KAFFE FASSETT @ MOTTISFONT

Yesterday my Mother and I decided to take a trip down to Romsey, Hampshire. Our main aim was to experience the Kaffe Fassett exhibition before it finished on January 14th. We had been meaning to see it for months, but unfortunately we never seemed to have any spare time, but the Christmas holidays seemed a perfect time to finally journey down.

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/mottisfont/features/kaffe-fassett-exhibition-at-mottisfont

Immediately I was struck at the scale of his work!! I thought there would be large pieces, but was unsure at just how large they would be.

There were 5 distinct separate areas (rooms), all of which were painted a specific colour (chosen by Kaffe himself), and the idea became apparent to experience the juxtaposition of the garments, textiles and artworks against a smorgasbord of these explosive colours.

THE CREAM ROOM

The detail of each piece was incredible, not to mention how labour intensive the designs would take to create. The patterns and geometric shapes were mesmerising; feeding into my own ideas for my Field project subconsciously. The colours flooded my senses to the point of sheer unadulterated passion, I was transfixed.

THE GREEN ROOM

The level of craftsmanship was exquisite!! The colours chosen to adorn the walls enriched each separate piece, which in themselves looked alive. Fassett’s use of bold colour mirrored that of Hockney’s Mulholland Drive; pattern and mark making contained within cloth. For me, the most important aspects of the juxtaposition of different colour enabled me to understand colour theory in more depth and clarity.

I would quite happily save up and spend a small fortune on this chair! Drawing with Stitch. Blown away. Subsequently, I began to question my own use of colour within my own work, and how it affects the atmosphere of individual work, but more importantly that of a cohesive collection.

THE YELLOW ROOM

Possibly my least favourite room. I really enjoyed the geometric sure runner, but realised that this colour is probably one of my least favourite colours to use. I find yellow to be the most incredible colour, once viewed in Nature, but would not choose it on purpose when undertaking my own work. This understanding is essential for me as a practitioner because it enables me to create my own unique brand and visual handwriting, even when it comes to colour.

THE BLUE ROOM

WOW!!!! Having experienced the Cream, Yellow and Green rooms, I knew that I would love this room. The contrast and harmony between all the colours was astounding, I felt totally at home in this room. The confidence of Fassett’s colour utilisation demands me to be as bold when experimenting within my own creative practice. I have always been fascinated by the geometric and symmetrical patterns within Quilts, and aim to continue practicing this tactile and homely form of creating design with cloth.

THE PINK ROOM

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I normally loathe Pink!! However, strangely enough this was my favourite room!!! Having experience a positive reaction to this colour, I now question which other colours I may enjoy working with when looking within a certain context.

Most importantly, I have learned that it is essential as a creative practitioner to immerse oneself in as much visual research as possible, not only will this make me a more rounded designer, but will also allow me to grow as a human being.

RHIANNON WILLIAMS @ LLANTARNAM GRANGE, CWM BRAN

Took my beautiful doggies, Molly and Zulu, to the groomer in Cwm Bran; remembered that Helen had sent the group an e-mail informing us of an upcoming exhibition at Llantarnam Grange, Cwm Bran.

http://www.lgac.org.uk/current-exhibitions

HIRAETH – Embellished stories from Rhiannon Williams

‘Rhiannon Williams embellishes stories. Using embroidery techniques, she stitches together stories of people. Her richly embroidered narratives convey scene scenes from modern day life, to nostalgic memories of times gone by, exploring human relationships and feelings of belonging. Rhiannon studied her degree in Textiles at University College Falmouth in 2011 and her Masters at the RCA in 2014.’

I was utterly blown away!!!! The beautiful colours and embellished stitch made me feel like I was in a different space and time; nostalgia, memories of my childhood and the relationship between my parents came rushing back to me in technicolour!! The attention to detail was striking, not to mention the range of different stitch/embellishment techniques. I was in heaven; standing in front of some pieces for up to 10-15 minutes each.

It was imperative to me to photograph the detail of my favourite pieces, the pull to touch each work became intense. Alas, I did not touch the work out of respect for the artist. Would love to chat with Rhiannon on her Exhibition Opening Day; allowing me to ask the questions I have held back so long. When did your passion for Textiles begin? How did you start? What are you inspired by? How did you learn these techniques? Could you recommend a process to self-learn these incredible techniques? The list could go on!!!

