Knitting & Stitching Show 2017

The textile galleries are a chance to view the work of established and emerging artists, I love to explore the work and meet the artists to find out about their inspiration and processes. This year there were a few standout pieces that I wanted to share.
Jo Beattie: Precious Memories
Jo Beattie’s work, like my own looks at memory and objects and how we can capture these using stitch.
I loved the shadows produced by her work and the characters she creates, the work was beautifully presented in white frames or as 3D pieces in custom stands or as an installation. My favourite piece was Tumbling Memories, a suitcase suspended from the ceiling with an array of characters tumbling from it.
Jo Beattie Tumbling Memories

Jo Beattie Tumbling Memories

Jo Beattie Tumbling Memories Detail
Jo Beattie Tumbling Memories Detail

Fi Oberon: The Natural World

I have always loved wool felt as a raw material, so I was fascinated by Fi Oberon’s work and the wonderful creatures that she creates.

Inspired by our natural heritage Fi creates fabulous animals from felt and places them in a textile landscape.

The beautiful creatures are featured in Fi’s first book, The Natural World of Needle Felting. The book is divided into four chapters: Uplands, Frozen Plains, Farmyard and Fields and Coast. The creatures Fi exhibited were in their own wonderful landscapes and the book also includes details like how to make your own plants and trees.

My favourite piece from the exhibition was, like some of my own work inspired by the coastline.

Fi Oberon: Coastal Birds
Fi Oberon: Coastal Birds

Studio 21: The Sewing Machine Project

The group shows at The Knitting & Stitching Show are a chance to see how different artists respond to the same theme. Something which I have done on projects like Thackray Uncovered and Weave // Fragments.

The Sewing Machine Project by Studio 21 was a well curated show with a fascinating mix of 2D and 3D pieces on display. I loved the use of colour and how each artist had responded differently to the theme.

Sam makes stitched sculptures, drawings and collages, predominantly by stitching and manipulating mixed media. Inspired by the unexpected diversity, beauty and quirkiness of the World; particularly the colour, movement and incredible shapes found in the sea and the mythical creatures they evoke. Central to her work is the haptic experience of combining materials for their contrast and contradiction. By juxtaposing ordinary materials with traditional processes it is hoped that the viewer is drawn in for a double-take. Research through drawing and reading informs her imagination, enabling her to work organically: constructing as a response to the materials she picks up.

Samantha Harvey LEnigme
Samantha Harvey LEnigme

Amarjeet Nandhra is a practising artist, currently working with print, mixed media and stitch. Trained in Graphic Communication, she has also worked as an Art Director on various independent short films. As a freelance tutor and lecturer, she has taught a range of courses; printmaking, mixed media and textiles, at Diploma level, City & Guilds, in Adult Education, schools and in the community.

Amarjeet Nandhra The Shirt on Your Back
Amarjeet Nandhra The Shirt on Your Back

If you’ve never visited the show before I highly recommend a visit in 2018, the show also takes place in London and Dublin. You can visit the exhibitions and pick up supplies from beads and buttons to vintage fabrics and interfacings.

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Notes from the Studio

Autumn is a busy time for me, my regular teaching jobs at The Tetley and The West Yorkshire Playhouse begin in September which means less time in the studio. I’ve also had some one-off workshops with the Love Arts Festival and Whitby Museum.

Dinosaur in Progress, Whitby Museum
Dinosaur in Progress, Whitby Museum

I’ve been spending quite a bit of time in Whitby recently, researching the collection for my exhibition next year. It’s been a great opportunity to spend time in the museum focusing on different parts of the collection, sketching and taking photographs.

Sketchbook Page
Sketchbook Page
Lost Property Charm Bracelet
Lost Property Charm Bracelet

The collection has parallels with objects from my childhood so I will be using this as my starting point for the exhibition. I will be visiting the museum again before Christmas to finish my research. I have also begun to make some samples in the studio, inspired by the narwhal skeleton photographs from my earlier visit.

Narwhal Backbone Sample
Narwhal Backbone Sample
Narwhal Backbone Sample
Narwhal Backbone Sample
Narwhal Skeleton Sample
Narwhal Skeleton Sample

Alongside sampling and research trips I have been getting a head start of lesson planning for 2018 and working on some new workshops and talks. If you would like to book me for a textile workshop or talk you can find out more details here.

