Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Anni Albers, Cloth and Trade

This last few weeks have been busy and this does not look to change anytime soon. However in the midst of that I was able to take in the fabulous Anni Albers exhibition at the Tate Modern. 
A leading artist of modernist abstraction movement, Albers was born in Berlin in 1899 of a Jewish family. After the rise of Nazism in the Germany which forced the famous Bauhaus school to close she fled to the USA with her husband Josef Albers where they founded the innovative Black Mountain College in North Carolina.

I first encountered Albers' work, through my engagement with tutor and mentor Janis Jefferies as a student at Maidstone College of Art. I have in my possession two seminal books from that period of time The Art Fabric ; Mainstream (1981) and Beyond Craft; The Art Fabric  written by Mildred Constantine and Jack Lenor Larson and was thrilled to see such a large body of work in the flesh.

Her dominant concern as always been between medium and process and the exhibition at the Tate provides some of the best representations I have seen making to make that connection visible with samples of her own working process, students and colleagues work and clear references to the theory and practice of weaving.
Detail of Black, White and Yellow, (and below) woven by Gunta Stölzl 1965 under the direction of Anni Albers. The original 1926 version was thought to have been lost in the Second World War

The final rooms of the exhibition held ethnographic samples as well as drawings prints and textiles samples. These are evidence of the research undertaken for her seminal book 'On Weaving published in 1965.
Design for Unexecuted wallhanging 1926



 Room 6, The Pliable Plane explores the relationship between textiles and architecture


Painted effigy cloth, Cotton.  Peru 1100-1300



As stepped out of the exhibition I could see that the patterns and images of the world outside are so clearly reflected in the weaving samples inside the exhibition. I urge you, if there is one exhibition you see this year, see this one.It is on until 27th January 2019.


On a related note, the subject of cloth and clothing, product and consumption,  discussed in my current blogpost for Mr Xross Stitch, an Unfair Trade. There is also a feature review by Ailish Henderson of Textile Landscape






Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Two and more for Tea Flora Tales....the Knitting and Stitching Show

Just arrived back from the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace. The response to Tea Flora Tales has been overwhelming. It was so good to see people interacting with the installation and finding their favourite pieces. Along the way we have raised a good amount of money for Plantlife . I will reveal more after the show moves on to Harrogate. Thankyou to the Embroiderer's Guild UK and the Knitting and Stitching Show for their support of this project.
A contingent of beauties from the Profanity Embroidery Group (PEG) in Kent playing with Tea Flora Tales. Read about them here on Mr Xross Stitch
I am sure I did not get all my words in the right places at the right time so to those of you who may have got rather strange responses from me as days went on..I apologize. I enjoyed meeting each and every visitor. The support and help from all who have been involved has been phenomenal from the team that help set up and take down to the volunteers who not only came to assist on the stand,  but became excellent ambassadors for Plantlife. 

It was a powerful show this year with many exhibitors working around emotionally charged themes. The 100 Hearts by The Embroiderers' Guild in partnership with SSAFA Charity, Wiltshire proving a favourite with the visitors. The pieces commenting and commemorating of family, loss and life.  (You do not see many in my images as I could only sneak photos at the beginning of the day before visitors arrived)

 Roxanne Hawksley's Pale Armistice in the foreground.

Top Brenda Parsons for Lucy Margaret Nesbitt, Vad,  Bottom, Jill Munday, For the Canary Girls, and Annette Collinge, Machine Gun Corps.
Phillippa Mogridge, ...and the Earth Ran Red with Blood,  Juliet Bryon, Patricia Iles, Anthea Godfrey, To Dress Extravagantly in Wartime is Worse than Bad Form and Siew Ong Hinchcliffe.  Anthea currently has an inspirational interview on Stitchery Stories Podcast and is the driving force behind the Campaign for Creativity to retain creativity in schools.
Jenni Dutton's powerful comment on Dementia and Aging in wool and thread portraits proved emotionally charged in its intimate reflection of a subject shared as a common experience for many.
 Nigel Cheney, Decorated Tour of Duty, Sentinels in Cloth reminds us that the division between uniform and mortality is a very fine one.
Caren Garfen, What's Going on Upstairs reflect upon the devastating world of eating disorders in another emotionally loaded and powerful comment on a difficult subject.
 Emily Tull, 10 Years of Markings and Unmarkings and the nature and power of stitch as a tool for marking, drawing and painting.
Dionne Swift and Collective Stitches a collaborative exhibition of artist and student work which celebrates what we all learn as part of the student and teacher partnership.
Dawn Hemming, Spiralling Out, Hand knit circular textiles one of the few very welcome exhibits in knitted textile.
 Carol Naylor, A  Stitched Timeline from the 70's to Today marking the incredible strength in her work reflecting landscape in stitched cloth over the years.
Fabricated Narratives...Alyson Midgelow Marsden, Helene Carpenter, Di Halstead and Marianda Twydell. I like the way this exhibition was carefully curated in a small space as if giving an intimate portrayal into an 'artist's collective studio'  celebrating process and ideas in collaboration.