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WOW!!!!!! Look at the craftsmanship within the detail of this flower!!! I want to ask her how she did this? Does she use hand/machine stitch? What process does she use for her large scale appliqué?

Upon reflection, her work makes me want to concentrate on more observational work. I think I will work in conjunction with my Dad (who is a incredible artist) to broaden my artistic language. By the end of my degree, could I be as good as Rhiannon?

LECTURE: CRAFTING FASHION IN INDIA: ARTISANS, DESIGNERS & CULTURAL HERITAGE @ ST FAGANS HISTORY MUSEUM

11:00AM Eiluned Edwards – CRAFTING FASHION IN INDIA: ARTISANS, DESIGNERS & CULTURAL HERITAGE

Associate Professor in Global Cultures of Textiles and Dress @ Nottingham Trent University. A regular lecturer at the V&A who has publishedwideuy on Indian textiles, dress and fashion, and is currently working on a British Academy project with Ambedkar University Delhi, the Craft Revival Trust and rural artisans in Kachchh, Gujarat.

eilunededwards@hotmail.com

Absolutely fascinating lecture exploring the craft of cultural heritage through the perspectives of designers and craftspeople in India. Eiluned discussed the merging of traditional handmade techniques with the newness of technology and marketing, and how it can be sustained in anew and growing digital age.

ASPECTS OF THE LECTURE I FOUND FASCINATING/AREA TO EXPLORE:

What is Chintz? Chintz is calico cloth printed with flowers and other devices in different colours. The word Chintz is Hindi and derived from the Sanskrit “chitra” which means many-coloured or speckled.

Chintz was originally a painted or stained calico* produced in India from 1600 to 1800 and popular for bed covers, quilts and draperies. First exported to Europe in the early 1600s, Indian chintz textiles quickly captivated the western market and put chintz at the centre of a revolution in dress and furnishing in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.  Around 1600, Portuguese and Dutch traders were bringing examples of Indian chintz into Europe. These early fabrics were extremely expensive and rare. By 1680 more than a million pieces of chintz were being imported into England per year, and a similar quantity was going to France and Holland.  [*One major centre of production for these fabrics was Calicut, which loaned its name to “calico,” a colourful fabric produced on cheap and often imperfectly finished cotton.] Exert of Blog http://www.decorativefair.com

Design/Craftsmanship is recognised as part of the cultural heritage of India. The modernisation of design within India has flourished thanks to The National Institute of Design (NID) and The National Institute of Fashion Technology, Gujarat.

KHADI – The Fabric of Indian Independence. The cloth is usually woven from cotton and may also include silk, or wool, which are all spun into yarn on a spinning wheel called a charkha. It is a versatile fabric, cool in summer and warm in winter. In order to improve the look, khādī/khaddar is sometimes starched to give it a stiffer feel. It is widely accepted in fashion circles. Khadi is being promoted in India by Khadi and Village Industries Commission, Ministry of MSME Govt. of India.

Khaki was seen by Ghandi as a way to give meaning/purpose to the lives of the poor, living in India. Spinning and weaving was elevated to an ideology of independence and self government. Onus on occupation was gifted to each individual within their own community; work would be readily available throughout the year. This was primarily due to the reliance on each other; by planting and harvesting their own crops there was no reliance\dependency on foreign materials. All rewards/profits were reinvested within the community; manual labour was a chance to bring together all castes, both rich and poor. Unity was one of the major driving factors of Khadi; not only that, it was also for the investment of social, economic and political structure. Khadi is not just cloth, it is a way of life.

WOW!!! This resonated so strongly with me. Imagine a society in which we could all share a mantra/idea of bringing all communities together, and unify us in a way that builds bridges between seclusion, religion and hate. Governments think only of capital, greed and the ideology to divide. I think we need innovative and creative world leaders, not just ex-investment bankers or private school toffs.

I personally love the fact that there is so much pride within the handmade/traditional craftsmanship of Indian Design; not only is it the cultural heritage of India, but like Khadi, is a way of life. Does this mean we have to be ever vigilant of the takeover of Digital Design? Does Digital Design signify the disconnection from the personal 1-2-1 relationship of handmade craftsmanship/tailoring, and give rise to the insidious takeover of faceless conglomerates.

AJRAKH – Unique form of block-printed textiles found in Sindh; Kutch, Gujarat; and Barmer, Rajasthan in India. Anionic representations are used to create patterns via the process of block printing with stamps; most common colours used are black, red, blue and yellow.

