By varying the thickness and spacing you can create different effects, so it’s always exciting and fascinating to see what other people have produced in the online discussions. One enthusiastic felter has produced a whole undersea tableau with her creations!
Here I combined some undulations with spikes, just for fun.
Now we’ve moved on to felting foreign objects, starting with stones. As you might imagine, this combination of hard and soft was right up my street. And ESP will be delighted that I’m actually doing something with all the stones I collect on our holidays (and which normally end up in his suitcase to carry home!).
I started with a small granite pebble.
Then I had a go at making a felt necklace. To be honest it’s a bit of a squeeze getting it over my head – I should have made the cord a bit longer!
Finally, I found a flint in the garden that had three holes in it – two of the holes connected to form a mini tunnel. So I tried felting this and then cutting to reveal the holes. Here are a couple of different angles, showing the flint before and after felting.
If I did it again I would probably have fewer layers of felt to try to maintain more of the shape of the stone.
I’m also not sure whether the felt covers too much of the stone texture and whether I should cut away a bit more of the felt. What do you think?
All the exhibitors had artist statements (most of which were not too burdened with gobbledegook “artspeak”!) explaining their intentions and way of working. Some also had copies of research behind their ideas and approach.
Although it doesn’t have a textiles degree, we usually visit the show because ESP is interested in the stone carving. Among the examples of foliage, drapery, and lettering (some of which was quite innovative this year), I particularly liked Liz Middleton‘s limestone pillows.
And although there isn’t a textiles specialism, there were some textiles on display.
Hannah Hill‘s funny, energetic, feminist embroideries make the point that embroidery has never traditionally been considered an art form – it’s just “women’s work”.
In the same room, Kirsty Armstrong showed large sheets of oxidised (rusty) steel, which she had used to make a latex “print”.
Natalia Gonzalez Martin’s meaty amorphous sculptures were made from chicken wire, plaster and wax, partly covered with gauze. Displayed on plinths, they raised the question of who in society has the power to decide what cultural objects should be displayed in museums and galleries.
I wasn’t sure how her work would fit in a domestic setting, but I did buy one of her monoprints!
My piece combines ombre-dyed cotton scrim and felt, because my place – where I feel most at home – is by the indigo vat.
The colour indigo is traditionally thought to stimulate right brain or creative activity, but for me it is more of a meditative experience, disrupting the coppery sheen of the surface as I dip the fabric, and watching the magical alchemy as it turns from green to blue before my eyes. The white clouds in the sky above are mirrored by the clumps of foam, or indigo “flower”, floating on the surface of the vat.
My Place runs from 7 to 12 July at Brixton East 1871, 100 Barrington Road, London SW9 7JF, 11am-6pm daily.
The private view is on Friday 7 July, 6-9pm – everyone welcome!
Maybe it’s the heat, or maybe it’s my age, but I was a bit disappointed with the Chelsea show this year.
I noted two years ago the increase in installation displays, and that trend continues. Lord knows I’m the last one to criticise adventurous use of materials – I’ve experimented with paper, plastic, metal, plaster, stone, wood and shells as well as fibre in my work. But then I’m not doing a degree in textile design. When a display includes nothing that could be remotely defined as a textile I start to think that maybe they just ran out of space in the fine art exhibition area opposite.
Also, as a visitor I like to know the story behind the work. What was the inspiration or theme? A sketchbook showing the development of ideas is always fascinating. Although many of the displays had “look books”, too often they didn’t add much information – just more images. And a table of apparently random samples is not really presenting work in its best light.
Still, enough of the gripes. Here are my favourites based on my personal prejudices.
Charlotte Hanford had one of the most coherent displays, including an explanation that she was inspired by launderettes, including the circular machine drums. Her weaving even included lint gathered from machines in various launderettes!
Another imaginative display by Tracy Chu consisted of stitched vessels made from glow-in-the-dark thread, which had to be viewed with torches in black boxes.