5 December 2012

Exhibition at Farfield Mill

'Conversations with Water'

'A shining example of how a group show should look and hold together - a clear theme, beautifully interpreted  and superbly presented, including the samples available for handling'  Elizabeth Eaton, Farfield Mill.

Our exhibition, 'Conversations with Water',  in the Howgill Gallery at Farfield Mill, Sedbergh looks fantastic, we are all delighted with it.  Hanging an exhibition is physically very demanding and we are very grateful to Bridget, Grazyna and Sue, with the help of a few technicians, who spent a whole day putting it together.  To make the task easier, the layout had been loosley planned but it was good to have Elizabeth Eaton's tweaking and a real boost to receive her positive comments at the end.  
Cheshire Textiles are just one exhibition on view at Farfield Mill, there are four floors of interesting events centered around arts and crafts in addition to Weavers Cafe!

Converstions with Water runs until 2nd January 2013 but please check the website for opening hours

1 November 2012

Cheshire Textiles @ Farfield Mill

Phew! Just over two weeks to go and all my pieces for the exhibition have been photographed, tagged, wrapped, packed and recorded on the gallery stock sheet; all six are waiting to go!  This process is quite demanding and can take considerable time but there is an air of excitement, wondering what the exhibition will look like and hoping all the pieces will be selected.  It seems a long time ago since we visited Farfield Mill to look at the exhibition space and decide upon the title 'Conversations with Water'.

The Howgill Gallery is a lovely space with a variety of areas for presentation; this has encouraged some of us to move out of the frame and be influenced by the challenges of the gallery.  Not only will our pieces be for sale but we have also been making cards and smaller items, all of which will make excellent Christmas gifts.  Worth noting that Farfield Mill has one floor devoted to the work of local artists and together with a good quality cafe, it makes a great day out; who knows, you might find the perfect Christmas present! Jen

                                         Exhibition runs 17th November to 31st December 2012
                                   Opening Times - please check the website www.farfieldmill.org

26 September 2012

David Nash at Kew, A Natural Gallery

Nash's workshop within Kew

Inside the Temperate House

Eucalyptus Block

Hiding in the Temperate House
Yorkshire Sculpture Park had been a fabulous venue a couple of years ago for the work of David Nash OBE (b.1945) and I was very excited at the prospect of seeing the work again, this time in Kew Gardens.
Sadly, I didn't feel it delivered, it failed to pack a punch; some of the work seemed rather contrived and a bit insignificant within the setting of Kew, they did not achieve what the Henry Moore's had done.

Hidden amongst the plants in the Temperate House were several small sculptures, some beautiful, like the image above but I felt they had no empathy with what was around them.  The majestic chair like sculpture, in its' own space had room to breathe and be admired. The warm damp conditions present will change the wood and this in itself might make it worth retuning to see what happens.   At the entrance to Kew stands the wonderful Eucalyptus Block, four trunks that have fused together creating a fascinating centre to peer through.  Is this Nash or is this nature?

The Wood Quarry is Nash's outdoor temporary studio, with two upturned tree trunks that can't fail to bring a smile.  He claims he responds to what the wood suggests and has more recently cast his pieces in bronze;  an interesting development and very difficult to visually distinguish between blackened wood and the bronze, as every mark and knot seems to be beautifully captured.

It was good to see the Sherwood Gallery which puts it all into context with drawings, photography and more pieces. Overall, it makes for a lovely day out and it does encourage a closer observation of the trees but perhaps Kew is just a bit too big for some of the pieces to make their presence felt.  Jen

29 August 2012

'Voices Plus' at Waterside Arts Centre, Sale

'Voices Plus' until 13th October
Waterside Arts Centre, Sale.

An exhibition from the International Quilt Art group, showcasing new work by members from the UK, Ireland, Belgium, Hungary, Germany, The Netherlands, Denmark and USA.

The exhibition shows a wide range of work which really extends the boundaries of quilting.  Some pieces use more traditional techniques of quilting but extend these by using combinations of print, stitch and collage.  Others barely use quilting and incorporate applique layering and even paint to create textures and different surface qualities.