One of the most recognised/highly revered  Ajrakh practitioners/designers has to be SUFIYAN KHATRI (Above designs). Ajrakhpur, Kachchh.

https://huinoeau.modvantage.com/Instructor/Bio/4509/sufiyan-khatri

Link to an incredible article on Sufiyan Khatri, and how he is taking the mantra of Ghandi (Khadi) to help an entire village earn a living through an ancient art form.

I have messaged Sufiyan on Facebook, with the possibility of attempting to travel out there one day.

Eiluned invited the group to the front desk to sample, touch, and absorb all the incredible tactile nature of the textiles showcased.

 

These were but a few of my personal favourites. The lecture ignited a spark within me; research, travel and mentorship will become far more evident within my ongoing creative endeavours/journey. I want to blow open my imagination. I have an inherent desire to better equip myself for what’s to come.

MADE BY HAND @ CITY HALL, CARDIFF

http://www.madebyhand-wales.co.uk

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Keireine and Helen had mentioned that there was an upcoming Craft Fair at City Hall in Cardiff. They could not stress enough how important it would be to attend, not only would it be a an extremely valuable experience, but would allow me to ask questions, find workshops of interest, enquire about work experience, make contacts and hopefully make some new friends.

The amount of exquisite design was just jaw dropping; having spent two hours here, I could have easily have spent another two getting to know each and every artist/designer/maker. I made sure to procure the business cards of the designer/artist/makers that resonate inspiration towards my own creative practice, even buying a wonderful scarf as a Christmas gift for my Mother (£56!!!, but well worth it).

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Never underestimate the power of visiting one of these craft fairs, I went in with casual abandonment, but came out fully energised and buzzing with ideas.

Visiting this craft fair in particular awarded me with extremely valuable insight into what I do, and don’t want to do/create as a designer. I respect each and every designer for their uniqueness and individuality, even if I don’t like a designer’s work I can learn from it; turning something negative into a positive is what I am all about. Instead of just saying ‘I hate that’, how about vocalising a certain element that you can relate to.

I have singled out 3-4 designers of which I really struck a chord with. The work of these makers resonated very strongly within me, but all in different notes; structural, textural, colourful, tactile, visual.

MICHELLE GRIFFITHS – RESIST/SHIBORI http://www.shibori.co.uk 07974417403

EMMA JACKSON – STRUCTURAL FELTED TEXTILES http://www.silversoles.co.uk 07753366795

RAY REYNOLDS – TEXTILE ARTIST/FELT/STITCH http://www.rayreynolds.com 07445398575

ELUNED GLYN – CERAMICS http://www.elunedglyn.com/www.designfactory.org.uk

Each of theses designers was happy to spend time discussing their work. As soon as I informed them of my current situation, i.e studying a BA Textile Design, they became even more animated. Michelle Griffiths and I have been contacting each other via e-mail for a few months now, but had never met. It was wonderful to finally meet her!! After chatting for around 15-20 minutes, she discussed the reality of her mentoring me, offering work experience and the real possibility of an apprenticeship!!!! Keireine would  be contacted to arrange a schedule that would not affect my work at Uni. So excited!!!!

I have already booked a workshop with Ray Reynolds on Saturday 18th November. Saturday 18th November – Collage in Feltmaking. Using wool, thread and silk to create textural pieces of felt.
10am – 4pm

Booked workshop with Emma Jackson on 21st April 2018. Shibori Felting – Saturday 21st April 2018. A Felt Techniques Sampling Day Folds, Ripples and Spikes
One Day: 10- 4pm

I have e-mailed Eluned and am currently waiting a response.

INCREDIBLY RICH, DIVERS  & REWARDING DAY. CANNOT WAIT FOR THE NEXT ONE!!!

 

THE LONDON TRIP

Up at 6am to get ready for the London trip. Although the trip had been arranged to primarily visit the V&A, I was strongly counselled to take the time to imbue myself with other venues and exhibitions.

Updating my blog became my task for the 3-4 hour journey down, I thought it sagacious to get as up to date as humanly possible. The exertion is evident, hopefully, within my ongoing blog.

Arriving in London, I decided to document all of my best-loved works of art by photograph. Having had a stomach bug for the previous 24 hours I did not have the energy to stand/sit and draw from observation. I customarily draw from observation, it gives a greater perspective of depth and detail. Hereafter, I will aim to document as much first hand as I can.

