Studio postings….eight weeks and counting

Our studio posting this week is with Ann Wheeler who as a tutor and TSG member will be well known to many people. During a quiet moment over coffee I asked Ann about her work for DIS/rupt.

Ann, can you tell me which area of the DIS/rupt project you are investigating or exploring?

Disruption to people’s lives has happened in the past in many ways. As a practising lacemaker with an ancestor listed in the 1851 census as a lacemaker, I was interested in exploring how the industrial evolution had affected their lives.

Can you tell us something about the piece you are working on for DIS/rupt?

The early lace-makers, many of whom lived in rural areas, worked 9 to 10 hours in order to supplement the family income. Children, both boys and girls were sent to lace schools at an early age to be instructed in the skills. I am focussing on trying to illustrate this in my piece.

What are the materials and processes that you are working with?

Antique lace, contemporary bobbin lace worked in paper yarn and stitched lettering.

Are you able to give us an idea of the scale of your piece and will it be free standing or wall mounted?

130cms x 70cms approx. and will be wall mounted

Thank you Ann for this fascinating insight. In our age of manufactured lace, produced on an industrial scale, it is all too easy to forget the hours necessary, not to say the amazing skill, in the production of lace. I think even a look at the ‘tools of the trade’, the complexity of working with bobbins and the fine needles, are testament to the place in our heritage these women deserve.

All information about DIS/rupt can be found at the group’s website TSG

Further information and booking details about the workshops running concurrently can be found at the link here SIT select 2017

Also information about the Symposium can be found on the SIT select 2017 website at Symposium

Looking forward to seeing you all in Stroud.

Studio postings

Organising an exhibition of this scale requires team work and to take the germ of an idea through to the hanging and opening involves hours of work for many people. However our Exhibition Convenor for DIS/rupt is Sarah Burgess, well known as an artist and tutor and it has been her role, amongst many others, to maintain an overview of all the details and keep the project moving forward. As well as the organisation Sarah has also found time to produce work for the exhibition. At our recent weekend meeting Sarah spent a lot of time discussing with various members different aspects of the work needing to be done to have the exhibition open as planned. So I was really pleased that despite her busy schedule Sarah was able to sit and tell me about her piece for DIS/rupt. I started by asking her which area of the DIS/rupt project she was investigating or exploring?

I am working with ideas about global warming and the disruption that will result due to rising sea levels.

Can you tell us something about the piece you are working on for DIS/rupt?

I am making two pieces of work to reflect the likely effect of a 2 degree and a 4 degree rise in global temperatures and the resulting increase in sea levels on ten world cities.

What are the materials and processes that you are working with?

I am using the differing properties of fibres in a range of hand stitch threads to wick dye up into a piece of stitched cotton organdie so that it gradually turns blue drowning in dye and picking out the white stitching so that the words and statistics become more visible before they disappear into the cloth. The results are unpredictable it all depends on the temperature and the dampness of the fabric. But this reflects the risk and uncertainty of global warming and the unpredictable nature of the flooding.

One piece of cloth is being dyed now but the other will be dyed during the course of the exhibition, changing its appearance during the exhibition.

Are you able to give us an idea of the scale of your piece?

I expect there to be two pieces about 140 long by 54 wide – but we will see!

Is the finished piece to be free standing or wall mounted?

Mounted away from the wall on brackets – I think

What message do you hope the viewers of your work will take away from the exhibition?

I hope the work will bring a difficult scientific statistical subject to life and demonstrate the literal flooding process. I cannot be sure what will happen with the dye, it is risky and full of uncertainty – as is the risk of burning of fossil fuels and ignoring the danger of global warming.

You are one of the TSG tutors running workshops during the DIS/rupt exhibition, briefly, what can your students expect from the class?

I am running two half day workshops entitled Lost and Found – disrupted which will give students a chance to build a collection of mono-printed papers and fabrics. We will cut and piece the papers, disrupting and overlaying cut-outs on cloth to build a collaged piece of work and beginning to stitch into the piece to secure and develop the design. Students can either bring their own found objects to work from or use the items I provide.

Students will be able to complete the piece in their own time.

That sounds very exciting Sarah and I am sure visitors will be fascinated to see how your piece changes during the course of the exhibition. Thank you for taking time out of your weekend to talk to me.

For details about all the workshops being run during the exhibition then please click this link to the SIT select 2017 website. More information about DIS/rupt can be found here TSG

More interviews will be published  in the coming weeks as we enter the final countdown to the opening of the exhibition. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter at these links.

