Monday, 17 September 2018

Copenhagen by Bike

I have recently returned from Copenhagen where I ran a number of workshops. I was generously hosted and had one of the best views across the city as my constant companion. I soon discovered that the best way to get around the city was by bike. So from the first day to the last, for work and for sightseeing, I did it by bike (two actually).

I spent the first day taking in some of the local must visit places and went to the Cisterns in  S√łndermarken Park to see the work of the internationally renowned artist Jeppe Hein (DK) in the underground’s labyrinthic colonnades of this old water cistern in an exhibition called IN IS THE ONLY WAY OUT. It was spellbinding, a perfect integration of art and place to create a unique experience taking you through the cavernous space.

Taking in a few of the better known Copenhagen attractions

Hans Christian Anderson Memorial in the Frederiksborg District Gardens

The Little Mermaid in the harbour
Home of 'Probably the Best Beer in the World' Carlsberg Factory
Church of Our Savior Christianshavn 
Christianshavn's Old commercial port

 Christiana Free Town
View from the Round Tower (the oldest functioning observatory in Europe. )
 More Bikes
Across the water from my home
A few snatches of my own fleeting impressions:

I also visited the Design Museum of Denmark
I particularly liked the Japanese Galleries and was able to see some fine examples of Kata Gami Stencils.

 Hokusai's Way of Painting Volume One
This tapestry by Nanna Hertoft, Forest Light uses the Japanese Ikat weaving technique and employs Indigo amongst other natural dyes.
Anne Marie Egemose, Gateway to Autumn, Horsehair, sisal and linen tapestry.

I was so enthralled by the museum as a whole I simply looked and forgot to take more images. Well worth a visit if in Copenhagen.

A glimpse of some of the work in progress as part of the workshops from looking at text to layering with dyes and plants. (thankyou to participants for allowing me to share images).

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Textile Landscape Reprint..excited. Packing and repacking for a busy show month.

I have spent most of the last few days getting work ready for a number of shows this month and hopefully have the right things in the right boxes.  Amidst all this flurry of activity, on the day of the launch of Textile Landscape I also heard it was already being reprinted.  I am overwhelmed by the news so thankyou to Batsford and all who have been involved with the book and those who are out the supporting it.
Unit Twelve exhibition opened on 6th September and continues until 15th December. Jennifer Collier has done an amazing job with the installation. Love the little cups with each artist's name.

Re-imagining the Doll's House opens at Maidstone Museum Saturday 15th and Bloom opens in the Netherlands at the end of the month. Both featured in my last blog and I will update with images next month.

I created my first (what will be irregular) posts for Mr XStitch under the title of 'Sense and Stitchability' this week. Motivation behind the world of stitch has always been of deep interest to me and this first article looks at Profanity Embroidery Groups recent exhibition 'Lady Garden'. A small exhibition with an equally relevant message about women's health issues.

Issue based work is also the subject of Keep Your Eye on the Planet, touring exhibition organised by Pascale Goldenberg which opens at the European Patchwork Meeting 13-16 September 2018. This project supports the work of the DAI-Organisation, a German/Afghan collaboration whose main function is to provide help for women and children, to promote education, to support nomads in remote areas
Detail of Bruised Heart (Remembering John Nash)

Given the turbulent times we live in it is relevant to remember that what humanity takes from the planet and what we do to ourselves always impacts on nature.
The most broken trees even had sprouted somewhere and in the midst, from the depth of the wood’s bruised heart poured out the throbbing song of a nightingale. Ridiculous mad incongruity! One can’t think which is the more absurd, the War or Nature?
John Nash (Letter home from the front 1916)

Last, but not least, I am excited to be taking part in the following international textiles exhibition 'World of Threads' in Canada. An extract from their latest posting about the event below:
World of Threads Festival
Saturday, 13 October 2018 to Sunday, 25 November 2018
The Festival is FREE, there is no admission charge.

Opening Reception:  Saturday, 20 October 2018,1:00 pm to 3:30 pm

Trees by Cas Holmes 

For information on all the exhibitions in Festival 2018 follow this link.

Festival Venue:
                    Queen Elizabeth Park Community and Cultural Centre
                  2302 Bridge Road, Oakville, Ontario, Canada.

We'll be open:
                     Monday to Saturday    10:00 am to 6:00 pm
                     Sunday                         12 noon to 5:00 pm

Festival 2018 will run for 6 weeks and exhibits in the Corridor Galleries and Display Area Gallery will remain up
for 3 months, (to end Dec. 31, 2018) coming down in Jan. 2019.

Head down now, last minute prep for the 

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Textile Landscape launches today 6th September

The day has arrived, for the launch of Textile Landscape. I am in debt to the artists, organisations and writers who have generously contributed to the wealth of work in its pages, to Jacqui Hurst for her sensitivity with the photography and finally to the Batsford team for their support on this publication and the incredible work they do on all their publications.

