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Rochester Art Gallery and Craft Case

Rochester Art Gallery and Craft Case features a changing programme of challenging and exciting contemporary visual art.

Four to five exhibitions a year showcase the work of local, regional and international artists - in disciplines from fine art and craft to digital media, performance art and film.

For all exhibitions, Rochester Art Gallery organises workshops and educational activities, often free, led by featured artists. Advance booking is essential as places are limited. Under 16-year-olds must be accompanied by an adult.


Exhibitions and activities

Margo Selby: Pick by Pick
14 December 2017 – 24 February 2018Mergo Selby

Rochester Art Gallery and the Huguenot Museum are delighted to announce their first partnership exhibition, featuring internationally renowned textile artist and designer Margo Selby. We are showcasing her beautiful hand-woven framed textiles, including new pieces made especially for this show, along with an archive of her design work.

The pieces on display are part of an ongoing collection of hand-woven artworks created using a technique called Lampas. Lampas is a term for a historic woven structure that was used by French weavers to create decorative brocade fabrics, and developed in England by Huguenot refugees. Margo is now using these weave structures in a new way to create stunning geometric framed works with a modernist feel.

Margo trained in textile design at Chelsea College of Art and Design and then followed this with a postgraduate degree at The Royal College of Art. On graduating in 2001, Margo initially worked as a woven textile designer for industrial mills. It was during this time she united her innovative hand-woven constructions with industrial machinery to create the unique 3-dimensional fabrics that were to become the trademark of the Margo Selby Brand(www.margoselby.com).

Since moving to Whitstable, Kent, in 2012, Margo has been focussing on her art practice creating hand-woven framed works exploring how colour and structure unite.

‘When designing a cloth for commercial use there are often so many boundaries; the repeat sizes, sampling considerations, and durability are some examples of these. I wanted to remove these boundaries and begin creating cloth as artwork simply for the sake of exploring colour and construction.’

In her commercial work Margo’s expertise in weaving is central to all the product development. The design process begins with hand-woven textile concepts, which are then developed with specialist mills and artisan weavers to create unique textile products that include furnishing fabric, carpet, rugs and accessories.

This colourful exhibition showcases the prolific portfolio of work Margo has created in her 15 year career as a textile artist and designer, along with preparatory work that reveals the extraordinary processes that go into handwoven textiles.

Rochester Art Gallery Curator, Allison Young, said ‘the meticulous design and weaving processes employed by Margo are both complex and fascinating, the thought that goes into the structure, texture and colours of each unique piece, be it a framed work or a scarf, is remarkable and painstaking. I am sure visitors will be fascinated to learn more about how these outwardly simple pieces are created by hand, from sketch to loom.’

Huguenot Museum Director, Dinah Winch, said ‘Huguenot silk weavers came to England in large numbers, as refugees from religious persecution, from the 1680s onwards. They created some of the most exquisite and technically daring silk fabrics in the world in the 1700s, transforming the English textile trade. Their legacy and influence continues to be felt today and we are delighted to be able to work in partnership with Rochester Art Gallery to show the work of an innovative and distinctive modern weaver in historical context.’

Margo has been supplying prestigious boutiques, galleries and department stores for many years and we are delighted that the Huguenot Museum shop will be showcasing a range of Margo’s textiles, including cushions and scarves from 1 November. Some of the work in the exhibition will also be for sale.

Workshops & Talks

Margo’s weaving workshop are always eagerly anticipated, and a two-day weaving workshop with Margo at the Museum is the highlight of an exciting programme of activities for all ages to accompany the exhibition.

Colour & Stripe Workshop with Margo Selby:

Sat 20 Jan 2018 10.30-12.30am                                 £20 per person.

This workshop is a yarn winding workshop which explores stripe, colour, palette and proportion. Suitable for anyone interested in either textile design or colour, this workshop is designed to help develop a confident instinctive approach to colour with the support of some basic theory.

Talk by Margo Selby: Sat 20 Jan 2018   2pm       £10, incl. Museum admission

Margo Selby will talk about her career as a woven textile designer and artist.  She will talk about the growth of her woven textiles brand alongside her art practice and how these two very different sides of her work compliment each other. Margo will give some insight into her commercial collaborations with partners including Osborne and Little, West Elm, John Lewis, Alternative Flooring and Transport for London. She will also talk about the work included in the Pick on Pick exhibition and the connection her artworks have with the Huguenot weavers, as well as the creative and technical processes behind these pieces. 

Talk by Olivia Horsfall Turner: Sat 3 February 2018, 2pm     £10, incl. Museum admission     

Pattern-drawing and silk-weaving: decoding the designs of the late ingenious Mr Leman

Olivia Horsfall Turner, Senior Curator of Designs at the Victoria & Albert Museum, explores the extraordinary work of Huguenot master weaver, James Leman, who worked in Spitalfields in the early 18th century. A large number of his designs, which transformed English silk design, survive in the V&A collection.

Two Day Weaving Workshop with Margo Selby:  Fri 16 & Sat 17 Feb 2018            £160 per person.

This workshop is suitable for all levels from complete beginners through to advance weavers who may want to look at their work with a fresh approach or learn a new technique. This weaving workshop is designed to build confidence and freedom when working on a hand-loom, to mix yarn and colour in creative combinations. Warped looms and weft yarns are provided. If you would like to bring your own loom set up and ready to weave you can do so but please liaise with Margo before the workshop to ensure that what you bring is suitable.

Family weaving workshop with Ann Bowdler from the Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers : Thurs 15 February 11am-2pm, Drop in.  £1 per child.

All workshops are bookable online at www.huguenotmuseum.org


Past exhibitions and activities

Marissa Mardon


Find all past exhibitions and activities




Arts news and events

Rochester Art Gallery promotes engagement, participation and accessibility to a wide audience.

Join our mailing list for arts news and events by contacting the Arts Development Team on

01634 338319 or arts@medway.gov.uk

Connect -  a Professional Artists' Network

Professional artists who live or work in Medway can join Connect. Contact the Arts Development Team.

Rochester Art Gallery also offers a CPD programme for professional artists that includes:

  • professional mentoring
  • artist's talks/panel discussions  
  • networking opportunities

Rochester Art Gallery and Craft Case is on the ground floor of the Medway Visitor Information Centre at

95 High Street, Rochester, Kent ME1 1LX

Opening hours

  • Monday to Saturday - 10am-5pm
  • Sunday - 10.30am-5pm
  • October to March - Closed on Sundays except during special events

Opening times may vary during bank holidays. Please check in advance.


Rochester Art Gallery is fully accessible with wheelchair access and disabled toilets.

Local history exhibitions

Exhibitions on local history can be found at the Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre and the Guildhall Museum.


Xtina Lamb