2020 – Launching our exciting new project

Insights is a reflection on creative practice in textile art. Through the exhibition and accompanying publication, which is launching at the Festival of Quilts, the Textile Study Group share their varied approaches to artistic practice: where ideas come from; how we develop and make work; where we work.  All approaches are relevant, and our differences are celebrated. 

Insights is curated by June Hill and the accompanying publication is edited by June Hill and Dr Melanie Miller, with additional essay contributions from Jane McKeating, Polly Binns, Kay Greenlees, Claire Barber and Lois Blackburn.

The Textile Study Group members’ work is varied in the themes addressed and techniques employed. Methods of work include hand stitch, machine stitch, quilting, constructed textiles, pieced textiles, lace-making, mixed-media, sketchbooks and drawing, print, dye, in both two and three dimensions. The Insights exhibition includes work in progress and elements of process, as well as ‘finished’ work.

Book launch & exhibition:
Festival of Quilts, NEC, Birmingham 30 July – 2 August 2020

Mercer Gallery, Harrogate, North Yorkshire  7 September – 18 October 2020
Tweeddale Museum & Gallery, Peebles, Scotland 14 November 2020 – 6 February 2021
Please check precise dates and opening times with the venues.

Artists Interview :   

Over the course of the next six months we will  post a series of short artists interviews.  Each week showcasing a different member of the group, giving you a sneak peek into their creative process .  The first member to be interviewed is  Mandy Pattullo.

Mandy Pattullo

What is your favourite part of the creative process?

My favourite part of the process is towards the end when I have made all the colour decisions, chosen the palette of fabrics I am mixing up, laid out compositions many times, evaluated, and then finally sewn it together. It is not enough for me however to just have a collage and the favourite part comes when I make my mark on the surface through stitching. I use the stitching to blur boundaries and either like it to be formalised into a pattern ( like cross stitch) or to think of it as a scattering of stitches across the surface. The scattering doesn’t have to be just seeding but can sometimes be French knots, cross stitches, fern stitches, bullion knots. At this stage I might start stitching and then unpick several times until the shape of the stitch and the colour of the thread is right and then it is plain sailing. I usually have a scrap of linen to hand and even though I know all the basic stitches I practice first as it is very important to understand the difference the size of a stitch can make and whether it looks better clustered, overlapped or scattered.The intention with the stitching is to draw the viewer in to look at the textures and marks on the whole collage. It is my favourite part too as it is slow and mechanical and my mind can empty of the project and I can listen to podcasts. Over the last five years my whole process has been heightened by accessibility to streaming, listening back and podcasts. I have felt that I have become a better educated person as I sew!

As a visual artist was it a challenge to write about your practice ?

I do not find it a challenge to write about my practice as it is aways a good opportunity to  to formulate the ideas behind what I do.I have experience of writing having published Textile Collage ( Batsford) in 2016,  and have a new book Textiles Transformed coming out in September 2020. I try to write every day about what I want to achieve, inspirational words for the mood of a piece and things and people I want to research. In producing a body of work I never start with a concept or idea but the cloth itself and how I can respond to it in mixing it with other cloth, sometimes from other cultures or eras.I call this textile collage but really I am continuing the patchwork tradition and writing about this alerts the reader to the way my work is made within a historical context. By patching on to and stitching into in a sense I am just decorating, and I have come to terms with this  realising it comes from my training as a Surface Pattern designer for Interiors. Through writing I can remind the viewer that this is my design background and  and why I am not content with an undecorated surface.  For centuries women have made clothing and domestic textiles  more beautiful through stitching on to and sensitively patching and I am just continuing that tradition.In the writing I want to express my love for old textiles and the stories they tell and to connect with the viewer and their own family sewing histories. I love to tell others about my processes and inspiration and writing I think encourages others to have a go.

Embroidering over the textile collage, new patchworks on to old french grain sacks.

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