SLWA My Place exhibition

I’m very excited to be taking part in the My Place exhibition organised by the South London Women Artists. The work of 30 artists will be on show, each exploring their sense of place and belonging.

My piece combines ombre-dyed cotton scrim and felt, because my place – where I feel most at home – is by the indigo vat.

ombre dyed felt

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!

Pillow Talk exhibition

I can now reveal that the snail pillow that featured in my last post was made for an upcoming event organised by the South London Women Artists (SLWA) and the Women’s Art Library (WAL).

Pillow Talk PV Invite

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. 🙂

snail1 72dpi

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.

Hanging and private views

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

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.

hang 5 hang6hang plus Kim hang with kim 1

The private view last night was packed. It was lovely to see fellow felter Abigail Thomas of Felt Meets Cloth, who I met at the felt workshop in France last year.

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.

A6 template

See here for more details about Abigail’s exhibition and her fundraising campaign.

Death and Transition, SLWA exhibition

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. 😉

D&T Poster

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.

Fungus close up

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.

fungi bath

And here is a better pic of the whole piece hanging on the washing line.

fungi clothesline

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!

Spring: new life and death

Spring officially starts this week, though the frogs in our pond have been frisking for more than a fortnight.

frogspawn

To celebrate the new growing season and longer days I cranked up the indigo vat and did my first batch of scarves this year.

spring indigo 2015

These will soon make their way to my Etsy shop, which is looking sadly depleted, as this is the first opportunity I’ve had to do any dyeing since before Christmas. I’ve also got a stall at the Intrigue Emporium at Shoreditch Town Hall on 3 May.

The What is Urban? exhibition is over, so the paving stones are back in the garden. I’m now frantically trying to finish my piece for the next South London Women Artists exhibition, on the theme Death and Transition, which opens on 17 April.

I had to submit an image for the catalogue this week, so this required a strategic close-up shot of the section that was most advanced. 🙂 Here’s a sneak peek.

Fungus close up

More about how this relates to the theme of Death and Transition in a later post. But I can tell you now that the piece is a lot lighter than the paving stones! 😉

Also looking further ahead, Carol and I will be running a Women of the Cloth felting workshop at the South London Botanical Institute on 30 May. The workshop will be part of the Chelsea Fringe, the alternative gardening festival linked to the Chelsea Flower Show. Carol will be teaching people how to make needle felted birds, while I will be showing them how to make wet felted bird pods.

felt bird pod1

It’s going to be a busy spring!