Sunday, 9 February 2020

Sayonara Japan, Hello Maidstone and Newport

I have just returned from a trip to Japan whilst exhibiting with Art Textiles Made in Britain for the Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival which I will report on later in this blogpost. Meanwhile, I am preparing for the launch of Gypsy Maker 4 in Newport which opens on 17th March. The detail below is from one of the pieces I will be exhibiting called Take (which means bamboo in Japanese).


My early studies in Japan work and along with my family history have had a lasting influence on my work. My return after 35 years made me fall in love with both the place and its people all over again. The exhibition experience was overwhelming and we met by so many enthusiastic visitors it was hard to see across the gallery space. (The masks are the Japanese taking they usual regards for health and each other)
Even so, I managed to get a few images of the space at the beginning and end of each day.I loved how people engaged with the work.


 One enterprising lady even tried on my jacket.

You can take a tour of all the members works on these two short videos links from ATMIB Facebook page Link One and Link Two
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It was not all work, I often took an early morning walk and in the few days break before returning home I managed to explore locally.

View from the top of the Tokyo Dome Hotel of Mount Fuji and from my bedroom window.


 Omikuji at many of the small and larger shrines in Tokyo
Looking out from the 7th century Sensoji, Buddhist temple in the Asakusa Shrine.
Apricot Blossom, Asakusa
And a few everyday things on the streets:



 I also went to visit Team Lab Borderless, Mesmerising:
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Returning back in the UK. Trees is currently on show with Art Textiles Made in Britain at Maidstone Museum and Art Gallery until 29th February. The subtle background music from the Japanese gallery seems apt.

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Finally, a walk through the Torii gates at Nezu Shrine. These literally mark the entrance to sacred areas. I carry the memory of this magical place with me until the next time.

Sunday, 19 January 2020

Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival and other travels

I am getting ready to leave for Japan with Art Textiles Made in Britain for the Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival this month. I am so looking forward to this short revisit after studies early in my career. 
I am working on one of the pieces which also features as the front cover of Textile Landscape above. While I am away, My colleagues at Art Textile Made in Britain will be installing our exhibition Wild at Maidstone Museum and Art Gallery.  Local artists will be there on 8th February 1.00-4.00 pm to answer questions about the work. Further details of future events can be found under exhibitions link on this blog 
Gypsy Maker 4 opens for its tour on 15th February at the Riverfront Gallery, Newport the birthplace of my Romany Grandmother. I  am proud to be involved with this exhibition with the sculptor Dan Turner an initiative that supports the development of innovative works by established and emerging Gypsy, Roma and Traveller artists. The exhibition is supported by Romani Cultural and Art Company and Arts Council Wales will tour to three venues:
The Riverfront, Kingsway, Newport from 17th February -16th March
Rug, Unit 16, Ground Floor, Capitol Centre, Queen Street, Cardiff, 21st March-18th April.
The Factory, Jenkin Street, Porth, 27 April-22 May. 
It is appropriate as I set off my travels that I started the year with a new course at West Dean College 'Mapping Your Space'. As the wind created its own soundscape as it whistled around the building as we worked it was not until the final day we saw some sunshine as it shone on the wonderful flint of the walls.
I have two more courses coming up at West Dean in May and June. Just follow the link to my page hereBelow are a few images of work in progress (Thankyou to the participants for allowing me to reproduce them).
Bev Behrens
Alison Todd
Catherine Keane
Kath Lawton
Liz Corrigan
Terina Foster-Friend
Jan Slater
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Jan Tregidgo
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I have two more courses coming up at West Dean in May and June. Just follow the link to my page here.This time my mug will not be with me. I lost htis on my way to Chichester. Lets see if I can keep hold of stuff on this trip! I will be posting updates on Facebook and Instagram pages as I travel.

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Looking Back, Looking Forward 2019-2020

Another year has passed and as we enter the 'roaring twenties' I am thankful for the friendship and support over the last decade. The last ten years has had its ups and downs both personally and in the greater global picture.
It is ten years since the release of my first publication for Batsford, The Found Object in Textile Art. Given the current debate on re-use and sustainability the book remains equally today. I am grateful to Batsford for supporting my writing and developing my voice.
2019 opened with my exhibition Painting With Cloth at Rochester Art Gallery. This marked the publication of my fourth book Textile Landscape. In the week the show opened I received the news it was reprinted again alongside Stitch Stories. The exhibition toured to Queen Street Gallery in Wales and will continue into 2020.
I have been wandering, walking and working throughout the year visiting friends and colleagues, teaching and developing ideas for new work. It has been, as always, the small details of everyday life and the changes reflected in the landscape drawing my attention from the sun on the wildflowers by the side of the road in Spain and France to stone walls in Western Ireland and a magical tree house where I stayed in Colorado. I always carry those memories of people and place with me. Thank you for the friendship and treasured times.


As we move into the change to the New Year, the foundation for what is to come has been laid. Such is the nature of needing to plan ahead, I am sure, there will be many challenges to be faced and unexpected surprises to be discovered.
Packing is underway for my trip to Japan with Art Textiles Made in Britain for the Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival this month. I am so looking forward to this short revisit after studying paper and textiles there early in my career.
Gypsy Maker 4 opens in February for its tour. As a person with Roma heritage I  am proud to be involved with this exhibition and it positive focus on the 'Traveller Communities'. It can sometimes be a hard 'walk through this world'.I reported on both these projects in my last blog. Travelling and working is not without its problems. As reported in my last blog, I lost work at the end of the year in a portfolio at Brussels station. This work, 'Tilburg to Mallety' (Unfolding Landscape) is another of the several pieces created as I travelled Europe in 2016-17 to be lost. 

Working with other remains a focus beginning with a course at West Dean. I am delighted to be teaching at Sweet Nothings in South West France and the Alpine Experience over the Summer before going to Australia with Fibre Arts Australia in September.  (I hope for all my friends and colleagues in Australia the devastating fires are under control soon.) As the weather warms I will also be running workshops in the UK including Hope and Elvis and Lund Studios. Most are full or only have a few spaces left.

For all workshops and exhibitions please follow the relevant headings on this blog

Delighted to be featured in SEW Region Magazine  (South East West Region of the Embroiderers Guild) in  December
I caught up with family in East Anglia over the holidays. Love the cold calm of the landscape.


 And found the Pedlars Cottage in Beccles

Here is hoping that the next decade is a fairer one and wishing you all a cleaner and more peaceful planet.