Another studio posting

Last weekend TSG members met for the first of our twice yearly get-togethers and because DIS/rupt is coming ever closer, I took the opportunity in between the workshop sessions with Georges Wenger, to find time with members and ask them about the work they have been developing for the exhibition. Over the coming weeks I will post more of these interviews but today I thought you would like to hear about the work that has been created by Julia Triston. Living in the North East of England, Julia is well known to many through her teaching and books. This is what she had to say. As always, I asked Julia about the specific area of the DIS/rupt project she was investigating or exploring.

My pieces for the DIS/rupt exhibition investigate personal conflict and the trauma and issues surrounding divorce. A breakdown of a relationship can have a lasting effect physically, mentally, emotionally and financially; this disruption can impact the whole family. I have drawn on my own experiences for this exhibition, which has been both painful and liberating.

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Sketchbook and detail

Julia, can you tell us something about the piece you are working on for DIS/rupt?

I am working on two pieces for DIS/rupt. The first, ‘To Know A Veil’, concerns my writings and personal responses to my feelings, over a four year period, whilst going through a lengthy divorce. Reflections of the disruption caused to my life are translated directly from my journals.

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Detail, in progress

My second piece is interactive. ‘Divorce Discourse’ explores communication; there are many times in life when we wish we had or hadn’t said something that could have made a difference to ourselves, our relationships or the paths we have taken in life. I have started some sentences and I invite viewers to disrupt my work by completing them in their own words.

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Detail

What are the materials and processes that you are working with?

‘To Know A Veil’ is worked on a full length vintage veil (from 1938) and contemporary bridal netting with free machine embroidery. ‘Divorce Discourse’ is presented in three A3 frames and also worked with free machine embroidery on contemporary bridal netting. Both pieces will be wall mounted.

What message do you hope the viewers of your work will take away from the exhibition?

My aim is to give viewers an insight into the fragility of relationships and to consider the impact of communication in our daily lives, especially with our loved ones. I hope my pieces will resonate with others in a positive way and inspire viewers to express themselves in their own relationships as well as through my exhibition work.

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Detail

You are one of the TSG tutors running workshops during the DIS/rupt exhibition, briefly, what can your students expect from the class?

My ‘Text in Textiles’ workshop will involve stitching letters and/or words onto collaged backgrounds using upcycled materials. The content of the pieces will be personal – a special memory, an important poem, a specific word or name – and the texts may include imagery to support the sentiment expressed. Techniques will include layering, collaging, appliqué and hand embroidery. The workshop will be busy, messy and fun!

The workshop sounds fun, Julia, and your work very thought provoking, I’m sure it will resonate with many people. Thank you for taking the time away from the workshop to speak to me about your piece. I’m really looking forward to seeing the pieces in the Gallery.

As always, full details about DIS/rupt can be found on the group’s website at this link  TSG  and booking and details about the workshops including Julia’s can be found at this link. SIT select 2017

Embroidery magazine article about DIS/rupt

March already and the most recent edition of Embroidery magazine has a lovely article about DIS/rupt, our exhibition opening in May. Readers of this blog have been treated to interviews with several members of TSG, and there are more to come, however we thought that you would like to read the article and learn more about the ideas and concepts of the exhibition.

Written by Dr Melanie Miller, curator of the exhibition, it offers a glimpse of the variety of approaches and the areas of interest that have been the catalyst for the work you will see in Stroud. Click on this link to read the article.

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Shelley Rhodes, detail
Shelley Rhodes, detail

Further information can be found at TSG  and information about the workshops and all booking details can be found at SIT select 2017

Enjoy the article.

#disrupt #textilestudygroup #selectfestival2017

More studio postings

If I have learned anything since starting these blog interviews it is that TSG members are incredibly varied in their areas of interests. This interview with Bobby Britnell, well known teacher and author, proves my point. Bobby is the current Chair of the group but has been an active member for many years and is fully involved with the organisation of the DIS/rupt exhibition. However it was with her artist hat firmly on I asked about her current work.

My first question was to ask Bobby about her piece for DIS/rupt.

I am exploring the DIS/ruption of traditions. Ugandan bark cloth, the world’s oldest non-woven fabric from the Mutuba Tree has seen a demise for many years now, due to Arab traders and colonists causing the bark cloth production and trade to deteriorate. Extensive deforestation and the demonization of bark cloth by Christianity and Islam also has had a profound effect on production. The fact that it not only has a history but is so enshrined in both cultural and spiritual beliefs makes it an extraordinary cloth with a story to tell.

Can you tell us something about the piece you are working on for DIS/rupt?