One of the most exciting initial features of the V&A Museum were the resplendent Marble pillars situated in the foyer. I could not help but cognise the intricate shapes, patterns and tones. Most people would simply walk past. I will be looking to study these incredulous natural forms.

(Above) HANGING – Cotton, mordant dyed/resist dyed (‘chintz’). Coromandel Coast, South-East India. 1700-25. ‘Square pieces like this were popular with the Dutch market, and several survive with Dutch coat of arms in the design. This one gives space of the central field over to exotic birds and flowers. Hybrid style typical of the period, with a mix of Chinese and western motifs’

Looking at certain areas within this hanging brings light to the simplicity of design, yet when looking at the overall larger hanging, the sheer detail and hard work that must have gone into such a magnificent textile is mind boggling.

Research into pressed and dried flowers will be an edifying and pragmatic manner to aid me within my ongoing creative practice. Indication for artists using pressed/dried flowers/flora?

(Above) Part of Hanging. Cotton, mordant and resist-dyed (‘chintz’). Coromandel Coast, South East India, for the Western Market. ‘Chintz bed or wall-hanging is an impressive piece due to it’s quality of design, draughtsmanship and dyeing. The red designs on a white ground would have required the expert use of an alum mordant or fixative. The fine white motifs against a coloured background were drawn in wax-resisted lines with a simple bamboo pen’.

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(Above) Beetle-Wing Embroidery. Cotton net embroidered with metal-wrapped thread and beetle wings. Hyderabad, Deccan. 1855. ‘From early 19th to 20th centuries, the iridescent wing cases of Indian ‘jewel battles’ were popular with Western women both in India and Europe. They were pierced and stitched to the fabric with gilded silver-wrapped thread, and made gowns and accessories sparkle. Designs sketched and stitched onto sheer net could be cut out and applied to garments whenever desired’.

Incredible Islamic design, replacing glass with the most intelligent and beautiful linear structures. Looking in to symmetry and design.

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(Above) Man’s Waist-Cloth. Cotton, mordant-dyed. South-East India, for the Sri Lankan market. 1850-1900. ‘South Indian textiles were widely used in Sri Lanka as there was little local tradition of weaving and dyeing. Mordant dyed cottons like this were popular for Men’s wrapped garments. Unlike pieces for the western market, they were often made without the accompanying resist-dyed indigo’.

I absolutely treasure the shapes and pattern within this garment. I aim to create an interpretation of this design within my own study.

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(Above) Evening Coat. Elsa Schiaparelli (1890-1973). Autumn 1937. London. Silk jersey with gold thread and silk rose embroidery and applied decoration in silk. ‘Elsa Schiaparelli’s designs were characterised by their witty, Surrealist-inspired details. This coat depicts a profusion of roses in an urn which can also be viewed as two faces in profile. The double image held a particular fascination for Surrealists such as Salvador Dali. The embroidery is by the Paris house of Lesage, after a drawing by Jean Cousteau’

(Above) Riding Jacket. Messrs Redfern and Co. 1885-86. London. Wool with mohair braid.

I principally chose this garment for pure aesthetic reasons, it is simply stunning. The colour contrast is simple and so effective, but the intricate workmanship and bespoke tailoring is magnificent. Contemplating nature within Fashion is genius.

(Left & Middle) Tiles from the Tomb of Buyanquli Khan. Uzbekistan, Bukhara. c1358. Ornamental Frieze. Set horizontally above doorway. (Right) Upper section of Column and Capital. From left side of doorway. Carved earthenware under coloured glaze.

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(Above) Lengths of Velvet with Flowers. Iran, c1600-1700. Silk velvet. ‘When Shah Abbas I made his capital shortly before 1600, he developed the city as a centre of luxury textile production. Silk velvets were made in abundance both for local use and for export. Many had floral patterns, some composed of fantastic blossoms, others of flowers closer to nature.

Absolutely stunning. Simplification and incredible contrast of flowers.

(Left) Large storage Jar with Iranian decoration. Isfahan, Iran, c1600-1700. Fritware painted under glaze, with later brass collar. ‘This jar is one of the few blue and white vessels decorated with a local Iranian pattern – a trellis set with large blossoms. Yet even in this design there is a strong Chinese element, as the highly stylised flowers were originally derived from Chinese lotus motifs’. (Right) Tiles with repeat pattern. Iznik, Turkey. c1580. Fritware painted under the glaze. ‘Tiles with this design are associated with the shrine of Eyup, which stands just outside the walls of Istanbul. The pattern is not self-contained but can be repeated endlessly, like a textile design. Each group of four miles has the complete pattern, which is symmetrical on the vertical axis.

