Sophie Tarbuck

Lambís wool, natural dye jacquard weave. 720 x 31300 mm



Component Weave is part of ‘Building Blocks’, a set of new work created by Sophie Tarbuck and commissioned especially for High Cross House, Dartington, Devon.


In the summer of 1925 Leonard and Dorothy Elmhurst, in pursuit of an ideal purchased the remains of the ancient estate of Dartington in Devon. This consisted of two farms, woodlands and the buildings and grounds of a medieval Hall.

As part of this ideal they founded a co-educational boarding school, which under the direction of W.B.Curry, gained international reputation and notoriety as centre for 'free' education.

W B Curry persuaded Leonard and Dorothy Elmhirst to scrap the existing plans they had for the headmaster's house and instead employ William Lescaze, a Swiss-born American architect, and one of the pioneers of modernism in American architecture. It was his view that a progressive school should have a progressive architect, and the Elmhirst's agreed. High Cross Hill House was the first of the International Modern Style buildings to be built at Dartington.


The work in these two rooms at High Cross House not only references the buildings space, planes, surface, and volume but also looks at all the components that make up Dartington and a school devoted to scientific rural development and educational experiment. 


The textiles department at Dartington Hall was founded in 1927 by Hermon (Toby) Fitzpatrick. The entire process of turning wool into cloth – bleaching, dyeing, combing, spinning, weaving and finishing – was carried out here. 


In 1945 Dorothy Elmhirst commissioned renowned weaver Elizabeth Peacock to create a series of modern hand-woven banners for the Great Hall, representing the departments at Dartington. Dorothy Elmhirst wrote in the Dartington Hall News in October 1945:


"To some people, the significance and the meaning of the banners will, no doubt, seem obscure and abstract, to others indefinite and vague. But … art is not tied to representation … it can be the free expression of the artist's vision in terms of form and colour, of pattern and compassion, achieving unity in harmonious relationship of all the elements involved." 

The banners still hang in the Great Hall today.


Component weave is a digital jacquard weave comprising 12 components. Inspired by the original banners hanging in the Great Hall and using mainly naturally dyed lamb’s wool, the components are diagrammatic representations of 12 elements of Dartington: textiles, research, service, school, dance/drama, forestry, building, farms, poultry, gardens, orchards and crafts. Each element is seen as equal to the next.


All rights reserved. 
Copyright © Sophie Tarbuck.