Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Days of Future...Past

The Moody Blues, Days of Future Passed. I grew up with that album playing in the background of my youth and I cannot believe how it is only now I really appreciate the sentiment in the music. Valuing each day before they pass to quickly and now I blink and a day is gone rather than the thousand years it felt in my childhood.

Enough sentiment, January is the start of the year and it was launched with a lovely interview by Karen Hollocks  in Pretty Patches Magazine. in which she discusses how my father influenced the way I take a look at the world.

Back to work with the best of all starts a meeting with my editor at Batsford/Pavilion and Jacqui Hurst photographer to discuss the shoot for my next book Textile Landscape: Painting with Cloth. This is my fourth book and the writing and decision making remains as complex and rewarding as ever. The book will be launched at several exhibitions and events planned over the year which also includes some exciting news about Tea Flora Tales.
Delighted to have supported Rowan's Hospice and Making Space in the Power of Tin auction in mid January. This little piece, Woodland Edge, part of a series themed: 'Landscape in a Tin' was printed on a tin sheet and sits in an old cigar tin.

Preparations for my trip to Australia in March are under way. Courses filled pretty quickly with Fibre Arts Australia so have squeezed in a couple of additional spaces at the Hub Creative Space in Townsville 22-24 March.
I am so excited to be meeting up with friends and getting creative 'down under'. Even so, thinking on 'Moody Blues' the days of the future will soon pass and I have just confirmed a creative teaching trip with Arts and Cultural travel to Italy in October (message me if you want any further details of any workshops)

'Concealed' with Art Textiles Made in Britain at Maidstone Museum and Art Gallery finishes on 10 February. A few glimpses of the show here. We have received visitors from all over the UK and indeed, one person flew in from Germany to see it. Thankyou for your welcome comments. A few pics from Meet the Artists in December
Rachel, Edwina and Sandra
 Christine, Stef, Hilary and Rosie
Cas, Rosie,
Ineke, Rosie, Pauline, Sylvia
 Looking at Tea Flora Tales
No not about to swear but rather the third exhibition coming up in Whitstable by the Profanity Embroidery Group  from the 14-20th February at the Fishslab Gallery.

I have sneak preview here of one or two pieces in progress which are themed around the ideas of misheard song lyrics. Sure to be intriguing. Take in Journeys with ‘The Waste Land’ at the Turner Contemporary  artists work based on the poem The Waste Land by TS Eliot at the same time.
 Bridget Carpenteer
 Susan Jessett
Amanda Tennant

“On Margate Sands.

I can connect
Nothing with nothing.”
(T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land)

Friday, 29 December 2017

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Janus is the god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, duality, doorways, passages, and endings. Depicted as having two faces, since he looks to the future and to the past. I always see this time of the year as both a time of reflection and of beginnings. Shogatsu, the Japanese New Year, becomes the time to settle your debts, clean house and mark time with friends as you face the new. With that in mind, tax return done, family to be visited but the house cleaning can wait until the Spring!
The Snowdrop is the adopted flower for January so entirely appropriate to share with you all. This features in Stitch Stories and one of the first meeting I have in the New Year is discuss photographs for my next book which is due out by the end of 2018.

Snowdrops were one of my father's favourite flowers. I always enjoy seeing them poke their heads up...for some this year, through the Snow but not a great deal here in the South East so far. My work over the last year has seen me travelling round most of Europe. I was delighted to be one of the first exhibitors at the Farnham Pottery early in the year and was able to trial a new installation 'Trees' at this amazing old pottery now turned artspace and café. This also supported the Canine Partners charity with a follow up exhibition at the Ox Market in Chichester.

I ran around a lot of Europe this year with short courses from the Netherlands, Germany and France as well is in the UK. Much of my work has recently included conservation and community linked projects with the regional Kent and Surrey Wildlife Trusts and with the Caring Hands project in the Medway towns.
Student drawing The Alpine Experience Les Carroz 2017. Delighted to be back end June 2018.
Note-Tins, Caring Hands project, Chatham.
I was involved with several articles on my work during the year ands delighted to featured in an article in Somerset Studio Magazine early in 2017. The front page features the installation Tea Flora Tales which will be exhibited at Nadelwelt in May (further news on subsequent showings to follow)

Loved this insightful article by the guys at Textileartist in the latter part of the year into my working practice. However, the interview which certainly got me at my most 'direct' is the Podcast by Stitchery Stories.How did we get onto Star Trek, fairground organs, and creativity vs linear thinking?

As we move into 2018 I am delighted to be back with Fibre Arts Australia and WRAPT in Queensland in March and April. My workshops filled very quickly but have recently added Go Create New England to the schedule.  I am also teaching in France and on the Summer School at West Dean.
Art Textiles Made in Britain 'Concealed' exhibition continues at Maidstone Museum and Art Gallery until 10th February. A little look at Unfolding Landscapes in position.
(See updates on workshops and exhibitions links on this blog for more information.)

I continue to enjoy the challenges these set for me and the opportunity to meet with new ideas, people and makers as well as re-affirm existing professional friendships. Thankyou to all who continue to support my work and bless you all with as many new and exciting things you wish for and the health of your family and friends.

travel takes place in the mind as much as across land or even continents.

Wishing you all the best for 2018 

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Concealed and Revealed

As we enter mid-winter the bare bones of the trees and landscape are revealed to us.
Many of the artists who are currently exhibiting as part of Art Textiles Made in Britain share an equal fascination for the landscape in addition to other subjects as part of their current exhibition Concealed currently on show at Maidstone Museum and Art Gallery.
Louise Baldwin

Rosie James

Stephanie Redfern

Cas Holmes

Hilary Beattie
The exhibition opens on Saturday 9 December and closes February 10th. A workshop will also be held by Cas Holmes on the closing day. Some of the artists will be there on Saturday 16th December from 1-4pm if you would like to pop in and say hello.

