Return from Mexico

Brrrr – I’m back!

Actually I returned from Mexico last week but was shocked into hibernation mode by the simultaneous sudden drop in temperature and need to gear up for Christmas markets on both days last weekend.

To be honest I was also a bit overwhelmed by the whole trip. The International Shibori Symposium was extremely intense, with workshops, talks and presentations. I learnt an incredible amount and met some very interesting people.

And my holiday was also pretty busy, with more fantastic textiles, markets and extraordinary pre-Hispanic cultural sites to fit in.

So there will be several posts about Mexico to come over the next few months.

In the meantime, while I catch my breath, here are some images of a dead leaf – what else? – that I found on a tour of the wonderful Ethnobotanic Gardens in Oaxaca.

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I almost couldn’t bear to leave it behind, but I knew that even if it somehow miraculously survived the trip back to the UK, it was illegal to import it in case of disease.

So I took loads of photos instead – a piece of natural shibori. 🙂

Textile Alchemy at the WAC Gallery — Modern Eccentrics

I went to the PV of Textile Alchemy on Wednesday, but Johnny’s photos are miles better than mine! So I’m just reblogging and saying that you can still catch the show tomorrow (didn’t realise it was only up for a few days) at Waterloo Action Centre, 14 Baylis Road, London SE1 7AA.

For once, I’m not going to write very much about this wonderful show, the end of year exhibition of the Advanced Textile Workshop at Morley College. This is because Zoë Burt, the tutor has summed things up so eloquently, and done my job for me. ‘Students have had exciting opportunities to creatively develop their professional textile […]

via Textile Alchemy at the WAC Gallery — Modern Eccentrics

TextielMuseum in Tilburg and Kubota in Antwerp

Last week I visited the Netherlands to see the splendid exhibition commemorating the 500th anniversary of the death of the artist Hieronymous Bosch. The exhibition is in ’s-Hertogenbosch, the city after which the artist took his name, but we stayed in nearby Tilburg, which happens to have an excellent textiles museum. 🙂

The TextielMuseum in Tilburg is housed in an old spinning mill, now a national monument, with modern extensions. The ground floor recreates the woollen blanket factory that occupied the premises from 1900 to 1940, with baskets of fleece and carding, spinning, spooling, and weaving machines, all powered by a steam engine.

Next door, by contrast, is the modern TextielLab, a specialist workshop with computer controlled machines offering students and designers the chance to collaborate and experiment with weaving, knitting, embroidery, tufting, passementerie and laser cutting. Visitors are free to wander and see the machines in action, samples of experimental work, and take part in workshops – it’s an engrossing experience.

Laser cutting in TextielLab
Laser cutting in TextielLab
Weaving in TextielLab
Weaving in TextielLab
Weaving workshop in TextielLab
Weaving workshop in TextielLab
Tufting sample in TextielLab
Tufting sample in TextielLab
Tufting sample in TextielLab
Tufting sample in TextielLab

Upstairs, the temporary exhibition Co-creation explores in more detail three collaborations between the TextielLab and prominent design agencies. Studio Samira Boon’s work on textile structures inspired by origami interested me greatly. By combining suitable yarns and weave, Samira produced complex self-folding textiles known as “Super Folds”, which create a 3D structure.

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Also on the first floor, another temporary exhibition called Switch examines 25 years of Dutch design. It includes some wonderful felted hangings by Claudy Jongstra.

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There were some interesting rugs too, including the “accidental carpet” by Tejo Remy and Tanja Smeets, made from used woollen blankets.

Accidental Carpet

The “Kiki Carpet” by Kiki van Eijk resembles a large embroidery and was inspired by the decor of 19th-century dolls’ houses.

tilburg 10

The “Algae Growth” carpet by Studio Maarten Kolk and Guus Kusters looked at the issue of sustainability. The designers digitally printed the backing and treated it with the remnants of ink from the ink cartridges. After tufting, the carpet was then moistened so that the ink flowed from the backing to the pile.

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Last but certainly not least, the final temporary exhibition on the ground floor is a retrospective of Sheila Hicks. Spanning seven decades of her work, the show includes some wonderful examples of her remarkably varied work, reflected in the show’s title “Why Not?”

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More information about all these exhibitions on the TextielMuseum website.

Before coming home, we stopped off in Antwerp for a couple of nights, where the Fashion Museum (MoMu) currently has eight kimono by Itchiku Kubota on display. I’ve blogged previously about a lecture I attended on this master craftsman, but this is the first time I’ve seen any of his kimono in real life.

Unfortunately, they are displayed about six feet behind glass panels, so it’s not easy to see the detail. This, anyway, is my excuse for the not-so-great images below.

Six kimono are from The Universe section of his Symphony of Light series, ablaze with flames and swirls of colour, rich with embroidery and gold leaf highlights.

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The two kimono from the Mount Fuji series are more subtle, with the textures created by shibori clouds delicately rippling across the pale surfaces.

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Traditions and Dreams – Kimono from the Kubota Collection runs at the MoMu Gallery until 19 June 2016.

Review of 2015

Those good folk at WordPress, where this blog is hosted, thoughtfully send an annual summary with details of how many views I’ve had, where visitors come from, top posts and so on.

I’m happy to say that the number of views and visitors continues to increase every year, with the largest proportion coming from the US.

However, this year, for the first time, my top five posts were all from previous years:

Does this mean I’ve peaked? Looks like my greatest hits are all in the past – or, as WordPress kindly puts it, “Your writing has staying power!”

So it looks as if I’m going to have to do my own 2015 review. 😉

The year started on a high with a mud resist printing and indigo dyeing workshop in Jaipur, India. It was fascinating to see a full scale indigo vat and experience natural dyeing with pomegranate and myrobolam for the first time.

first dip2

Natural dyeing and indigo also featured in the ecoprinting workshop with Irit Dulman in May, after months of fairly unsuccessful experimenting by myself!

The dye station
The dye station

Other workshops were fascinating and varied, from couture felt with Liz Clay and basketry with Mary Crabb to shoe decoupagefish rubbing and book binding!

I also took part in my first exhibitions as a member of South London Women Artists. In January, for What is Urban?, I submitted a set of paving stones printed with leaves.

Kim Winter 4-1000px

Then in April I made a large (for me) felted fungi piece for the exhibition Death and Transition – this was considerably lighter than the paving stones!

Felted fungi
Felted fungi

My other felt work experimented with combining hard and soft, incorporating stones and shells.

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And with my ecoprinting I took the same upcycling approach I use for my indigo shibori, buying scarves and garments from charity shops and auctions and overprinting / dyeing.

ecoprinted garments

Sometimes I even managed to combine felting and ecoprinting!

My favourite exhibitions of the year were Barbara Hepworth at Tate Britain, Alexander Calder at Tate Modern, bark cloth at the British Museum, and of course The Fabric of India at the V&A, which is on until 10 January, so you can still catch it.

Which brings us back to India, where we started.

I wish you all a happy and creative 2016!