It’s not a solo exhibition – yet. 😉 But you may remember a couple of years ago that I took part in an exhibition organised by South London Women Artists (SLWA), entitled Pillow Talk. It was a collaboration with the Women’s Art Library (WAL) and took the form of a pop-up reading lounge in a geodesic dome furnished with a selection of readings, cuttings and ephemera from the WAL collection and art pillows by SLWA artists as seating.
My contribution, a felt snail pillow, was inspired by the idea of a nomadic library, carrying information about the ambitions, stories and histories of women artists around the country.
Now the exhibition (and snail) has reached Tate Modern. As part of a homage to the centenary of women getting the vote in February 1918, Pillow Talk will form part of the Uniqlo Tate Late event on Friday 23 February, 6-10pm.
For this event, the pillows will be laid out on the floor in the shape of the female symbol where visitors will be invited to sit, read and have conversations. At its heart will be a mobile library full of publications, catalogues, magazines and ephemera about women artists.
We’ll be on Level 2 in the Blavatnik Building – hope to see you there!
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!
Called Pillow Talk: conversations with women, this pop-up women’s art reading lounge is a nomadic reading room steeped in the achievements and ambitions, stories and histories of women artists.
A selection of readings, cuttings and ephemera from the WAL collection will be housed in a transparent geodesic dome furnished with art pillows by SLWA artists as seating. Visitors are invited to relax, read the material and to interact by sharing their own inspirations and histories, which will become part of the archive. These conversations with women contribute to a collective multi-layered memory of women’s art history and highlight the achievements of women artists.
The pillow artworks feature the work of 60 SLWA artists exploring diverse themes from the environment, science to politics, gender, memory and sex. They are sites of learning, contemplation, discussion and dissent as well as a place to sit.
My snail pillow was inspired by the idea of the nomadic library. Whereas snails leave a trail of slime, hopefully the library will leave a trail of inspiration, ideas and memories. 🙂
Pillow Talk: conversations with women has its private view on Monday 14 March, 6.30-9pm, at Brixton East, 100 Barrington Road, London SW9 7JF. It is open for one day only, on Tuesday 15 March 11am-5pm.
After that it will tour to different locations in the UK throughout 2016 and will feature a colour ISBN catalogue.
I was slightly worried about hanging the fungus, because I didn’t know the gallery or space. I was even more worried when I arrived at the gallery, as it’s very small and intimate, and there were to be more than 30 South London Women Artists exhibiting.
Gabriel Fine Art is housed in a former Buddhist centre – a three-room cottage close to the site of the London Necropolis railway station from where dead bodies were transported from overcrowded London to Brookwood Cemetery in Surrey. The history is fascinating – William Blake frequented the area, and now it’s a creative hub for artists, photographers, film makers and entrepreneurs.
With the ceilings being quite low, suspending the supporting branch wasn’t as difficult as I feared, thanks to help from my friend Magdalen and one of the gallery managers Patrick O’Neill. And in the smaller space, the piece made more of an impact, so I was pleased with the result in the end.
Abigail is preparing for her own private view, as she’s having a solo exhibition called Tenter, at House Mill, Bromley-by-Bow, London E3 3DU, from 6 to 10 May. She’s also running some feltmaking workshops there.
See here for more details about Abigail’s exhibition and her fundraising campaign.
I mentioned in a previous post that I’ve been working on a new piece for another South London Women Artists exhibition titled Death and Transition. It’s taken an age to finish, but I’m nearly there, so here is the big reveal. 😉
Rather than trying to make a great spiritual or metaphysical statement, I’ve taken a more down to earth approach. In nature, death is essentially a recycling opportunity. Along with bacteria, fungi are the main decomposers, degrading dead and rotting organic matter to inorganic molecules, which are then taken up by other organisms. Without fungi we would effectively be lost under piles of dead plant remains.
So…my piece is entitled Fungi, and consists of a felt column of felt fungi. I felted each mushroom/toadstool individually (around an hour each!), inspired by a technique I picked up at Liz Clay’s workshop. Then I attached them to a felt column about 1 metre high and felted the entire piece together.
I did include lengths of covered wire in the stalks of the fungi so that I could bend them into different positions, but in the end this was not really necessary. A few stitches proved to be far more effective! 😉
At the moment the piece is still drying out – here’s a shot taken from a rather odd angle, as it’s lying over the bath to catch the drips.
And here is a better pic of the whole piece hanging on the washing line.
I have to deliver it to the gallery on Tuesday, so I’m hoping for good weather to continue the drying out process!
Death and Transition is at Gabriel Fine Art Gallery, Cottage 2, Old Paradise Yard, 20 Carlisle Lane, London SE1 7LG, from 17 April to 1 May 2015. The private view is on Friday 17 April, 6.30-9.30pm – everyone welcome!