As the year closes I am pleased to announce I handed in my copy to Batsford for my next book which connects cloth to the landscape. I have a photograph planning meeting early in January and will update with news as more details are confirmed.

I am also planning new works for exhibition in 2018 including a guest exhibition at  Nadel-welt in Germany with Common-Land and the global collaboration Tea-Flora-Tales (pictured below at the European Patchwork Meeting in 2014).
 I also had a rare day out and went to the Victoria and Albert Museum to visit The Women's Hour Craft Prize. Well worth a visit if a little tucked away. Loved this dancing shadow on the wall in the collections as I walked through.
A bonus was this fabulous photographic art exhibition Into the Woods. Photography was my secondary subject at art college. I was glad I do not need to carry around Hasellblads or full plate camera's today
 Especially liked Korean artist Bae Bien's Pine Trees
 and Ansel Adams, Aspens, Northern New Mexico, 1958
Yosemite Valley, to me, is always a sunrise, a glitter of green and golden wonder in a vast edifice of stone and space. I know of no sculpture, painting or music that exceeds the compelling spiritual command of the soaring shape of granite cliff and dome, of patina of light on rock and forest, and of the thunder and whispering of the falling, flowing waters. At first the colossal aspect may dominate; then we perceive and respond to the delicate and persuasive complex of nature.
— Ansel Adams, The Portfolios Of Ansel Adams

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

From Conception to Creation and on to Caring Hands

Creating work with limited resources sometimes leads to an unexpected outcomes.
Board in studio photo by Richard Torble photography 

As we move through to Autumn I am drawn to the fact that not only are the days getting colder but also the available daylight is lessening in intensity and time. I like to stitch and do my colour work in daytime so need to manage my time effectively. Working with restrictions on my space, time and even materials can, in fact, liberate rather than constrict my ideas and lead to unexpected outcomes. This is discussed in more detail on my recent article  From Conception to Creation on Textile Artist as part of a series of interviews looking behind the artist's process.

Sometimes these limitations are out of our control or choice I recently worked on a project with ‘at risk’ and homeless  adults in partnership with Caring Hands and Nucleus Arts in the Medway Towns. The project, situated in Chatham provide vulnerable people with  access to the essentials required for them to survive, from food to showers to advice and activities.  A friendly hand of help to those who need it.

We made ‘Note tins’ to provide individuals with a small waterproof notebook or even sketchbook at the same time participants were also able to engage and chat across the table whilst learning new skills. Thankyou to a few individuals and the manager at Argos in Maidstone who provided some of the materials required (some of you bright eyed amongst may recognise some former copies of WOW magazine which were published in the Medway towns until recently by Emma Dewhurst). Thrilled to say that Art Textile Made in Britain opens their exhibition Concealed at Maidstone Museum Next month bringing their work to the South for the first time. Will report on this in a future blog.
Recent cycle rides through the park on my way to teach at my local Adult Education Centre draws my attention back to the trees as I enjoy the bones of their trunks and branches against the glow of leaves and mist. Certainly colder. 

Some of these ideas may even figure in my next publication with Batsford due out next year. More news to follow.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Knitting and Stitching Show, Page 17 and Campaign for Creativity

I visited the Knitting and Stitching Show over the Weekend (which is next at Harrogate) and was able to take in Page 17 organised by the Embroiderer's Guild. A unique body of work by members who bring the words of Page 17 of their current favourite book to life. This is a unique and exciting display of work which was proving popular with the visitors. A few snippets are included below (apologies for not naming the artists and work, there are so many pieces)

Edges of Australia. (my Page 17)

One of the most compelling exhibits in terms of need was the Campaign for Creativity organised by Twisted Thread and supported by the Embroiderer's Guild. Anthea Godfrey, Artistic Director of The Embroiderers' Guild, said: “The rigid nature of the national curriculum provides little opportunity or time for children to express themselves creatively, artistically or professionally. Creativity is vital to child development, not only as a means of expression and communication but to support life skills such as problem-solving, strategic thinking and resilience. Creative thinkers hold the key to the UK’s future success, not just in culture and the arts but across business and industry too. To enable creative students to have opportunities to select, embrace and qualify in creative subjects incrementally in the same pathway development as scientists, lawyers, doctors and others is vital in their long term development.” I urge you sign the petition. (Read more about the campaign here.)

Finally, but not least, a little about the galleries. There are many including Ann Small, Jo Beattie, Diana Harrison, Rachael Howard,  Haf Weighton, Sarah Waters, Studio 21,The Graduate Showcase and Royal School of Needlework. You can see more on the Harrogate listing. I had little time to visit so once again a report on the few I was able to take in.

Studio 21 presented a personal favourite, The Sewing Machine Project.The group worked on this theme for two years and subjects range from sewing machine mechanics, decoration and operation to personal, cultural, political and social histories. A comprehensive body of work that reflects their personal interest in this transformational machine.
 Denise Jones
 Liz Heywood
 Sandra Meech
Debbie Lyddon

Diana Harrison presented a selection of past exhibition projects, together with a new collection in her sublime exhibition Traces in Cloth which demonstrated the depth of her research and process. 

Next door was Rachael Howard's vibrant 'Red Work' exhibition of large-scale figurative work inspired by 19th century redwork story quilts – for her, the Instagram of their day.. 
The day went quickly. It was good to catch up with friends, see some stuff and have a day of not doing things that 'had to be done'.  All too soon I was winding my way to the rail station.