Whitby Museum

I have been in contact with Whitby Museum since 2016 when I approached them with a proposal responding to their collection. In September the project was agreed by their trustees and I began my research visits in October. I will be visiting the museum every other week until they close for Christmas.

My exhibition will be shown in the new wing of the museum, which gives me lots of wall space and the option of a television screen for work in progress images and a table and chairs so I can have an object handling box for people to interact with.

Exhibition Space
Exhibition Space

The museum houses such a vast collection that so I decided to plan out my visits and focus on different areas of the museum each time. This visit focused on natural history and gave me the opportunity to explore the large collection of birds and mammals.

The Natural History section comprises specimens of animals and birds mostly representative of those species that occur in the local district including such rarities as Ivory Gull and Great Gipsy Shrike. Birds-of-prey, both diurnal raptors and owls are well represented, probably obtained as a result of gamekeeper activity over the 19th century.

Natural History Cabinet
Natural History Cabinet

The Narwhal skeleton has always fascinated me, even as a child. This vast piece is displayed above the natural history cabinets and this was the first time I have looked closely at the markings on the bones and the display methods used to hang the pieces together.

Narwhal Skeleton Detail
Narwhal Skeleton Detail

The beautiful hand painted sign is just one of the text samples from around the museum that I would love to include in my work.

Hand Painted Signage
Hand Painted Signage
Cabinet Number
Cabinet Number

Back in the studio I have started to create some embroidery designs using the Pfaff 6D software, the Portrait Stitch programme also helps me to select a colour palette from photographs I have taken. I’m hoping to work in mixed media for this project, something I haven’t explored for many years.

Whitby Museum is a great place to visit for everyone, they are open Tuesday to Sunday 9.30am to 4.30pm. I would allow at least two hours for your visit so you can spend time looking at the collection.

Whitby Museum

In July I had a meeting at Whitby Museum, my favourite museum and a source of inspiration since childhood. Last week I met with the Museum Keeper, a wonderful lady called Wynne about exhibiting at the museum in 2018.

I’m excited to reveal that the trustees have agreed to an exhibition in Spring 2018. My work will respond to the museum collections and be exhibited in the new wing. My aim is to open up the museum collection to a fresh audience in a similar way to Thackray Uncovered.

My meeting also gave me a chance to explore the museum and make some notes about ideas that I would like to research. There is a wonderful range of collections at Whitby Museum including fossils, birds and mammals, textiles and fine art and local history. Over the next few months I will be spending time in the museum researching and working in the studio creating samples.

I thought I would share some images from my recent visit…

Natural History Cabinet
Natural History Cabinet
Natural History Cabinet Detail
Natural History Cabinet Detail
Handicrafts Cabinet
Handicrafts Cabinet

The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 9.30am to 4.30pm with a last admission of 4pm. Entry to the museum is a bargain at £5.00 for an adult ticket.

 

Journeys in a Suitcase

I’ve had a busy week in and out of the studio, the first week of term for my regular teaching is always hectic. I’ve also been prepping for some upcoming workshops and talks alongside my own practice. The suitcase commission from Love Arts Leeds has been my main focus in the studio so I’m sharing some more work in progress with you.

After finalising the objects that I want to exhibit inside the suitcase, I have been working on the case to make sure I can display everything and keep it secure during the exhibition.

I had originally planned to keep the lining of the suitcase to display my objects, sadly this didn’t look the way I had imagined so I had to rethink my plans and remove the pockets.

Removing the Lining
Removing the Lining

To elevate the objects in the case, I created a false base for them to stand on. This was a challenge but using a recycled cardboard box I’ve created a stable platform for display.

New Base
New Base

As part of the lining, I have created a fabric tape using calico. The tape will feature hand embroidered road names which map the journey from Whitby to Saltburn. To measure out the placing I used printed text from a Word document, something which I find really useful.

Road Names in Progress
Road Names in Progress

The small stitching required for the text means that my progress is a little slow but I’m pleased with the end result.

Marine Parade Text
Marine Parade Text

The next couple of weeks will focus on this text piece and lining the case with calico fabric. You can see my suitcase at a pop-up event on Saturday 14 October outside Leeds Art Gallery which re-opens that day.

