel demonstrates her skills on the loom before guiding visitors through the exhibition area. “Tapestry weaving is labour intensive, but I use a modern technique which is faster than the olden days,” says Van De Winkel. “The biggest pieces I make are 240 by 185 centimetres, and it takes me four to five months to complete one. That is, if I work eight hours a day, five days a week.  But I have been known to get very engrossed in my work. When there’s an exhibition coming up, I have to work faster to be finished in time. Luckily, I have a very devoted mother who supports me.”

Van De Winkel’s work has been exhibited abroad and has won several prizes. Her original designs originate in her head. “I draw my memories, my thoughts,” she says. “With a pencil I pour them into abstract shapes, or my own figurative graphics. Then I might add some colour with paint. I enlarge the picture by hand and use that design as the basis for my tapestry.” Galerij Theaxus’ exhibitions also host other artists, with a variety of art forms on show. The gallery is well worth a visit for those who appreciate craftsmanship interwoven with contemporary art.

Galerij Theaxus, Craftsmanship interwoven with contemporary art, Dorothea Van De Winkel

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