Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Alice Kettle @ Ikon Gallery & the National Maritime Museum

Odyssey (2003)
I work as a visitor assistant at the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham so got the amazing opportunity of assisting major British textile and fibre artist Alice Kettle to give a masterclass on textiles and stitch.   This was a great privilege and experience for me as Alice has always been a major influence on my work and it was through studying her stunning embroideries that introduced me into the wonderful world of free-machine embroidery.  I first came across her work in 2008 at the Embroiderers Guild's International Open Exhibition called The Art of the Stitch at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery which was described as 'a celebration of stitch and artists who successfully express themselves through this medium'.


Alice trained as a painter and graduated with a degree in Fine Art (going on to do an MA in textiles at Goldsmiths) and this is evident in her work which has a wonderful painterly quality. Alice 'paints' with her sewing machine, using free-machine embroidery to create huge swathes of colour building up layers of hundreds upon hundreds of stitches resulting in rich, vibrant textile pieces some of which take the form of absolutely huge wall-hangings.

Pause (2009)
Pause  (2009 - detail)

Pause (2009 - detail)

Mythscpaes show, Bankfield Museum Halifax

Her work is represented in various public collections; the Crafts Council, the Whitworth Art Gallery Manchester and the Museo Internationale delle Arti Applicate Oggi, Turin, Italy. Commissions include the National Library of Australia, the P&O ship 'Oriana', the Scottish High Court in Edinburgh, Gloucester and Winchester Cathedrals and the School of Music & Drama at Manchester University.

Glimpses of India, P&O Oriana 1995-6

In Camera Scottish High Court, Edinburgh 1997

Altar Cloth Gloucester Cathedral 1999 - 2002

Alice's latest work consists of a series of three new works entitled The Garden of England which draws on the fine 17th-century portraits collection of the National Maritime Museum.  It celebrates the queens and courtiers of the Queen’s House at Greenwich, its original setting as a garden retreat, and captures the richness and flamboyance of the Stuart court.


Flowerbed (detail)

Portrait of Henrietta Maria
This is the inaugural project of the new Royal Museums Greenwich contemporary arts programme. 
Alice's exhibition is on till 18th August so hope I get the chance to visit.

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