Content and scale vary from large, more heavily stitched hung pieces to a delicate 3D fan construction which lies in relief on a plinth.

A delightful variety of work of a high technical standard coupled with creative use of materials and ideas. 
Highly recommended.    Sue.

22 August 2012

Turner, Monet, Twombly

Exhibition at Liverpool Tate until 28th October 2012

This is an amazing exhibition which brings together the later works of three diverse painters from different eras which range from late 1700's to 2011.  It shows the work of Turner, Monet and Twombly, three pioneering artists who certainly in their time pushed the boundaries of painting.

The exhibition is divided into seven themes which show the similarities in which the artists, despite the periods they lived in, use colour, brush strokes, atmosphere and subject matter to create visual splendours.  The works vary in size and subject matter but are displayed in such a way as to create a dialogue where the three converse across the centuries.  Through the juxtaposition of their work the exhibition also aims to underline not only how modern Turner and Monet were but also how Twombly used many classical themes.

Visitors will see the usual Monet's Water Lilies and Turner's London scenes but trhey will be looking at them in a different way and in a different context.

Do go to Liverpool and see the exhibition, it provides a new and very different experience. Sue.

10 July 2012

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2012

Richard Spare
'Goldcrest'   drypoint and watercolour
A breath of fresh air compared to previous exhibitions!  I can only think it is down to a more creative way of thinking when displaying the work and the expertise of coordinator Tess Jaray RA.  The largest gallery has abandoned its' huge paintings and instead there are scores of much smaller pieces forming a wave like pattern along its' length.  Yes, you still experience slight neck ache but there is room to step back, find your own space and enjoy the rhythms of the display without feeling overloaded.

My favourite room as always is the sculpture, installed by Alison Wilding. This too had a new layout with a greater concentration of pieces down the centre of the room, displayed at different heights.  With such a wide a variety of materials and no connection beyond being 3D, the initial impression is more 'junk shop' than RA but look closer and spot the gems.  David Nash's burnt oak with its' velvety texture and pleasing shape,  Lucy Glendinning's 'Feather Child', Dido Crosby's bronze pigmy rabbit and Nuala O'Donovan's layers and layers of unglazed porcelain beautifully arranged to create a basket like form.  So many beauties and then of course the challenging ones like Harriet Aston's brown paper bag with 'moon gold' ....why??

This year I felt there were more textile related pieces and particularly good to see Caren Garfen and Effie Jessop expressing their thoughts with hand stitch.  Two beautiful, cast conctrete posts resembling driftwood and enhanced with fibres - Eleanor Wright, would stand proud in any textile exhibition.

This year I felt it was an an excellent exhibition. Where else can you see the work of Royal Academians and there is plenty of their work on view, hanging next to that of amatuers?     Jen

Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition 4th June - 12th August 2012

25 June 2012

Conversations with Water

Conversations with Water
June, the month of festivals and the longest day, we anticipate summer flowers bursting with colour against a backdrop of blue skies and warm sunshine but what has June 2012 delivered?  Rain, rain and more rain. A relief for the south of England in that reservoirs are reasonably full again but for others too much rain has meant severe flooding and all the misery that goes with it. Without a doubt the topic of water in some form will have cropped up in conversations throughout Britain.

'Conversations with Water' is the title and theme for our next exhibition at Farfield Mill, Sedbergh in November.  It was chosen for the connection between water and the woollen mill and not the rain but it will be interesting to see if the wet weather has influenced any of the work!

Exhibition runs from 17th November - 31st December 2012

29 May 2012

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Henry Moore

The Yorkshire Sculpture Park, near Wakefield, is a  wonderful day out.  It is set in 500 acres of rolling parkland, spread round a modern hub, housing a restaurant, gift shop and facilities.

