Contemporary Textiles Fair review

Phew! I’ve just about recovered from a very busy and successful Contemporary Textiles Fair at the Landmark Centre in Teddington at the weekend.

Image: Contemporary Textiles Fair

The private view on Friday evening was one of the busiest I’ve ever experienced, and with more than 60 exhibitors there was plenty to see.

Image: Contemporary Textiles Fair

The organisation was superb, and everyone was really helpful, especially the unflappable guy in the car park scrum at the end!

The felt corsages I’ve been making certainly brightened up my stand.

And a couple of pieces I recently ecoprinted with onion skins were the first to sell.

ecoprint scarf with onion skins

I didn’t have much time to have a good look at the other stands, but some near me are worth a mention.

Sarah Grove makes lovely porcelain pieces from plaster casts of stitched, stuffed and upholstered textiles. I couldn’t resist this jug, which reminds me of the pleated shibori pieces I make.

jug by sarah grove

I also signed up to No Serial Number, a quarterly magazine about eco-conscious and heritage craft, design and lifestyle.

I also liked the work of artist Rachel Pearcey, who had the stand next to me. Her drawings in black thread are very meditative.

Image: Rachel Pearcey

All in all, a great weekend – roll on next year! 🙂

Spring flowers

The online workshop with Pam de Groot continues – I’ll post an update on this later.

In the meantime, partly inspired by the Josef Frank exhibition, I’ve become a bit obsessed with making felt flowers. As you may know if you’ve followed me for a while, my colour palette is normally quite subdued (and usually involves a lot of blue 🙂 ) but the flowers have really allowed me to take advantage of all the brightly coloured fleece in my stash!

felt-corsages

I’m hoping to have a good selection of these corsages to brighten my stand at the Contemporary Textiles Fair in Teddington later this month.

I’ve also been continuing my work with dress net, exploring other forms. Coincidentally, one of these also happens to be a flower.

net-flower-1

The next step is to make enough of these to create a ball! Two down, 10 to go. 🙂

net-flower-2

Josef Frank at Fashion and Textile Museum

josef-frank-spotlight4

If the long cold winter is getting you down, I can thoroughly recommend a visit to the Fashion and Textile Museum to see  “Josef Frank: Patterns – Furniture – Painting”. The riotous lushness of his colourful designs will send your spirits soaring.

The exhibition covers his textile designs, furniture and watercolours, including many paintings that have never been seen in public before. But it was his textile designs I found most entrancing, so I focus on those here.

Josef Frank (1885-1967) was born in Austria and trained as an architect. However, he was interested not only in construction but also in interior design, feeling that a home should be a cosy and comfortable haven.

In 1925 he founded the design and furnishings firm Haus & Garten, but in 1933, with anti-Semitism on the rise, he moved to Stockholm with his Swedish wife Anna. For almost 30 years he worked with Estrid Ericson at Svenskt Tenn, producing more than 2000 pieces of furniture and around 200 carpets, wallpapers and textile designs.

Frank was a great admirer of William Morris, as can be seen in his stylised motifs from nature, geometric order and repeat patterns.

josef-frank-1
Teheran, 1943-45
josef-frank-2
Nippon, 1943-45
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Nippon, 1943-45

 

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Aralia, 1928

There was humour, too, as in this design called “Italian Dinner”, showing aubergines, peas and garlic growing alongside a river stuffed with seafood.

Italian Dinner, 1943-45
Italian Dinner, 1943-45

Some designs zing with colour.

Three Islands in the Black Sea, 1935
Three Islands in the Black Sea, 1935

Others use a pared down palette.

Aristidia, 1925-30
Aristidia, 1925-30
Window, 1943
Window, 1943

Other natural inspirations included birds.

Green Birds in the Trees, 1943-45
Green Birds in the Trees, 1943-45
Anakreon, 1938
Anakreon, 1938

I also liked Rocks and Figs, clearly influenced by Chinese ink paintings of mountains.

Rocks and Figs, 1943-45
Rocks and Figs, 1943-45

In contrast, Terrazzo was inspired by agate rocks embedded in a terrazzo floor.

Terrazzo, 1943-45
Terrazzo, 1943-45

And Manhattan featured maps of New York.

Manhattan, 1943-45
Manhattan, 1943-45

Finally, there was also a complete room showing examples of how the furnishings worked together. So that’s where Ikea got the idea from! 😉

josef-frank-14

Josef Frank: Patterns – Furniture – Painting runs at the Fashion and Textile Museum until 7 May.

Svenskt Tenn still sells textiles, wallpaper and furniture designed by Frank – and its website has much better photos than mine!

And here are a couple of felt flowers I made, inspired by the exhibition. 🙂

frank-felt-flowers

Texture and dimensions with Pam de Groot

Like buses, workshops seem to come along in groups. No sooner had I signed up to the course with Caroline Bartlett at Morley College than I heard that Australian felt artist Pam de Groot was running her first online workshop on textures and dimension.

I’ve long admired Pam’s sculptural felt, so I signed up immediately – and lucky I did, because it sold out within 24 hours.

The course runs over six weeks, with a new module every week containing written instructions, videos and downloadable PDFs. There’s also a discussion board where you can post photos of work in progress as well as finished pieces, ask questions and get feedback, and learn from other students too!

The first two modules featured the Splash,  representing the movement of water when something is dropped into it.

Image: Pam de Groot
Image: Pam de Groot

This was a great exercise in creating form through varying the thickness of the fibre, the direction of layout and the direction of rolling, and it was great to see the variety of colours and shapes that everyone produced. Here’s mine.

splash-final

As I finished this early in the second week, I decided to experiment with making a multi-layered Splash to resemble a flower.

I only had three felt balls left from the first one and didn’t want to make any more (I hate making felt balls!) so I used them to create three “stamens” in the centre of the flower.

multilayer-splash-1

Without the stamens it reminds me a bit of a protea flower. I’m already wondering if I can produce an artichoke, pine cone, chrysanthemum or thistle by varying the length and shape of the “petals” – very exciting!

multilayer-splash-2

Next up – the Spiral. 🙂

Pam’s next online workshop is in April – more information on her website.

Contemporary Textiles Fair 2 for 1 ticket

ctf17_eflyer

I’m excited to be taking part in the Contemporary Textiles Fair at the Landmark Arts Centre, Teddington, on 17-19 March.

The venue is a converted church, so it feels very spacious, even with 75 exhibitors showing a range of wearable and hangable art.

There will also be a talk by Anthea Godfrey, who is the Artistic Director of the Embroiders’ Guild and recently project manager of the Hardhome Embroidery, a large-scale Game of Thrones inspired artwork. And the Royal School of Needlework is offering two taster workshops on the Saturday.

The private view is on Friday 17 March, 6-8.30pm, with a bar. On Saturday and Sunday the fair is open 10am-5pm; a cafe is available.

The normal entry price is £4 but as a follower of this blog, you can use the flyer above to get free entry to the private view on Friday or to get two tickets for the price of one on Saturday and Sunday. Either download it, print it off and bring it with you or show it on your device at the entrance desk.

Hope to see you there!