Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Exhibitions on opposite sides of the world

I am living 'bi-continentally' now, splitting my time between the UK and New Zealand, and this month visited great textile events in both places.

Driftwood on Mairangi Bay.

Tree fern ready to unroll.

Just before the last nip across the ocean to NZ I spent a very pleasant afternoon at Rufford Country Park to see the works of a Sheffield based group called 'Art Through Textiles'. This is a very well established, large (over 90 members) and long lived group which I have had the pleasure of visiting and knowing several of the members for some time. Many of the members are well known textile artists, all are enthusiastic and experimental. They were showing a collection called 'Elements'.
If I can get my critiques out of the way, they would be that there is never enough signage at Rufford to direct casual visitors to the gallery space meaning that only a very small proportion of the visitors to the Country Park ever get to the gallery area, despite this sales seemed to be going well and Rufford is always a good space with plenty of light and plenty of space. Also there was probably a little too much work on show, so that some works were squeezed in or not allowed their full potential and I wonder whether a more rigorous selection would have helped.
Having said that, group exhibitions with lots to see gives every visitor something to like or to talk about and I am sure that it would be judged a great success. Well done ATT.

A few people whose work I noted down at the time were:

Cass Rawlings - using organdie layers, I liked the delicate, decayed quality of the printed, layered fabrics with additions of simple catching stitching.
Jill Askey - highly textured pleats and fissures, pulled, twisted, burnt and embellished pieces.
Linda Bellinger - painting and printing on canvas with simple stitching in some areas, a painterly style using a fresh pallate, stitch seems to grow directly from the painting.
Diane Gilder - very dense, possibly computerised, machine stitch of 'water patterns'.
Sue Coles - 'tag book' structures, falling and twisting.
Jay Johnson - Landscapes of layers of shot silk and sheer fabrics with couching and handstitch.
Alison Folland - rough, wild vessels and sculptures made from scraps.
Jo Owen - life drawings on paper and fabric, restrained use of colour and stitch.
Lesley Alexander - a series of works of collaged fabrics, paint, embellishing andf limited stitching in quiet greys with highlights of blues mostly. The work was presented as one piece and as such was rather overwhelming. I would have been happier seeing each one as sufficient in itself, and indeed as we are now showing this series in 'Brocade and Beyond' at the Beetroot Tree, I have hung the pieces apart from each other.
Lynne Garbutt - stitched indigo tye dye, layered and pieces with vibrant, contrasting red used  as an emphasis. Suggestive of Japanese work.
Pam Rowley - the pieces were restrained and careful, a successful combination of texture and machine stitch set against firm hand stitch marks. I was not so keen on the framing though.
Last but not least, my friend Sandra Goddard - I loved her landscape combining photomontage and close up details. An evocative and personal memory of a dramatic Northumbrian coastline.

Sorry no images, I had hoped to get some from the ATT site, but they aren't in evidence just now. Keep an eye out for the groups future events on their site.

I then took a plane and from a not so brilliant summer in the UK, via 35 degrees C at 5am in Dubai, to spring sunshine and showers in New Zealand.
Gratuitous images of spring flowers coming up:

Amongst other actvities whilst there, I did squeeze a trip to Hamilton to the Craft and Quilt Show which for a relatively small show had a selection of interesting exhibits.
One of these was a selection of wearable art textiles made from reused and recycled materials, called 'restyle', I missed the actual show which was on the evening before my visit, but there were fun and novel examples of materials and clothing on show.
The fibre art section had a selection of felted and embellished garments. I thought that the use of fine vintage patterned silks worked especially well:

Kath O'Halloran and unknown artist

Shrug by Bryona McInally


And there was a really strong showing of quilts in various categories, a few of which caught my eye for differing and eclectic reasons:

Marylin Muirhead. Discharge techniques


Irene Anderton. Tweed and Plaid are unusual but successful materials for quilt

Merilyn George. A quilt remembering Chinese workers in New Zealand

Overall winner. Helen Godden


Merelyn Pearce. My husband's favorite as a reminder of his Aussie days


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