Morley Gallery Advanced Textiles Exhibition 2013

Despite all my grand plans to enter some pieces featuring my newly acquired felting techniques into the Morley Gallery exhibition, I ran out of time. I’m still experimenting and consolidating, and I didn’t want to show “work in progress” that I wasn’t really happy with.

So in the end I only put in two pieces, both made in the Easter term – the limpet scarf and the kantha embroidered tortoise shell. I included the real tortoise shell in the display for comparison, but you can’t see it in the photo.



There was only one other student from my course who was exhibiting – Jane Thistlewood, who makes beautifully light nuno-felted clothing in pale washed silk. But I did catch up with some of the tutors and other students who weren’t exhibiting.

No photos of other exhibits I’m afraid – the ones I took were terribly dark or full of reflections. The ones in this post were taken by ESP, who has a much better camera but didn’t take any other exhibits.

The show runs at Morley Gallery until 25 July.


The good news is that it didn’t rain last night. Because it was so humid, Morley Gallery decided to set up the bar in the garden, rather than having lots of visitors crammed inside and getting hotter and hotter. It was much more refreshing outside, but it did mean that I missed a couple of visitors who came to the private view and didn’t see the signs to the drinks in the garden.

Here are a couple of photos of work by my fellow students in the exhibition. I did take a lot more, but the light was fading by then, so apologies to everyone else!

Elaine’s bag started life as an incredibly intricate paper cut of fish, which she used as a stencil in the heat press and then embroidered
Eileen’s screen printed and embroidered hat was inspired by a “bearded man” vase she saw at the V&A

The bad news is that the leaves on my bamboo have started shrivelling already. I didn’t put the bamboo into jars of water, so it can only get worse as the week goes on!

However, there were still a lot of positive comments, so hopefully it won’t matter too much.

The other bad news is that my pots didn’t get selected for the V&A. 😦

Exhibition hanging

Naively, I thought that the hard work lay in making pieces for an exhibition. Little did I know how arduous the actual installation is!

Luckily, my friend Magdalen – my best customer who also happens to be a set and costume designer – came along to help. She turned up on my doorstep with two wicker shopping baskets on wheels, which were rather striking objects in themselves. Into these we piled three bags of stones, two slabs of slate, a couple of hessian coffee sacks, a bamboo pole, a pile of newspapers, a bag of balloons, two pairs of scissors, a length of silk and bamboo fabric, a large foam-covered twist grip, and a jar of shells. Oh – and my felt pieces. The partridge in the pear tree we left for another day.  😉

After struggling onto the bus (managing to snap off part of the bamboo pole), we decided to ask the driver whether he would let down the wheelchair ramp when we disembarked, as the baskets were so heavy. He very sweetly obliged, so that made it easier. And did I mention it was raining?

I had planned to show both my indigo felt pots and the nautilus shells. I still haven’t heard anything from the V&A, and I figured that if I was rejected I might not get a chance to exhibit the pots. But I thought it would be better to put them on separate plinths, as I wasn’t sure how well they would work together.

Morley Gallery was already full of people standing on ladders, stapling things to walls, and stitching last-minute alterations when we arrived. I found that I’d been allocated a large window space, which was very exciting, but also caused a dilemma, as I didn’t think that either the pots or the shells would be enough to fill the space on their own.

So we decided to put them all in the window, and spent the day running outside to see how it looked, running back inside, rearranging things, running back outside…you get the idea! In fact, trying to make it look good from both the outside and inside was one of the biggest challenges. I’m not sure how well we succeeded in this.

This was how it looked at the end of yesterday:

We decided that some more bamboo canes would be helpful at the back and sides to prevent too much white against white, so I cut a few canes from the garden this morning and went back to add them:

The other challenge of having a window space, as you can see, is trying to take photos without reflections from the windows. In this I have completely failed! 🙂

Made 2012 at Morley Gallery

The current exhibition at Morley Gallery features work from most of the textiles courses (apart from us and the foundation course, as we get our own exhibition in the summer).

There’s a great selection of pieces from several disciplines, including mosaics, interior design and quilting, but – surprise! – most of my favourite pieces were in felt or fibre.

Mary Campbell’s “Containment – Release” featured nuno felt on cotton scrim with what looked like some shibori resists at the top:

Suzanne Osborne’s soft landscape tapestry was also full of textures, while Christine Eborali’s “Rage 2” was woven totally from discarded plastic packaging. I’ve seen the latter gradually growing over the past year, as the tapestry class uses the same studio as us:

The printing on show included a lovely silk andmixed fibre scarf by Katy Broomfield, who used heat transfer printing overdyed with shibori:

Plus a great selection of furoshiki bags, including two from Avril of Stitch in Science:

I also liked the felted machine knitting by Uli Jaeger, and Moira Searle’s sleeveless coat in felted lambswool and Italian silk:

Finally, there was a wonderful needle-felted alien, “Christopher’s Creature”, by Jessica Lempp, based on a child’s drawing. Sadly, I failed to get the photo in focus – so you’ll have to go and see for yourselves if you can!

The exhibition runs until 29 March. Morley Gallery is at 61 Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7HT