Parking is easy, costing £7.50 for the day - that is all - no other charges.  Sculpture is everywhere; Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore leading down to the lake, surrounded by sheep and lambs.  In the gardens near the building, there is a treasure trove of smaller sculptures including Hepworth's 'Family of Man'.  In the Garden Gallery at the moment is the Juan Miro exhibition displayed in four large rooms.

Antony Gormley

There is also, for the fit, a wonderful circular 2km walk through the woods where you can see more sculptures including the work of Andy Goldsworthy and the above piece by Antony Gormley; one of his famous iron figures standing high on top of a tree trunk. 

David Nash

David Nash's 71 huge 'Black Steps' at Oxley Bank rise up from the lake and seem to disappear into the woods beyond.  Made from charred and oiled wood with 30 tons of coal embedded between, the installation is constanly changing with exposure to the Yorkshire weather and day to day wear and tear. 

A highly recommended day out!  Shirley

15 May 2012

Eilat's Underwater Observatory Marine Park

As a creative sort of person born under the Zodiac sign of Pisces, I have always been drawn to water and reflections; be it rivers, waterfalls or seascapes.  It's not surprising that on a recent trip to Eilat, Israel, I visited the underwater Observatory Marine Park and delighted in viewing the corals and was fascinated by the tropical fish.

I hope these images convey just some of the inspiration and pleasure nature can provide in a thriving sea bed.  The next exhibition by members of Cheshire Textiles at the Howgill Gallery, Farfield Mill, Cumbria, entitled 'Conversations with Water' will be interpreting how water the Elixir of life connects us to our environment.   Sylvia

30 April 2012

Japanese Style; Sustaining Design

Prairie sample

Polygami sample

               Japanese Style: Sustaining Design
  Exhibition at Ruthin Craft Centre until 24th June 2012

Nuno textiles

wall mounted samples

This thought provoking exhibition aims to link tradition and crafts with the latest technology and ecological discoveries.  It also shows the value of community craft based projects set up to help local people gain a sense of normality after the devastating effects of the earthquake and tsunami last year.  Rooted in sustainable design there are plenty of beautiful artefacts and architectural ideas on display but it is the main gallery showing the innovative Nuno textiles, under the Artistic Directorship of Reiko Sudo, that is the real delight.

Walking between the long lengths of cleverly draped and suspended fabrics you can see the detail of the designs and how they respond to the human form.  Information panels on the wall provide samples to touch and scrutinize and try and understand how they have been constructed.  Unusual materials are combined, printed on, recycled, sculpted and layered, creating exciting tactile surfaces.  The fabrics are not all new, some date back to the 1990's but they remain fresh and a true source of inspiration.

Gallery two concentrates on traditional crafts showing ceramics, paper, baskets, metal and wooden items that are both functional and beautiful and made to the highest standards.  Take time to watch the papermaking video!
In gallery three is the Hale's personal collection of traditional ceramics from The Tohoku region.

We always look forward to the exhibitions at Ruthin; an enjoyable day out with a good cafe for lunch and an interesting shop selling high quality craft pieces by national artists.  There are a few books and back catalogues as well as cards.  With three galleries and artists studios there is lots to see and enjoy lovely drive through the Welsh countryside.


12 April 2012

Computer Textile Design Exhibition

'Textiles Transformed' from the Computer Textile Design Group. 
5th April - 17th April 2012

'I helped to set up the Computer Textile Design Group exhibition at Ness Botanical Gardens last week, it was the first time we had held one and was to celebrate their 20th year as a group!
The members are very computer skilled and many of their textile exhibits are full of colour, a very cheerful sight.  The exhibition has created a great deal of interest from the many visitors to Ness who studied each piece of work and made very complementary remarks. Several enquired about membership.' Elizabeth

Sounds a very interesting exhibition showing how computers can aid design but we shouldn't forget that the computer is still dependant on the operator! Nor should we forget that further skills are required to translate them into textile pieces!!  A truly multi skilled group, their exhibition is well worth a visit.