Journeys in a Suitcase

My latest commission is underway in the studio so I thought I would share some of my progress with you. Journeys in a Suitcase is part of the 7th annual Love Arts Leeds festival which takes place next month.

The brief for the commission is very open:

To produce artwork within a vintage suitcase that depicts your response to our festival theme of Journeys. Love Arts Festival celebrates the links between creativity and mental well-being, so the work also needs to relate to this theme.

My suitcase will contain a series of embroidered pieces which reflect on a journey around the coastline from Whitby to Saltburn. The suitcase has also travelled this route with me as I visit the beaches and headland.

Suitcase at Runswick Bay
Suitcase at Runswick Bay

From my charity shop visits for previous projects like Time & Tide, I have collected old Ordnance Survey Maps of the coastline. From these maps I have traced my route along the headland.

Traced Coastline
Traced Coastline

This line will be stitched on fabric in red thread and then attached to the inside of the suitcase. I’m using a method that I was taught by a member of the Embroiderers Guild, tacking a paper template to the fabric and then using that line as a guide. When the line is completed the tacking stitches and template are removed. This method works well for wool fabrics that don’t work with quilting pens and pencils.

Stitching in Progress
Stitching in Progress

My Twitter and Instagram feed has lots of Converse Selfies, where I take pictures of my feet in various locations so it seems only right to include Converse in my piece. I have been working on a footprint in the studio this week.

Converse Print
Converse Print in Progress

As my journey is about the coast I am including some natural elements, this stitched rock pool will sit in the bottom section of the suitcase.

Rock Pool Embroidery
Rock Pool Embroidery

There are still lots of things to work on over the next few weeks but you won’t have to wait long until the exhibition. The work will be exhibited at a pop-up event on Saturday 14 October outside Leeds Art Gallery which re-opens that day.

Pop-Up Postcard
Pop-Up Postcard

 

 

Part 6 – A Journey

I began working with The Grief Series several years ago, making pieces to be included in several parts of the project. The first commission I made using my Pfaff Creative 3.0 was a collection of satin hearts for an audio installation at The Unfair in 2015.

The Unfair Commission

The Grief Series is a sequence of seven projects by Leeds-based artist and performance maker, Ellie Harrison. Using a seven stage Grief Model from psychology as a starting point, each installment is a collaboration with another artist working in a different field including performance, photography, installation and sculpture.

The Grief Series
The Grief Series Website

As part six approaches I have been working with Ellie and Team Grief on the development stages of the project which will create a series of installations inside caravan. The caravan will travel around the UK and Europe which gives me my first international exhibition.

This is such an exciting opportunity for me, working on a large scale project and being involved with the project from the development through to completion.

Perle, Our 1989 Avondale Caravan
Perle, Our 1989 Avondale Caravan

The caravan will include personal stories from Team Grief and I will be creating a piece of work inspired by my grandmother to be installed in the caravan. We will also include stories of loss from other interviewees.

Maps will also play a part in the caravan, marking the journeys we takes and helping to create a record of personal stories from those who visit us along the way. I have been fascinated with maps since I worked on 365 Leeds Stories in 2013. For the project we used Ordinance Survey maps from 1932 to create s series of stitched stories.

Marsh Lane Station Embroidery
Marsh Lane Station Embroidery
Grief Series Moodboard
Grief Series Moodboard

Both Ellie and I respond to place when we are researching a project so we wanted to visit Perle in storage and get an idea of the spaces we could use and what colour palette would work for the interior and exterior of the caravan.

Inside the Caravan
Inside the Caravan

The caravan interior is a little bit rundown but we will be keeping the space the same as we want to ensure it still feels like a caravan. We spent several hours choosing her and the two seating areas at the front and rear give us plenty of space for people to sit and reflect on their own stories.

Converse Selfie with Paint Samples
Converse Selfie with Paint Samples

I have found that my own practice has many elements in with the collaborative projects I am working on. The colour scheme for the caravan mirrors that of my first work about my grandmother, Deconstruct/Reconstruct.

I have also been working with maps and storytelling for Heydays, one of my regular teaching jobs which was inspired by some fragments of WW2 escape maps printed on silk.

Map Fragments on my Notice Board
Map Fragments on my Notice Board

I will be continuing to work on samples and ideas for Part Six alongside my other commissions and projects. You can find out more by following my on social media (links in the sidebar).