It hasn’t been a very creative time for me over the past couple of weeks. Too busy with my day job, earning money towards my next felting workshop – five whole days with Maria Friese and Ariane Mariane just outside Paris in a couple of weeks’ time. ESP is going to wander the streets of Paris (and no doubt stuff himself in fine restaurants at lunchtime) while I enjoy some fibre fun with a group of like-minded enthusiasts. I’m really looking forward to it!
So it was a relief to escape for half a day with my sister Women of the Cloth, Carol and Joan, to go back to Hall Place in Bexley for an exhibition by the New Embroidery Group (their website is currently being redesigned).
Contradicting its name, the group was actually established more than 40 years ago. Its president for many years was Constance Howard, famous- among other things- for her green hair, for establishing the embroidery department at Goldsmiths College, and for producing The Country Wife textile mural for the Festival of Britain in 1951.
The exhibition in the Stables Gallery was small but beautifully hung, with lovely views onto the lavender in the gardens beyond.
I particularly liked the works by Buffy Fieldhouse, who used a mixture of paint, stitch, paper and fabric – and rusty nails! – in her pieces.
I also liked the rhythms and movement of Liz Holliday’s contours and earthworks against the regular outlines of fields.
And the delicacy of Kathie Small’s herringbone stitch on paper was appealing.
Afterwards we strolled around the beautiful gardens and greenhouses, where I couldn’t resist the sculptural symmetry of the gorgeous succulents.
I also have a bit of a current obsession with pitcher plants: one of the things that fascinates me is the way the stalk curls up from underneath – how does it keep the pitcher stable when it is full of liquid?
Another spiralling plant that I’ve never seen before.
And some wonderful woven hanging baskets where the furry roots of the ferns seem to form part of the structure.