Sunday, 30 April 2017

Textile Textures: The Grand Opening

Yesterday was the official opening and Private View of the Textile Textures exhibition at Walford Mill Crafts, which some of my work is featured in. I feel very pleased and privileged to be included amongst some truly talented and established names in the world of Textile Art and this has given me a great lift, personally and professionally. Sometimes as a graduate you feel a bit lost out in the 'real world; but being included in an exhibition is an undeniable step in the right direction! Here's some pictures from the gallery:
An overview of my zone:

The 3D beadwork sampler I wrote about previously:

Another strange, alien landscape textured drawing:
Deep Sea Viper hand embroidery with audio reactive LED circuit (I program and install all the lights and circuitry myself):
Hullo, I eat batteries
Some hand embroidery n fluff n stuff:
A framed textural drawing / investigation:
Laser cut bugs in the window!
Note to self: make more of these
Sketch book!
Here's another angle:
Here you can see Heather Collins' finely detailed felted apple / woodland work (bottom left), Valerie Wartelle's moody felted landscapes (top left) and some of Lisa Earley's work (top right).
One of my favourite pieces in the exhibition is Lisa Earley's 'Bad Fairies':
Lisa Earley
It's delicate looking but has a dark subject matter, which I find appealing. When you look closely, all the colours and detail in it are really beautiful too.
There was also a group of first year students from AUB who collaborated together to create some work for the show:
AUB Students
Their theme was 'decay' and particularly the way in which nature interacts with architecture. Their work has turned out really fabulously and I particularly like their drawings and sketchbooks with all the little details they put into the work.
Also in the exhibition are Jen Goodwin (resident embroiderer at Walford Mill and teacher at RSN, who just released her first book), her speciality being incredible photo-realistic animal and bird portraits and Carol Naylor, whose machine embroidered landscapes have plenty of movement and gorgeous colour:
Jen Goodwin and Carol Naylor
Another personal favourite is Amanda Wright:
Amanda Wright
Her large hand embroidered pieces have wonderful texture and also give great narrative.
Here's some people 'milling' around at the opening; we had a great turn out and I got some lovely, positive feedback on my work:
I was especially charmed by Charlotte the Dog, who looking decidedly dogged, deserves a round of appaws as she stayed fur at leashed an hour:
Well although I've given you a good few pictures of the show there's still a lot more to see and as with all textiles they have to be seen in the flesh to be believed, so get down to the exhibition - it's on until June 4th 2017. 

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Ticket To Ryde

Yesterday I took a day tripper out to the Isle of Wight to visit The New Carnival Company at their fabulous studio space in Ryde. I was put in touch with them via a contact at the Arts Council, who (correctly) thought that my costume and mask based work would complement the costumes made by The NCC and that I might be interested in working with them. As a complete film fanatic, finding out how to make big props and costumes really appeals to me too.
So yesterday I took two trains and then a ferry:
I love boats, me
and found myself on the island. I met the friendly and welcoming NCC team and after a bit of a chat and a lovely and much-needed cup of tea I was set straight to work on a taster day!
'Work' in this case meant sitting in on a prototyping session of the carnival costumes for a local school. The in-house artists collaborate with the pupils and teachers to come up with costume ideas based on the current year's Mardi Gras theme (this year's theme is Reflections of India, which ties in with the Isle's links to Queen Victoria nicely). Then the ideas are translated into one final design and then the finished costumes. Here is the design I helped to work on yesterday:
Drawing of Garuda costume by Gina of NCC
Working with Helen, I helped pattern cut and create the 'skirt' part of this costume. Here is what we came up with:
I was really pleased with the results; it looks very close to the original design but is also practical to wear, easy enough to make and will look fantastic in full on carnival day! Since the children themselves are involved in creating some of the costumes they will wear, the projects need to incorporate tasks that they are able (and willing) to do and are generally no-sew. They also have to fit the budget  and time constraints that are available... so considering all these factors the team do a marvellous job!
Here's some of the other props, puppets and costumes they have around their HQ:

There were also some very exciting looking giant paper mache squirrels and badgers and such waiting around for the upcoming All Along The Riverbank event that I didn't get photos of, but perhaps next time! After more chats and planning, it was time to head back down the pier to the ferry station:

It was a very inspiring day and I was grateful to have been put in touch with them and for their hospitality. If all goes to plan I shall be joining them for a couple of weeks over the summer to help with the preparations for Mardi Gras, so get ready for updates! I think that working with them will be great experience for my workshop teaching, for meeting people, for my own practice and a whole load of other things too.