Ness Botanical Gardens, Ness, Neston, South Wirral, Cheshire, CH65 4AY
10.00-4.00pm admission free

4 April 2012

Jerwood Drawing Prize 2011

Have you been to any of the annual exhibitions that come under the umbrella of 'Jerwood, Visual Arts'?
Sue has recently visited the Jerwood Drawing Prize 2011 exhibition at the newly opened, Coventry Lanchester Gallery and would like to share her thoughts.

'This wonderful space is showing the contemporary drawings of 60 artists, selected from over 3,500 entries.  The Jerwood Drawing Prize is the UK's largest and longest running open prize for drawing and never fails to promote the ongoing, creative interpretation of the word 'drawing'.

The work varies in scale and content and as always does not disappoint in terms of quality, imaginative interpretation and media used.  Every kind of method is in evidence from painstaking Photorealism, gestural mark making to drawing by machine.   Styles also vary from classical portraiture, geometric abstraction, detailed diagrams and even include writing.  The creative use of media is also inspiring, ranging from hand made books, collage, prints, film and embroidery.

Such a wealth of both minimal and complex drawings really did excite me.  Exquisite pencil drawn tree studies, complex cut-out grid patterns, optical illusion drawing of staples in paper, gestural abstract prints to a beautiful piece called 'Withdrawn' where the threads have been removed from a found garment and only holes remain - leaving a hint of what was.

The exhibition finished in Coventry at the end of March but the next venue is the Burton Museum and Art Gallery, Bideford, Devon.'
Visit the website http://www.jerwoodvisualarts.org/ for more information including an online catalogue.

20 March 2012

Sally Payne's Workshop



Sally Payne gave us a fantastic workshop; she is a brilliant tutor, full of energy and enthusiam and we all wished the day could have been longer! Working with the theme of water, Sally encouraged us to look diiferently at our source material; it is all too easy to slip into the usual mode and choose the 'safe' option.  Taking a personal approach to water we manipulated our images by scratching, piercing, redrawing, blocking out and selecting.  The above photos give some idea of the processes and show further development by drawing and altering the scale.  We all came away with a variety of exciting work, the challenge now is to develop them into exhibition pieces!!   Jen

28 February 2012

Visit to Farfield Mill

As a group we have been very busy recently; my excuse for neglecting the blog!  We had a fabulous workshop with Sally Payne which I will write about next time when I can include some images.  Last week we visited Farfield Mill, Sedbergh in preparation for our next exhibition later in the year.  The Howgill Gallery is a very interesting space with lots of potential for creative display.  It was a delight to see the current exhibition by the The International Feltmakers Association; their work lends itself to the space and really surprised us as to how many pieces it can accommodate! There is a lot to see at Farfield Mill and well worth a visit; check the website for opening times. http://www.farfieldmill.co.uk/

30 January 2012

Lost in Lace Exhibition

After the Dream by Chihara Shiota

The exhibition 'Lost in Lace' in Birmingham is absolutely fabulous! Not every exhibition can deliver the 'wow' factor as was the case when I went to see the 62 Group's latest exhibition 'Interventions' at Platt Hall.
Finding new concepts, materials and methods of working is increasingly challenging in the textile world but Lesley Millar has succeeded in seeking out world wide artists who can deliver just this yet still have their work rooted in 'lace'.  Exhibition ends 19th February 2012. 

4 January 2012

Happy New Year!

A very Happy New Year to all those who read our blog.  We write the blog so that we can share what we do as a group and keep you up to date with our exhibitions and those we have visited.  This reminds me, the 'Lost in Lace' exhibition at Gas Hall, Birmingham ends in February and after its' fabulous reviews I must get over to see it.

We now have a lovely new website http://www.cheshiretextiles.org.uk/ showing our latest work, including that of our two new members, Sue and Shirley. We do welcome feedback on both the blog and website.
If you are having difficulties getting onto the blog, I would like to suggest that you either put it into your favourites or enter the full address into your browser http://www.cheshiretextiles.blogspot.com/ ; a Google search will not find it!

Snow is not the weather we are experiencing at the moment but I liked the image!!