Thursday, 28 August 2014

Art Textiles - Made in Britain

Still cogitating about all the quilts that I saw at Festival recently. I was particularly interested to see "Identity - Art Textiles, Made in Britain." The group of artists working for this show have all developed clearly identifiable styles yet are very different from one another. They are all fascinating in their own right so it was fascinating to see how each had interpreted the theme of identity.
For this blog post I am concentrating on three artists who I have taken courses this year or have worked with a little.
Christine Restall:
You will have seen from earlier posts that I was absolutely entranced by my short one day course with Christine. All my abstraction experiments have come from this experience. Her pair of quilts in the "Identity" exhibition were restrained and elegant and restful. Hanging as a pair, it's the type of work that you would enjoy living with. Beautifully crafted, I loved them.

Sandra Meech:
I was very lucky to spend three days on Sandra's "Less is More" course at The Minerva Gallery in Llandidloes in July.(more of this later)  Having heard her talk about the pieces in the "Identity" exhibition I was keen to see it in the flesh. Her techniques for working with images, use of photo transfer and three dimensional elements are fascinating and very different from the general run of pieces at Festival.

Jenny Rolfe:
I was in the same group as Jenny for a year (Contemporary Expressions) she was the most meticulous quilter I had had the privilege of working with. Her approach to this exhibition was particularly interesting in that it dealt most directly with the theme "Identity".
Nature v Nurture is a clever piece with many of the hallmarks of Jenny's stunning work. Thought provoking!

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Embroiderers' Guild "Kickstart" Exhibition

The East Midlands Region runs an annual programme to encourage members to create and exhibit embroidery. This years the theme was Flowers. The key thing about the Kickstart programme is that it requires participants to take a one day course related to the theme. Only with attendance at these can a member exhibit work. 
The downside of this is that there is so little notice of the dates of the day courses that if your diary is busy you miss out. I was very sad not to have been able to take part in one of the two run by Alysn Midgelow Marsden which were very well receive by participants and which concentrated on simplifying and abstracting elements to create a design.  So having heard such good things about the preparatory days I was a little disappointed when I went to the exhibition in Daventry. I don't know if this was the sum total of the entries for the region or a section of the entries. I hope it was a section! The venue did not do the entries many favours. 
There were some stunning pieces of work among the entries, the following stood out among the selection. My apologies to the artists that I have lost the sheet with their names and work titles so they are here, unattributed.

In a very image conscience world I do get very cross when organisations fail to display work to its advantage and in a way that is sympathetic to the artwork. When Jo Public sees an exhibition like this it's not that surprising that folk go away describing the work as "homemade" which is such a put down. Voluntary groups are their own worst enemy in this respect.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Ann Johnston' Exhibition

I was really struck by Ann Johnston's quilts. I have travelled in the Sierra Nevada on several occasions and found myself transported back there. Huge in scale and graphic in quality these quilts speak of the wide open spaces, the rocks and their hold on you when you are among them. It's a part of the world I enjoy visiting, and Ann's art gives me the same feelings.

"After the Ice"
The sense of scale and the grand swathe of the landscape are there and man's insignificance.

"Eureka Chimney"
Craggy and raw, the fabrics and stitching convert the rugged nature of this area.

"Nevadan Orogeny"
This whole cloth piece showcases the folded, stretched rock formations of the Sierra Nevada so well I almost felt I could touch the rough, hard surface.

I am not usually drawn to the representational or pictorial in quilts but was persuaded by this exhibition that, in the right hands, it works. I am now even more keen to revisit the western USA again and add in areas I have still to see for the first time. I know I won't make work in this genre but have so enjoyed seeing these pieces.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Festival of Quilts - Dislocation

I was very interested to see what had been juried into this exhibition having had my quilt rejected! While  I thought that there were some stunning and interesting pieces I was a little disappointed with the whole after the success of the CQ10 show. This collection didn't hang together in quite the same way. I felt the outside walls of the gallery worked better than the interior. It's easy to criticise, and I realise that it must have been very hard to make choices from such a large entry. I'm not worried about my piece not being selected, more that the very high standard CQ set was lowered a little this year, in my view!
Having said that, I now want to highlight some of the pieces that I was very struck by. Each of these was eye catching at a distance and drew one in to see what was in the detail.

Terry Donaldson's piece "Black across the sea" was effective and I loved the mark making in the quilt.

Sally Hutson's "Faded Memories" was painterly and full of interesting elements so it worked at a distance and drew you in.

Sue Turner's dislocated self portrait " a sLIGHT Shift" was eye catching and very cleverly constructed.

   "Letters to the Demons" from Sandra Wyman contained interesting mark making and an eye catching rhythmic linear motif.

"Organised Chaos" by Jill Packer was an eye catching, graphic piece that I loved.

Cathy Hensman's piece " Dislocated Woodland" was richly textured and painterly in style.

What a fantastic opportunity being a member of CQ is, and how fierce the competition is to be exhibited! Thanks to the organisers who set us a tough challenge. I look forward to what is next!

More the Festival soon.