Along with All Along The Riverbank and Mardi Gras, the New Carnival Company will be co-hosting an exhibition at Southampton Art Gallery called Kathakali Meets Carnival, which looks like it will be amaaazing! Have a look at the details of their events here.

Sesame Street was brought to you today by mucking round on a ski slope

Kids Craft: Springtime Crowns

Last week saw this year's final Easter Break children's craft clubs at Walford Mill. On Tuesday we made Springtime Crowns, which were essentially paper crowns collaged with flowers, leaves and bugs. This was a nice simple project that the kids could do fairly independently; they seemed to enjoy it a lot and it was another successful class for me too!
Here's a few photos of their results:

Colourful and springy! That's it for now, but I'll be back soon!

Thursday, 20 April 2017

The Return Of The War Of The Worlds

I've spent all my spare time in the last month creating a new piece of work for the upcoming 'Textile Textures' exhibition at Walford Mill. It's a recreation of an old 3D beadwork sampler I made during my internship at Hand & Lock a couple of years ago, which was influenced by Science Fiction.
I tried to stay as close to the original work as possible, although not having access to the same materials meant that some of it had to change; however on the whole I think it came out even better than the original and I'm really glad that I had the opportunity to make it again for what will be a great exhibition!
Here's some photos of the new work:
Tiny fields of alien crops
Although it's inspired by outer space, this work complements my Final Major Project degree work (which was inspired by deep sea creatures) in terms of colour pallet and general aesthetics. I really like that although both these projects were influenced by entirely different environments, perhaps those environments aren't so different; they are both relatively unknown to us humans and inhabited by 'alien' creatures (fictitious or not). The textures and patterns in these Science Fiction works really reflect some of the scaly, organic and bioluminescent characteristics I wanted to convey in my Deep Sea project and vice versa.
I painted my frame for this work pink to add a fresh, modern finish to it. Using traditional materials (beads, sequins, goldwork materials) in new ways and combining them with unusual or modern materials (fishing line, neon and metallic thread) in a simple sampler like this is a really fun way to stay inspired and broaden your abilities as an artist.
The Textile Textures exhibition will run from April 29th - June 4th 2017 and entry is completely freeeeeee!

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Easter Break Kid's Craft Club!

It's Easter half term and that means lots of kid's craft clubs to teach at Walford Mill Crafts! I started off my classes by making curly paper snails:
This was part of a 'speed-crafting' activity we put on for a local school wherein the children had 3 craft activities to do in 20 minute intervals. We had a theme of Easter / Garden and I decided to keep mine fairly simple since there's usually a range of abilities and it was such a limited time frame.

Next, back at the Mill, we hosted a children's crafty birthday party for a little girl where the kids made jewellery and decorated boxes to keep their jewels in. Caroline created hand printed, cut and dyed butterflies and seahorses from aluminium for the girls to make into necklaces... and I was lucky enough to be given a leftover seahorse to make my own beautiful mermaid jewels (thanks Caroline)!
Here's some of the boxes that the kids made:
As you can see they had an Easter theme as well!

Next came the Easter Bunnies workshop, which was taught by me. I wanted to make it textile-related since I haven't done much of that with the kids yet, so I came across an idea of making them from socks (a little like sock monkeys) but without any sewing (which kids sometimes struggle with). Here's the one I made as an example:
Which I thought was reeeeally cute! I used baby socks to make them extra titchy (and easier to make). The kids struggled a little with pouring in the rice filling, but other than that they seemed to enjoy the workshop and made some great bunnies:

Some of them then made 'gardens' for the bunnies to live in by decorating paper plates:

I really enjoyed this workshop and seeing the bunnies made by the kids. What made it extra lovely was that I found a note tucked into my bag at the end of the class:
Today we made crafty ice cream sundaes using yarn cone innards, polystyrene balls and trimmings! First we painted the balls to look like ice cream, then the cone, then we made chocolate flakes from brown paper and sauce from yarn! Here's my version:
Yum yum yum
Looks good enough to eat, if I do say so myself... and I do! Unfortunately, in all the glacial excitement I forgot to take photos of the kid's ice creams, so you'll have to take my word for it that they turned out great... some even better than mine! What made it even better was that the local ice cream garden opened up just as we were finishing the class, so some of the children went (with parents) for real ice creams afterwards, hurrah!