Sunday, 5 March 2017

Spring Knitting and Stitching Show 2017

I had a brilliant day yesterday at the Spring Knitting and Stitching show at Olympia, London. The last time I went to an event like this was about 37 years ago when I went with my mum.

I'm not a knitter but there were plenty of other textile stalls and exhibitions and I spent the whole day totally absorbed. I went to a gelli plate mono printing workshop first - more of that in a later post. I also went to a talk which I'll mention in a bit. The rest of the time I spent browsing the exhibitions and stalls (and spending money). I took quite a few photos - most of them not very good - but here they are.  I've added links to as many websites as possible so you can see better photos and find out more. Here we go.

Janice Gunner's work was the first thing that grabbed my attention.

This last one interested me because I once tried a very similar idea using shibori pieces I had dyed to make a small quilt. Mine wasn't a success but this one is beautiful.

The first purchase I made was a kit from Gillian Travis. She had some amazing quilts hanging at her stall and she also had a quilt in the Contemporary Quilt - On the Edge exhibition. This is it; Bo Kaap, Cape Town.

And here's a picture of part of Gillian's stall.

I was particularly interested in a little quilt she had which depicted a mosque. Some time ago I signed up for a textile course which was cancelled and I then spent some time trying to follow my own 'textile course'. I never managed to produce a final piece but I was working on something that was based on a mosque that looks very like this one below.

and a close up...

Contemporary Quilt which Gillian Travis is a member of is a specialist group of the Quilters' Guild (UK). There were lots of beautiful quilts in their 'On The Edge' exhibition, most of which I failed to photograph. Here are the few I did get.

I don't have the title or the artist of this one I'm afraid.

This is 'Europe meets Asia' by Beverley Wood.

and a close up...

This is 'Rock Fall' by Kate Dowty.

  and a close up - unfortunately I got my shadow over it.

Contemporary Quilt issue a challenge every year which is open to all 800 or so members. Members send in a small sample (about 8 inches square) and from that the winners are chosen who submit their full quilts for the exhibition. As well as the quilts the exhibition included three ring binders containing the samples and this is a picture from that. It had a number but I couldn't find the name of the artist. It was lovely to be able to look through all the entries.

The next exhibition I looked at was 'Making Space' by the 62 Group but I didn't take any photos. Then I went to Quinary's exhibition 'Hidden' and took this photo of a quilt by Jean Kirk. It didn't seem to have a name. Again, it was interesting to see someone produce something using a technique I've experimented with as this is made using rust dying

And onto an exhibition called 'Shoe Making Kit' by Helen McAllister. These were hard to photograph as they are all in perspex boxes. 

And finally, one image from the exhibition 'What do I need to do to make it OK?' This is a detail from a piece called The Leper's Hands by Karina Thompson

This exhibition was curated by Liz Cooper and in the afternoon she gave a talk with two of the exhibition artists, Celia Pym and Freddie Robins. The talk was very thought provoking. They were musing on the creative process and on the unsatisfactory feeling you get when something you're working on doesn't resolve itself in a satisfactory way. Celia spoke about being prepared to break things down to rework them and Freddie said she found it hard but agreed it was often the way forward. As I'd spent quite a lot of the day seeing examples of work which did things I'd tried but which did them so much better (Jean Kirk's rust dying, Janice Gunner's shibori piece and Gillian Travis's mosque) the talk resonated with me. 

I came away from the show full of new resolutions. Well two. In the first place, I'm going to spend more time developing my ideas rather than rushing in, and in the second place I'm going to work harder at making things to a higher standard. Well, we'll see. 

Oh, and a third resolution - I'll definitely be visiting the knitting  and stitching show again. 

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