Reviews are already coming in both formally and informally.  This one is a snippet from a review on subscription website for WOWbook by Maggie Grey.
A short extract from an insightful review by John Hopper of Inspirational magazine (issue 18). 
'The textile interpretation of landscape through your hands and your eyes is her ultimate goal, and with this book that goal should be well within your grasp'

September will be a busy month. I am making preparations for my exhibition Tea Flora Tales  (in support of Plantlife) and Textile Landscape at the Knitting and Stitching Show which also launches a new body of work and related exhibitions some of which are featured in the book. 
September also sees the opening of the following exhibitions:
Kitchen Garden at Unit Twelve Gallery, Stafford (also opens today). An exhibition featuring all things connected to the quintessential English Garden. The private view is from 2.00-4.00 Saturday 8th September with a free paper watering can workshop by Jennifer Collier. Contact the gallery for more information on workshops and the exhibition
Pot of Rosie Lee. Detail Cas Holmes
Re-Imagining the Doll's House, at Maidstone Museum, Saturday 15 September to Saturday 12th November 2018. A collaborative exhibition looking at the museum's own collection of doll's houses and the interpretation of the wider themes connecting wider themes of 'small house' and home.
and finally, I am delighted to have been invited to take part in an exhibition 'Bloom' from 29 September 2018 to 27 January 2019.The exhibition marks the celebrations in Leeuwarden, European Capital of Culture. 
I will report further on the Knitting and Stitching Show and my delight in being accepted into the World of Threads Festival Ontario, Canada in my next blog. You can see further details on this link.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

'Wild', West Dean and a report on Fashioned by Nature

Fashioned by Nature is a superb exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum explores the complex relationship between fashion and nature from 1600 to the present day (on until 29 January 2019) 
The exhibition presents fashionable dress alongside natural history specimens, innovative new fabrics and dyeing processes, inviting visitors to think about the materials of fashion and the sources of their clothes.

On entry your look at how some exquisite examples of hand embroidery take their inspiration form the natural world and indeed, in subject, reflect how they were being influenced by flora and fauna beyond theses shores as the rich detailing of this waistcoat which includes monkeys reveals.

Waistcoat, 1780 – 1789, France. Museum no. T.49-1948. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London


Skirt with train, about 1890, England. Museum no. T.35-1950. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Womens embroidered top 17th against and embroidered bed cloth. 

Split across two floors with which you could divide into historical examples which covered a range of applications including the complexities and dangers of the dyeing industry (which you could replace with ‘dying’ in some cases. How industrialisation and mass production created both health problems particularly in the cotton industry and led to the current crisis we have surrounding issues of sustainability, the environment and ‘fast fashion’. 

Fashion over time has always led to some issues surrounding ethical use of materials and resources, dresses decorated with beetle wings, whalebone corsets. The attraction to using feathers or whole birds gave rise to the founding of the RSPB in protest. The organisation started life as the Society for the Protection of Birds (SPB), founded by Emily Williamson at her home in Manchester in 1889. The group quickly gained popularity and in 1891 it merged with the Fur, Fin and Feather Folk, to form a larger and stronger SPB, based in London.

The upper floor looks at the development of new products and re-use and a relationship to a sustainable future.

The uncomfortable truth is that because fashion is indeed 'made from nature', its current industrial practices gobble up staggering quantities of water, chemicals and fossil fuels, degrading the land and the diversity of nature's species while belching out 1.9 billion tonnes of waste per year.
Dilys Williams, Director of the Centre for Sustainable Fashion; Professor of Fashion Design for Sustainability, London College of Fashion

A conference on the 5th October will bring together industry experts to explore creative and practical ways to reduce the environmental impact of fashion, from small-scale innovations to new methods being introduced by global brands. 
 Two of my favourites were this landscape coat by Dries Van Noten.  What I would not do to wear that on the day that my book  Textile Landscape launches next month.
And this wonderful piece of designer upcycling by John Alexander Skelton

I only buy from charity shops (except for underwear) and am still wearing clothes from my college days and Mompei (work trousers) and a Yukata (which is my travel nightgown) purchased in Japan in the eighties

Talking of travelling, I have just  returned form a busy week at West Dean College on my summer school, Unfolding Landscapes. Found materials were used at participants explored individual landscape as they unfold and reveal their story The Summer School also includes a swapover session and I was delighted to find some of the participants to that short session utilising their improvised sketchbooks and drawing in the gardens in their free time. I return to West Dean in December.

A quick turnaround to spend the weekend at the Festival of Quilts. You can se a few images of members work represented in our show Wild below. We are touring the exhibition and will post updates on our website Art Textiles Made in Britain and on Facebook

Shards:group collaboration around the outside of the gallery
Sandra Meech

Hilary Beattie
Louise Baldwin
Edwina Mackinnon

Jenny Rolfe
 Pauline Barnes
Elisabeth Brimelow (guest artist)
Stephanie Redfern
Christine Restall
Jessica Grady (guest artist) and Sylvia Paul 
(Jenny Rolfe's work on back wall)
Rosie James
and my Trees shortly off to World of Threads in Ontario

Finally, a quick visit during my breaks allowed me to see:

The massive cathedral-like space containing the work of master colourist and mark-marker Nancy Crow. 

Ruth Singer's Criminal Quilts exhibition next of the most thought provoking shows as was:
UnFOLD and the Button Box project based on Lynn Knight's book of the same name) looking at issues surrounding women, identity and domesticity.

 Stuff for Thought finished its tour at Festival organised by Heidi Drahota marking the rights of cloth workers.