I am exploring through the life of the tree how we need to reinvent new ways for its existence by using words such as REINVENT, REIMAGINE, REDISCOVER, REVALUE, RECREATE, REAPPRECIATE to path the way. I am making a symbolic tree incorporating these words, with a few other twists and turns. But people will need to come and see what these are for themselves!

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What are the materials and processes that you are working with?

I am currently just using the bark cloth and hand stitching with raffia which I have brought over from Uganda.

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Are you able to give us an idea of the scale of your piece?

It is over 2 metres in height, so as you can imagine, it will not be easy to photograph!!!

Is the finished piece to be free standing or wall mounted?

It will be free-standing. I may also have another exhibit ~ a screen showing images of its production.

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What message do you hope the viewers of your work will take away from the exhibition?

Bark cloth needs to find its place once again not only in the Uganda marketplace but on the global market. I would like to inspire visitors to explore the history of the material, its status in Uganda and how different markets are beginning to see a way forward with what I feel is a remarkable cloth. I really just want to develop an awareness of bark cloth, its versatility and wide variety of uses.

You are one of the TSG tutors running workshops during the DIS/rupt exhibition, briefly, what can your students expect from the class?

I will be introducing students to a few of the ways in which bark cloth can be used creatively as a material like other more mainstream materials. Bark cloth is in fact one of the world’s oldest non-woven materials from Uganda. It is not commonly used in this country and this workshop will ‘disrupt’ peoples’ normal working methods by introducing students to this unique cloth. We will employ traditional techniques from Uganda alongside more conventional techniques. A fun course for beginners and more advanced students

Bobby has been working with textiles since leaving school. She currently runs workshops from her studio in South Shropshire as well teaching and exhibiting countrywide and abroad.

I am offering two half day courses

Workshop Title ‘Barking up the Right Tree’

Tutor:  Bobby Britnell
Date   Fri May 19 2017
Time. 1.30 – 4.00.
Venue Centre for Science & Arts, 13 Lansdown, Stroud GL5 1BB

Workshop Title ‘Barking up the Right Tree’    

Tutor:  Bobby Britnell
Date: Thursday May 18 2017
Time. 10.00 – 12.30.
Venue Centre for Science & Arts, 13 Lansdown, Stroud GL5 1BB

All materials and equipment will be provided for this course at a small charge of £5 per pack
FEE: £35 SIT select members £30

That all sounds wonderful Bobby and I am really looking forward to seeing the work. I think the versatility of the bark cloth is quite amazing and I’m sure will be of enormous interest to visitors to the exhibition. Anyone interested to know more about Bobby’s work can check out a recent blog post by Textile Artist.org here TextileArtist.org

All information and booking details at SIT select 2017

More information about the Textile Study Group and its members and details about DIS/rupt can be found at the group website. TSG

@SITselect, #selectfestival2017 @textile_study #DISrupt

 

Studio postings

In our series of interviews with TSG members I took the chance to call on Alison King recently to see what she was working on for DIS/rupt, the group’s forthcoming exhibition that opens in Stroud in May. Alison, who studied Fine Art/Painting at Edinburgh College of Art, discovered her love of textiles while teaching art and found that the qualities of working with fabric and thread could enhance her painterly style.

As with the other interviewees I first of all asked Alison which area of the DIS/rupt project she was investigating or exploring?

In my work for the Dis/rupt project I decided to look at the plight of migrants. I think everyone is hugely conscious of the terrible situation with refugees in the world, particularly those from Syria. However, with “Food Chain”, I have focused on the plight of the Chinese who came during the 1960’s to Britain to escape the abject poverty of the Northern Territories of Hong Kong. Nothing could be more disruptive than leaving all your family and your very special cultural traditions. By no means always welcome, these immigrants struggled to find success and very many achieved this through their restaurants and takeaways. Chained to a life of incredibly hard work, unsociable hours and even racial abuse, these migrants went on to reach extraordinary goals. Chinese Restaurants and Take Aways are in every town and village in the UK – an amazing achievement.

Some early sketchbook ideas for Food Chain.

Can you tell us something about the piece you are working on for DIS/rupt?

In the installation “Food Chain” a long table is draped with an embroidered cloth. At one end are images of a past left behind, lost friends, family, traditions and at the other those of the new life with all the brash colours of the Chinese fast food industry.  Between lies a symbolic painted  sea. The table is set for a meal served initially in porcelain bowls but then in the cardboard boxes of the takeaway.

Traditional meal
Traditional meal
Take away meal
Take away meal

What are the materials and processes that you are working with?

