Wednesday, 19 October 2016


Knitting and Stitching Show at Ally Pally

It's years since I last made it to K & S at Ally Pally, I'm so glad that I managed it this year as I was treated to several excellent exhibits.
The two standout shows for me were 'Un-Fold' and Debbie Lyndon.
Un-fold's exhibition "Curious as an object" comprised the work of four artists: Christina Ellcock; Sally Skaife; Sarah Welsby and Christine Chester. It was spare, pared back, stark and beautiful work.
Christina Ellcock's 'Coastal Notes' was a framed collection of mini compositions, including found objects, evoking Dungerness. They reflected the bleakness of this scenery.

Sally Skaife's work represented a deep study of Oyster shells, dyed, stitch monotone prints that captured the essence of the rough, knobbly external feel of the oyster.

Sarah Welsby's circular forms in strip formation really caught the eye with their stark colour pallets, clean lines and minimalist feel.

Christine Chester's large hanging dominated the wall opposite the entrance and drew you to examine in details the tiny tubes that formed the centre of the work.

Debbie Lyndon's gallery was an exciting collection of pieces reflecting the North Norfolk coastal landscape. Two bodies of work showcased her talents in successfully mastering the small and the large scale. 
The Sluice Gate Cloths, in linen, dyed, painted, layered, distressed and incised allowed the viewer different perspectives as one moved in from of the Cloths. Subdued and moody these were powerful pieces

In contrast the collection of mounted mini landscapes reflecting the flat, open marsh land of the coastal area were exquisite gems. I am so cross with myself for not having bought one of these gems as we both love that part of the world and visit regularly.

Dionne Swift's gallery of spare landscape in pastel and stitch were interesting and have become more abstract and pared down since I last saw her work at Excel several years ago.

I was impressed with many of the Embroiderers' Guild 'Capability Brown' exhibits which shone despite the casual and haphazard way in which the pieces had been curated and hung. A shame as this did detract from the impact the work should have had and given the quality of the exhibition areas of the other artist's I have highlighted here.

I did come home with a lighter purse and heavier bag: a stunning length of beautiful linen in a burgundy/brown for clothing and as background for a textile piece forming in my head at the moment; a backing for a baby quilt which will also be showcased on the top as well; a piece of Nene Jallow's hand dyed cotton from Maggie Ralph and some undyed sari strips I want to try knitting! The retail area was horribly crowded and very knitting or yarn dominated with far fewer exciting fabrics on offer! 
I loved the day, made so much easier by being brought almost to the door and back by coach!

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