The last weekend in November can only mean one thing for textile lovers, The Knitting & Stitching Show in Harrogate. I’ve been visiting the show for many years but my reasons for visiting have changed during this time. I have attended as a hobbyist, a student and now as an artist which means that I’m looking at the exhibitions from a different perspective.
This year I went with a friend and fellow artist Leigh Bowser, we both had a favourite exhibition hall which housed the galleries, filled with exciting textile pieces by a variety of artists and makers. I was keen to see how the works were presented this year and to view pieces in detail that I have only seen online. I know from experience that textiles can be difficult to photograph well so it’s wonderful to see work whenever you get the opportunity.
There were so many artists to see this year so I have selected a few of my favourites to share with you.
un.FOLD work together to create that experiments with different textile processes while examining their external environment. Christine Chester, Christina Ellcock, Leslie Morgan, Sally Skaife, Sarah Welsby work together to create art that allows each of them, in their own unique way, to try and make sense of their innate curiosity.
The collection of work they exhibited included a beautiful recording of the sea and a collection of stitched images incorporating found objects from the coastline.
Alice uses found objects to make marks, allowing them to stain the fibres and stitches that she surrounds them with. This becomes a collaboration between object and artist. Alice presents her findings with reference to traditional ways of displaying natural history collections.
Alice’s work was beautifully presented and I loved her use of rust dyeing with woven elements.
Cos Ahmet’s practice is made up of a combination of disciplines including woven tapestry, collage, printmaking and object making. Here is a beautiful quote from Cos about Thread is a Thought:
I am interested in the notion of the body as a vessel or container. An object that sustains memory, emotions, gestures among many others, where ‘body’ and ‘material’ react with each other, one being the vessel or carrier and the other being the gesture or emotion that is carried, and vice versa. These stand as metaphors, representing the figure as: ‘thread’ as thought, ‘warp’ as skeleton, ‘weft’ as flesh or skin, and the ‘weave’ as the soul. These ‘collected gestures’ will take on their own symbolism and appearance, but will be implicit presences, traces or imprints of identity.
Interlace is a collaboration between textile artists Ruth Singer & Bethany Walker using delicate, manipulated textile set into concrete. The two makers came together to explore the potential of Ruth’s textile manipulations with Bethany’s concrete compositions in new, organic forms.
I have seen lots of images from Interlace online but even a great photograph doesn’t show the wonderful details where the fabric and concrete meet. Lacey outlines and thread imprints make these pieces of work fascinating to look at.