The table cloth has a patchwork quality. Some sections have traditional Chinese embroidery, others reverse appliqué that recreates ancient designs . These are alongside images of the past and packaging from today’s fast food supermarkets. Machine and hand stitch, embellishment, paint and paper are all included. I am particularly pleased with the central area where I used sheets of Chinese recipes, painted and bordered with traditional wave patterns.

Incorporated into the cloth are two images of my Chinese daughter in law, whose knowledge and advice made this project so worthwhile.

Are you able to give us an idea of the scale of your piece?

The table itself is 2 metres long and I am hoping the spectator will perhaps be able to imagine sitting down at it to eat a banquet of two parts. A short film will also accompany the installation that shows the heat and intensity found in the Chinese kitchen .

Wave patterns
Wave patterns

What message do you hope the viewers of your work will take away from the exhibition?

Although “Food Chain” appears decorative, even sumptuous in places, it is a serious reflection on the problems of migration. Do we really appreciate how immigrants need to work so hard, particularly in the food industry? Do we always welcome these outsiders with the necessary compassion.?

Chinese bowl
Chinese bowl

You are one of the TSG tutors running workshops during the DIS/rupt exhibition, briefly, what can your students expect from the class?

This should hopefully prove an entertaining workshop. We will be experimenting with letter shapes that spell out the words of life’s contradictions. This is a class aimed at both the beginner and the more experienced. A lot of colour, glue, thread, fabric and mess will probably be involved!

Thank you Alison, I can’t wait to see the finished piece and how interesting to have such a personal connection to your subject. People interested to participate in Alison’s Stroud workshop can find information and booking details here SIT select 2017 

There are also links for booking on the TSG website here TSG

Further information about Alison’s work and a link to last year’s TextileArtists.org interview can be found here TextileArtist.org

More views from the workroom

Another of our members took time out of her busy schedule to speak to me last week. Mary Sleigh is a well known textile artist, tutor and author and in our series of interviews I wanted to take the chance to find out what Mary is working on for DIS/rupt, the group’s forthcoming exhibition opening in Stroud in May 2017. My first question was to ask Mary which of the aspects of the DIS/rupt brief had appealed to her.

Mary, can you tell us a little about your area of interest for DIS/rupt please?

Ecology and the environment; the story of the peat cutting in Ireland where it started as a domestic activity for the home. Over the years, it developed into an industrial process leaving scars in the landscape and using up resources created over thousands of years.

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Peat Lands, sketchbook
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Peat Lands, sketchbook
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Peat Lands, sketchbook

Can you tell us something about the piece you are working on for DIS/rupt?

I am working on two pieces that are inspired by the black bogs and deep trenches created by peat cutting over the centuries. Despite the changes made by human intervention nature takes over eventually and we tend to look upon it and enjoy it as it is. I try to record my responses to places that I know, have walked and discovered by following a path, discovering unexpected things and been surprised by what I stumble upon. Peat Lands is the next in my current series of Cloth Stories, as J K Rowling says: ‘There’s always room for a story that can transport people to another place.’

Peat Lands revisited is a response to the repetitive mechanical process of peat cutting for commercial use.

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Peat Lands
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Peat Lands

What are the materials and processes that you are working with?

I refer to drawings, notes and photographs to give me a palette of colours, textures and marks. I dye fabrics, cotton, silk and linen, sometimes with natural or Procion dyes, then put together combinations that reflect my ideas. Hand stitching comes next, which adds details and is important in construction. I love the process of gradual change in the making and words are often an important component.

Are you able to give us an idea of the scale of your piece?

I have made two pieces; one is more intimate, a book construction when opened is just over 1 metre long and 10cm wide. The second is a 2metre length of digitally printed silk crepe de Chine.

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Peat Lands Revisited

Is the finished piece to be free standing or wall mounted?

Both are wall hung, the book fully open and the silk hanging from a rod.

What message do you hope the viewers of your work will take away from the exhibition?

There is a story in everything and there are few places accessible to us that are truly wild and untouched. Despite catastrophic events or intervention by man they still have a beauty of their own as nature takes over. It’s in the making of something that we really get to know it and as I have discovered when dipping my toe into the digital world with the printed silk ‘craft helps to make technology human’.

Mary, these pieces look very interesting, thank you very much for allowing me to glimpse what you have been working on. I look forward to seeing the finished work in the exhibition.

More information about DIS/rupt can be found here TSG and all information and booking details about the programme of workshops which tie into the exhibition and lead by several TSG members can be found on the SIT select website at this link. SIT select 2017