In February, I exhibited at the Courtuard Gallery, Hertford, with 5 other textile artists. Our exhibition was called Chinese Whispers and was based on the children's game of Chinese Whispers. Each artist created a textile 'whisper' passing it on to the next member to use as inspiration for another textile, which was in turn passed to the next person. There were 6 beginnings and 6 very different endings.
It was about two years from our first meeting to the opening of our exhibition. Our Private View was held on 7th February in snowy icy weather but we were very pleased that so many people came. Visitors seemed to be interested in the concept of the Chinese whispers and as there was a great variety in the work, there was something for everyone.
Below is the 'whisper' that I started. Following a very enjoyable holiday in Nambia, I was very keen to create a textile based on my experiences but due to the work I needed to do for my CIty & Guilds it had to go on hold. This piece was inspired by the oranges and terracotta of the dunes set against bright blue cloudless skies in the Namib desert.
Jan Simpson created the next piece. In Jan's words: 'Marian’s landscape is of a hot place (given the terracotta earth etc.) so I decided to do something based on the hottest place I have ever been, which is Bryce Canyon, Utah, USA. It is also the most mesmerising and fascinating place I have ever been to with its Hoo Doo monoliths of terracotta stone carved by millennia of water and ice standing hundreds of feet tall in endless canyons.'
Judith Coxell created the next piece and in Judith's words: 'Jan’s piece reminded me of statues maybe on Easter Island or Mount Rushmore. Thinking of a British equivalent I thought Henry Moore and his sculptures and made this piece. This looked fine but slightly dull so for fun I added sheep as Henry Moore is also famous for his sheep drawings.'
Sue Hickman created the following piece and in Sue's words: 'My first impression of Judith’s piece was of sculptures resting in either a field or a wild garden. I decided to try to keep the background colours similar, but to change the scale of the sculptures. One of the sculptures looked like a ruined castle and I decided to make this the focal point. I enlarged the size of half of another sculpture to create the illusion of looking through this to the ruined castle in the distance'
Jenny Alderson created the following piece and in her own words: 'When I first looked at Sue’s piece I immediately saw what represented to me a never ending road so I produced a piece based on the yellow brick road. I have used Kantha work, an Indian method of securing together fragments of various fabrics. The analogy here is that I also see the characters in Dorothy, the tin man, the lion and the scarecrow as fragments of the world they are in at the time and the way they hold together.'
Debbie Brindley Lewis created the final piece in my 'whisper' and in Debbie's words: 'When I saw Jenny’s piece it seemed to sum up the whisper process for me. The end had arrived and happy with friends after various trials and tribulations. I followed the theme of films. The background fabric was made up of various film stars from a similar era. A cine camera was added and a “film strip” border completed the piece.'
So from sand dunes to film stars. Who could have predicted that? Certainly not me. I was very pleased with all the pieces that were in my stream - thank you all!
We also created a book with the pieces in it, so we each have a record of all 36 pieces.