Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Festival of Quilts 2014

It's that time of year when festivals abound so a couple of weeks or so ago I headed for the NEC and the Festival of Quilts, Europe's leading patchwork and quilting show. For any textile artist, indeed just about anyone that is creative and who is interested in stitch, this is one of the most exciting events of the year. These are just some of the quilts and exhibits that caught my eye this year starting with this traditional quilt  made from colourful African wax prints.

I love Liberty fabrics and this one was made up just using Liberty fabrics.

Onto my favourite category the Art Quilts.....

Although not strictly a quilt this one really appealed to me. Called 'Trousseau'  it was made from a wedding dress capturing perfectly the essence of femininity.  

There were quite a few quilts marking the centenary of the outbreak of World War I

As well as the large display of quilts, within the festival are numerous solo and group exhibitions.   Art Textiles: Made in Britian is a newly formed group of some of the best textile artists in the UK and their aim is 'to promote Art Textiles in Britain and to ensure their future; to introduce them to new audiences and to continually stretch the boundaries with new, vibrant work'. This was their first group exhibition each bringing their own interpretation to the chosen theme of 'Identity'. Below is the embroideries of one of the artists Rosie James whose figurative work I love. 

Louise Baldwin..

and the quilted mono-prints of Christine Restall...

This is the work of Hungarian Eszter Bornemisza who had a solo exhibition at the festival.  She creates huge wallhangings by trapping newspaper, paper, text, maps, etc. between dissolvable fabrics which she then stitches into in a grid form. 

Also quite a bit of mixed-media work caught my eye which can mean a range of work combining textiles, fabrics and stitch with other media such as paper, paint and collage using various creative techniques and processes.  Here Dutch artist Gabi Mett has used a combination of mixed-media including tea bags. 

On then to SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) who promotes and defines the art quilt as a 'creative visual work that is layered and stitched or that references this form of stitched layerered structure.'  and simply the most stunning quilts of the festival.

Finally The Festival of Quilts would not be complete without a visit to the The Cotton Patch stand. Here are Nadine and Becky busy at work.....

and on their stand were some blingy Converses made by Anna.


Another great festival and I came away full of inspiration and that definitely next year I will enter a quilt of my own.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Sewn Words # 5 : Everything I made was either worn, sat on or trodden on

A vintage tray cloth dedicated to Agnes, one of my ladies from The Hours Quilt, a lady who made all her own clothes, would sew cushions and covers for her furniture and made rugs out of rags - so as she rightly said "Everything I made was either worn, sat on or trodden on."

Monday, 11 August 2014

Art in Action 2014

Back in July I made my annual trip (this time with Solihull Embroiderers' Guild) to Art in Action at the beautiful location of Waterperry House & Gardens, near Oxford, an event held every summer over four days where 400 artists and craftsmen display and demonstrate their skills and discuss their work.  It's a fabulous way of getting up close and personal to painters, sculptors, textile artists, illustrators, printmakers, ceramicists, woodworkers, glass blowers, jewellery makers and even beekeepers.  Artists sell their work and hold practical classes and workshops so you get a chance to have a go yourself.  There is also the opportunity to enjoy afternoon tea on the lawn listening to live music concerts and watching dance and theatre performances along with the obligatory jug of Pimms of course.  Art in Action to my mind is the Glasto of art - a veritable cornucopia of all things arty in a fabulous festival atmosphere with overnight camping available too.  Indeed wellies are recommended, in true Glasto style, if the weather turns a bit inclement as one year I remember getting well and truly bogged down while dodging the showers and dashing between the marquees.  Anyway enough chit chat - here are my best bits for this year .....
I always make a bee line for the Printmaking tent as I love making my own prints and have dabbled with lino-cutting, monoprinting and etching. Some fabulous printmakers in there this year...

Helen Murgatroyd

What I really need is one of these of course - a Printing Press.  Don't think there is room in my girl shed though and they cost a few bob too. 

 The Textiles Tent - my favourite tent of course.....

Sara Fordy - Indigo Moose

Carol Naylor

Batik - I would love to have a go at this.

Some lovely embroidery here from Ellie Evans who combines hand embroidery with digital print. Here she has embroidered a postcard and her school report.

Amanda Wright embroiders using machine knitting wool to create beautiful wall  hangings. Her husband Dan Wright is a ceramicist who was in the Ceramics tent (oddly enough!) . Together they run Goat Street Gallery in St David's, Pembrokeshire.

Lindsay Taylor here using freehand machine embroidery on Solufleece, a dissolvable fabric which washes away to just leave the stitching. She used this technique combined with felting to create this amazing lampshade with matching armchair.

Onto the ceramics tent next then and here is Amanda Wright's husband Dan Wright from Goat Street Gallery


Lots going on in the Painting tent...... spot the Werther's Originals here.

This artist was making her own gesso with a traditional method using Rabbit Skin glue.

Loved this artist who paints from photographs

Out and about in the gardens.....

Simon Griffiths Sculpture

 My friends Rita and Joan had a go at life drawing in the The Big Draw tent. 

Note the look of intense concentration.

For me there is always one stand out artist that catches my attention and this year it was Harriet Riddell , a young girl who has travelled the world with her sewing machine, setting up in public to draw in stitch. On her recent trip to India she sat in front of the Taj Mahal and stitched it, trekked up the Himalayas with her machine and stitched at the top and rode on the back of moving trucks stitching people as she has gone by.  At Art in Action she was stitching portraits of people in 15 minutes. Here she was stitching the portrait of twins who live on opposite sides of the Atlantic. It was going to be a present for one of the twins to take back with her to Cananda.  

This was just some of her amazing work.....

Harriet has set up her own business called InStitchYou, travelling to weddings, parties and events to capture all the events of the day in stitch.   A truly inspiring young girl.

It was a lovely hot summer's day. 

But, oh dear,  for some I think the heat and all that art was just a bit too much....

Well that's it for another year.  I can't recommend this event highly enough.  Art in Action is back next year from 16th - 19th July 2015.