(Above) Lehti. Sheet brass, photo etched and powder coated. London, England. 2004. Designed/made by Maria Jauhiainen. ‘Leith’ (Leaf). The silversmith confounds expectations of metal to create a delicate, seemingly weightless fruit bowl. She photo-etched her drawings of a decomposing leaf onto a thin metal sheet and dissolved the remaining areas with acid. Red powder-coating has given the owl great strength and flexibility’.

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(Above) Sideboard Cloth. Linen ground embroidered with floss silks in stem and satin stitches, with couched and drawn thread work. Made by Frances Mary Templeton (1867-1946). ‘This sideboard cloth shows aspects of the techniques and designs associated with Jessie Newbury and Ann Macbeth, whose embroidery classes at the Glasgow School of Art left an important legacy to the craft of embroidery. They used coarse fabrics and simple, speedy stitching to emphasise the structure of their bold designs. The make of this cloth attended classes given by Ann Macbeth in Helensburgh, to the west of Glasgow’.

Two textile/embroidery artists to research and discover more about, whilst delving into the past of the salubrious history of the Glasgow School of Art & Design.

(Above) ‘The Day Lily’ Wallpaper. 1897. Colour print from wood block. Designed by Walter Crane (Liverpool. 1845 – 1915) for Production by Jeffrey & Co. London. Walter Crane was the first president of the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society. He developed his figurative style through illustration books, but became a prolific commercial designer, working for many different manufactures. He designed more than fifty wallpapers for Jeffrey & Co. from 1874′.

I was immediately drawn to the incredible line and detail within this wallpaper; since a youngster, I have always wanted to create the most original and aesthetically pleasing wallpapers. Dreams can become a reality. Time to look into wood-block printing.

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(Above) Wallpaper sample. Colour print from wood blocks, on paper; the dado, flock on paper. Designed by Bruce James Talbert (Dundee. 1838 -1881) Printed in London for Jeffrey & Co. ‘By 1880 it was fashionable to decorate walls in 3 horizontal sections: frieze, filling and dado. Although this specimen panel was printed in one piece, usually three parts would be produced as separate papers. They were combined according to the choice of the customer’.

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(Above) Decorative Paper printed in Germany. c1800-1850. Maker Unknown. Gold embossing from engraved copper plates. ‘Since the early 16th Century, decorative papers printed with small scale patterns have been used variously as endpapers and book covers, lining papers for trunks and deed boxes, patterns for the backs of playing cards, and occasionally as wallpapers. Gold-embossed papers like these first appeared in the early 18th Century and production continued to the mid 19th Century. German printers in Augsburg, Nuremberg and Fuerth were renowned as producers of such papers. As well as decorative patterns, sheets with images of figures like saints were popular. These so-called ‘picture sheets’ were divided into separate frames, suggesting that they were designed to be cut out’.

The colours utilised are celestial, contrasting the beauty of gold and indigo blue is nothing short of genius. Investigative work into colour contrast will ensue as soon as possible.

The V&A Museum is a treasure trove of design, inspiration and history, but alas I had to move on. My Mother had informed me, a couple of days before my London excursion, of a Matisse exhibition currently on show at The Royal Academy of Art. Having never been overfond on Matisse as a long student, I now established myself discovering a new found respect for him. I am not quite sure if it was the arrogance/ignorance of youth, but I had completely overlooked the textile/textural/linear qualities within his work.

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(Above) Safran Roses at the Window, Oil on Canvas. 1925. Henri Matisse.

“Here and there, Matisse’s work finds reflection in marble, in gilt wood, faience, Oriental cloths – a whole euro shop for some daily magic: apparatus of a fantastic laboratory of visual alchemy” Georges Salles ‘Visit to Matisse’, Art News Annual 21 (1952): 37.

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(Above) Still life and Heron studies. 1900. Henri Matisse. Watercolour and Ink on Paper.

This work is effortless, yet so salient. It is a working exploration into colour; working from the same image but applying over different colour can construct a positive outcome for planned future work. Could I disentangle my stitch ‘writer’s block’ by using a fabric paint/ink first?

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(Above) Still life with Red Carpet. 1906. Henri Matisse. Oil on Canvas.

Sumptuous textiles within a rich and colourful still life/textile study. It would be counterproductive for me not to explore the textile constitution within a lot of his work.