Not all the artists represented at Alexandra Palace move on to the shows at Dublin and Harrogate so please check the Knitting and Stitching Show website for further details.

Finally, a little glimpse of the other part of my show which includes some pieces from Textile Landscape. (The book sold out on the morning of the third day so apologies for those who came to get a copy.)

I will be at Harrogate on stand TG15, come and say hello.


Oh, and my heart, dedicated to both my grandfathers and Edith Cavell, a great Norfolk heroine. This piece will be on show at Norwich Cathedral where Cavell is buried.






Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Tea Flora Tales and Textile Landscape at the Knitting and Stitching Shows


Six years after its inception Tea Flora Tales an ongoing stitched collaboration  which started its life at the Knitting and Stitching Shows in 2012 returns to Ally Pally, London and Harrogate (home to good Yorkshire tea and Betty's Tea Room). It is fitting as we mark the centenary year of the end of the First World War that this informal gathering of stitching has taken on a new meaning. More recently, images of Poppies, Cornflowers, Forget-Me-Nots and Rosemary marking the ‘peace’ to be found in the landscape and natural world have entered into the work. I am humbled by how such a small seed as grown and how this piece has become ‘stitched testament’ to our need to come together in sometimes turbulent times. I am equally thankful to all of you who have contributed and for the support of the Embroiderers' Guild, (who also have on display their 100 Hearts project) Upper Street Events and Nadelwelt Karlsruhe who have equally helped to raise the awareness of our need to protect Wildflowers and their habitat and the ongoing support of the charity Plantlife.




 Mandy Jayne Bridger and Cathy Ferraby
Pauline Kennigton (left), Jenni Ellaway (right)
Above are just a few more recently sent in by Embroiderers Guild members. They really have come in from all over the world and you can still create one at the show. You can also help to prune the flowers back and take one home with you (making a small donation to Plantlife at the same time).
Sir John Lawer School
From Embroiders in Mons, Belgium

At The European Patchwork Meeting in 2014 and a little video 
 The Beaney, Canterbury 2013
Quilt Festival Luxembourg 2016

Tea Flora Tales has been shown at many places over the last few year including Mons in Belgium, Visions Art Museum in California and Opendrawer in Melbourne, Australia. You can read more about it here.
Some of my pieces which feature in Textile Landscape (Batford 2018) will also be displayed including this work, Medway Gap, which forms the front cover. I will do a report on my return. 

This has been a busy month for exhibitions. 'Bloom' opened last weekend and continues through until 27 January 2019. It marks the celebrations of Leeuwarden as European Capital of Culture in the Netherlands. 
Also my installation Trees opens at the World of Threads Festival in Ontario or 13th October (until 25 November.)


The reception date is:
Sat. Oct. 20, 2018 1:00 – 3:30 pm and features an amazing 303 artworks by 65 artists from Canada, Denmark, England, Hungary, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Russia and USA. 

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

Dates: Sat. Oct. 13 - Sun. Nov. 25, 2018
Hours: Mon. – Sat. 10:00 am – 6:00 pm.  Sun. 12:00 – 5:00 pm
Best of all admission is FREE

Festival brochure available here.
Check out updates and news on social media.
Lastly, I have a small piece in the current exhibition Re-Imagining the Doll's House at Maidstone Museum. Curated by Veronica Tonge this collaborative exhibition looks at the museum's own collection of doll's houses and connects to wider themes of 'small house' and home.It is on until 12 November. A fascinating exhibition, please pop in if you can.