Saturday, 30 June 2012

Back from Canada

I have recently returned from a lovely holiday in the Canadian Rockies. I was expecting dramatic and beautiful scenery and I was not disappointed. I have taken many, many photographs but here are a few taken at Lake Louise, which I think was my favourite location. This is the view from our hotel room;

How lucky were we? The colours on the lake varied dramatically depending on the time of day and the weather. The next two photographs were taken early in the morning and the reflections were lovely.

Some people were lucky enough to see a bear and two cubs in the hotel grounds early one morning but I didn't see them.....or least not at the hotel.

Lake Louise, like a number of the places we went to, is a skiing area in winter. We went up the cable car and saw the lake from a different perspective. If you look closely, you can see the our hotel in the front of the lake. It is in an absolutely fabulous position. Would they allow a hotel like that to be built there today? Probably not.

I expect that some of these strong landscapes will inspire a piece of textile work in the future or at least influence some of my work. How could they not?

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Exhibitions at the V&A

One of my very favourite exhibitions was the Armani exhibition held at the Royal Academy some years ago and so the Ballgowns Exhibition at the V&A was a 'must-see' exhibition for me. The exhibition was on two floors and it was really nice that the gowns on the upper floor were not behind glass and that you could walk around them. Unfortunately, there was no photography within the exhibition but I have found images on the Internet of my favourite 3 gowns.

This was one of my favourite dresses by the designer Atsuko Kudo. Unbelievably it's made of latex and is very lace-like.

I also admired this dress by Erdem, in particular the skirt. Since my foray into digital printing I have been taking a lot more notice of digitally printed garments. There is so much more to this skirt than you can see from the photograph. The fabric was layered, stitched and beaded. Truly a work of art.

The final piece in my 'top 3' is this dress by Alexander McQueen. Again, it involves digital printing. I really admire the skill in this 'engineered print' - where the design is printed on the fabric so that it appears in specific areas of the garment -  this dress has a complicated structure to print on.

I enjoyed the exhibition and it is always better to see the garment in the flesh than in a magazine. It was nice to see all the embroidery too and it would be interesting to know how many hours of work each gown took to make. During my City & Guilds course I had to record how many hours of work each of my final pieces took and I was always surprised just how long it took, especially when you take into account the design and sampling stages.

I came out of the exhibition thinking (again) that I would like to make some clothes for myself. Perhaps I'll have some time over the summer? One thing's for sure, none of these dresses would come close to fitting me. The women who wear these dresses must be very slim!

Why did I pick these 3 dresses? It's certainly not because I could see myself wearing them. I think it is because I was particularly intersted/intrigued by the skills and techniques involved in making these particular gowns.

As I was already at the V&A and a member, I thought I would just pop into the Heatherwick Studio exhibition. Well what an amazing exhibition! The exhibition shows designs coming out of the Thomas Heatherwick's studio. This is Thomas on one of his spinning chairs which looked great fun. There were a number of these at the V&A but they were all taken. Perhaps next time? 

You can see some the innovative designs on the Heatherwick Studio web site and there is also a lovely book which I'll just have to get.

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If you go to the Ballgown exhibition, do see the Heatherwick exhibition too.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Whispers Round 2

The Whispers Textile Group met again recently. The aim was to show off our first finished piece and confirm our plans for the next round. I'm sorry to say that I was the only one who hadn't finished my piece but the girls were very understanding. Thank you.

As a Project Manager, I don't like to miss a deadline but I did due to 1) life getting in the way and 2) deciding that the piece would benefit from significantly more stitching. The one thing that makes me feel better is that the design is complete and the stitching will (hopefully!) enhance it but not significantly change it. Hopefully you can see from the picture above, what I mean. Nobody should be held up.

So now we are officially into the next round of the 'whisper'. My next piece will be based on Judith's Coxell's lovely Seatle skyline. This is a section of the piece:

The piece is approximately 44 X 16 inches. There are very few requirements for the next piece, it should be inspired by the Judith's piece,be  in sympathetic colours so that the two pieces could hang together in an exhibition and be 11 X 16 inches (about 1/4 of the size of the original piece). 

I do have a couple of ideas but lots of more thinking and designing required. And that's it. That's all I can say and all I will be able to say until all the whispers are complete. We want to work on our pieces without being restricted or influenced by anyone else's work. The suspense will build!

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Taking Textiles Further May 12

I recently attended the 'Taking textiles Further' weekend, which is tutored by Janet Edmonds. It was the 3rd and final weekend on grids and also of the academic year. The weekend's theme was 3D.   

One of our starting points was to use the paper grids from our previous weekend. I had a particularly large grid which I threaded with some of my gridy fabric to secure into a 3D structure. The aim isn't to create a finished piece but rather to explore design ideas. It may inspire a 3D piece but equally a drawing from the 3D piece which could inspire a 2D design. 

The aim with this second piece (below) was to create a gridy piece held together with wire, which could be manipulated into a 3D piece. I wasn't sure where this was going. You may be able to see fragments of paper grid at the bottom of the piece and my learning point is to be more daring....try putting things together to see what happens. What have I got to lose? Who knows what ideas might come from it?

I manipulated the piece into a 3D form a drew a section of it. The drawing below was drawn with a 2B and 4B pencil wound together.  

A more conventional drawing method here but how else would I have come up with these shapes? 

I think that one of these pencil drawings could be a starting point for the next stage of my gridy cloth. More food for thought.

Monday, 4 June 2012


This week I went to the inspiring PRISM exhibition at the Mall Galleries. Unfortunately, there was no late night opening so I had to rush round during my lunch break and so I wasn't able to spend as much time there as I would have liked. However, the exhibition was excellent and I'm very glad that I did go and if you didn't get there you missed a treat. I bought a photographic permit but unfortunately I had to sign that I would not publish my photographs in any form. I'm assuming that this includes publishing on this blog, which is a shame.

I was looking forward to seeing Gina Ferrari's Art in a (telephone) box in the exhibition. I have seen pictures of the work on her blog but there is nothing like seeing work in the flesh. It really is very clever the way the people 'emerge' from the lace. Hanging the work in a telephone box is eye catching, dramatic and great for the subject matter.  

For some time now I have harboured the desire to create a textile piece using the kantha technique and I was reminded and encouraged by the pieces Dorothy Tucker and Marilyn Carter had in the exhibition. I think one of my 'whispers' pieces will be based on this technique but as it all has to be kept secret I can't say which one!

I also went to the BA degree show at the University of Hertfordshire and there was a huge amount of work to see, including some nice textile related work. I didn't take any photographs but below are links to two of the students work. 

I liked the style of the images Nina Ennis  created on canvas. She had also added fabric to the canvas, in the style of rag rug making and it was very effective.  Leanne Eastick had created a number of felt vessels which were white on the outside and black on the inside. The monochrome colour scheme and the repetition of the vessels made it very pleasing display.