Thursday, 4 December 2014

Sharing at the Knitting and Stitching Show.

Winter was nearly there in the UK but at least there was no snow yet this year! The weather was typically northern late autumn mornings which are misty and damp. I have been in Harrogate for ‘The Knitting and Stitching Show’. This year I was not in my usual spot but have opted to join the ‘Artist in Action’ stand where we are given a studio space to work in. The whole space is sponsored by Art Van Go providers of fabulous art materials, they are generous, knowledgeable, helpful, so if ever you need art materials, give them a call! In an atmosphere of sharing in this area, there were feltmakers, paper textiles, printers, stitchers and more, all throwing materials at each other to see what could be done using another artists ideas and knowledge. The thousands of visitors, often 4 or 5 deep in front of the work tables, were eager to see what we were up to. I was making a start on new ideas with seedpods, but also spent a fair bit of time discussing the use of metal and metal cloths in textiles as well as the development process. A big thanks to Janome for the lend of a sewing machine.

The view from my table when I had a chance to see across the Artist in Action area

Alison Hulme busy working on screen prints, gelli prints and more.

The time passed so incredibly quickly that it seems to have gone before it has really begun.
I managed a couple of very fleeting walks around the many exhibits and stands and bought a selection of new Aurifill threads to try as recommended by Dionne Swift. I am looking forward to working with those soon.
A few of the exhibitions which have stayed with me were:
Between the Lines by E.A.S.T. (East Anglian Stitched Textiles). Though I am about up to my ears with WW1 memorabilia, services, remembrances etc., this being the centenary year of the start of the war. I was very impressed by these thoughtful, well executed and explained pieces.

Mary Flynn from the Isle of Wight has collected the detritus from her local beaches and creates hangings, quilts, banners and sculptures from these as a comment on the waste and littering in our seas, they are also strong, vibrant art pieces. I have a long standing affinity to the sea from my Marine Biology days and also an awareness of the problems in our environment. I can still recall what has to be my ‘awakening’ to the environmental impact that humans have on the planet from reading Rachel Carson’s ‘Silent Spring’ in my teenage years. 

Mary Flynn modelling her detritus jewellery

Mary Flynn banners created from waste washed up on the beach
 There were many more exhibitions, and only time to see and mention such a few. 
Ann Small and Sue Walton exhibited work they described as magical, curious and slightly scary.

Work by Ann Small

Work by Sue Walton

Work by Sue Walton

 The Graduate showcase is always of interest, the graduate students are of many ages and often have previous lives and careers behind them, a great mix of lives drawn together through creative textiles. It is also interesting to talk to the students about their experience of travelling around with the Knitting and Stitching show. Often this is their first out of college experience of showing work. They always find it an eye opener, and it can be a great boost to their confidence. But also they are at a stage where they are considering where to go and how to develop their work. A common failing in art courses is to give the students experience and ideas of their post graduation options or an understanding of the business perspective of their chosen direction. What do they want from their studies and how might they achieve that are questions they are often left to discover for themselves. I feel pretty strongly that this fails them and students should hit the ground running once they graduate. Good luck to them all.

Helen Sill

Georgina Bellamy

Harrogate certainly knows how to put on a great display for Christmas. 

Including this use of the knitted copper tubes I sometimes use in my pieces
An elegant town, famous for Betty’s tea shop (might be great for tea, but I can’t recommend the coffee), plenty of restaurants including the lovely little Salsa Posada and fabulous Mexican coffee with tequila, kahula, lemon and cinnamon which is perfect for the cold evenings – a treat I try to repeat on each visit.   

A warning that the parking attendants can be a little officious, I had to wriggle out of a fine for the heinous offence of not writing my car registration number onto all of my permits. How terrible am I?

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