Tag Archives: textile

Open Doors Exhibition/Inspiration/Work

As you may know from my last post, this weekend was the Open Doors London: W12 Exhibition. My first public showing of my work and generally a lovely/interesting/forward thinking community initiative and art project.  Set up by Tom and Katy, it’s a project for London post codes to share places. I know it was so much work for them, and for the artists and it came together really well. There was lots of community support and lots of good feedback.

I am very proud of my work and it turned out exactly as I imagined. Lots of lovely people came to see it (including my boss at work).

It was odd to see my work next to ‘proper’ artist’s work. People who went to art school and who have exhibited before. I was surprised how well my stuff held up.

However good my work is and how proud I am of achieving my New Year’s Resolution, I found a pair of textile artists that put my work to shame. They’re doing basically what I’d love to do if I had the time/space/skill.

“this is elna” fiber lighting installation from elna and ( e i ). night documentation series with nude figure. model, Alese. photo by David Nebert

I have a lot of work to do. One exhibition doesn’t make an artist.


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Open Doors London: W12, AKA My First Exhibition

I’ve had a very special project going on in the past few months– my first exhibition! It is with Open Doors London, a pop up gallery exploring London’s post codes. This is the first exhibition of the series and it’s based in W12, especially Shepards Bush.

Open Doors London: W12, sourced from Open Doors


I’ve made four pieces, all in black and white, and centring on Shepards Bush Green. They all have my webs of course.

On the cutting room floor.


I’m exhibiting with some fantastic people who I’ve not met yet, but am very much looking forward to it. If you care to see my work (and the other artists), please stop by 28 Galloway Road, in London, between 11am and 6pm, the 24th of September. Nearest tube is Shepards Bush. 🙂

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Artist Discovery of the Year: Louis Bourgeois

As kind of a follow-up from the feminism articles, an announcement of a new project, and to share someone really awesome, in this post I will become a fanboy(girl) of Louise Bourgeois.

Sourced from Textile Arts Center blog

I’m currently working with Stephanie Cotella Tanner of Art Smacked who is curating a show at some point in the future. Stephanie is being kind enough to include me in the show with some really awesome artists. I kind of want to describe them as ‘proper’ artists as they’re both formally trained in art and are really quite good! Anyway, Stephanie wants to compare my work to the historical precedent of Louis Bourgeois.

Bourgeois  is a French American sculptor and artist who worked with many materials and with many themes over her extraordinarily long career.  My main interest in her work is the textile pieces that deal with the ‘exercise of memory.’ She was the artist behind the giant spider object at the Tate Modern a few years ago.

From the description of an exhibition at Cheim and Read:

Bourgeois was born in Paris in 1911. She moved to New York in 1938 and lived in the city until her death last year at age 98. Her  works on fabric are emblematic of certain themes: marriage, motherhood, sexuality, femininity, domesticity. This focus on the familial results in work of intense psychological complexity, exposing relationships and hierarchies related to female identity and its opposite (male/female, mother/father, organic/geometric, rigid/pliable). Coinciding with an inclination, at old age, to stay closer to home, Bourgeois’s late fabric works provide a sense of introspection – her wardrobe and linen closet became representative of memory. As Bourgeois has stated, “Clothing is…an exercise of memory. It makes me explore the past…like little signposts in the search for the past.” The re-appropriation of her husband’s handkerchiefs, stained tablecloths and napkins, and worn dresses from all phases of her life infuses the work with a confessional, talismanic aura.

The description of her work, is basically what I’m trying to communicate through my art. I joke that I make art because its cheaper than therapy, but to some extent, it is a way of exploring the world, my experiences, and my memories.The idea of using something with history also appeals to me. The material, if reused from somewhere, sometime, else brings all of those memories to the new object, kind of like magic.

Sourced From ThreadforThought.net

I think also that what appeals to me about using string is the idea of taking a mess of string and organising it into an object. From personal anecdotal evidence, I’ve found that a lot of information professionals  knit or crochet and I think that there is some kind of organisational aspect to working with string. I trained in information management, work at organising a database, and generally am a bit of a clean freak, so this aspect of working with string fits into my personality.

The production method is also essential to my work. The fact that it’s awkward, hand made, and takes ages (in my case), makes it a meditation on whatever I’m trying to make sense of be it year’s worth of memory or of the entire city of London.

By combining the memory of the materials used in the awkward production method that I use, the object is transformed into an organised memory. It is transformed into something that makes sense of all that it contains.

I’m not entirely sure how this fits into my previous posts about art and feminism, but Bourgeois is incredible. I think I have a lot more to learn about Art History.

Now if someone could teach this American how to pronounce her French last name, it’d be greatly appreciated.

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A Scarlet Letter: Textile as Protagonist

In tenth grade with Mrs. Obrien, we began to read A Scarlet Letter as part of our curriculum. Written by Nathanial Hawthorne, it has an American spin on the flowery writing of the mid-nineteenth century and there was revolt in the classroom. Due to utter lack of enthusiasm and a flat out refusal to read, we never finished the book. (We probably read The Pearl again, but I honestly don’t remember.)

It has taken 6 years for me to pick up what is advertised as a great work in American literature and I have to say, with that kind of lead up, it was a bit underwhelming. The storyline was a bit predictable, but generally it was a good, albeit tragic, tale of unrequited love (my favourite kind).

What did interest me, is that the main characters consisted of a woman, her former husband, her child, the child’s secret father and the scarlet letter. The description of this embroidery is carried throughout the novel and is a huge protagonist and carrier of the plot. The tactile and visual symbolism of the embroidered letter is a literary ploy to signal the emotions of Hester Prynne and her turmoil at the hands of her fellow villagers. The book hangs on this embroidered letter, a textile.


There were some obvious hiccups in the relaying of Hester Prynne- her dialogue taking on the awkwardness that only a man writing words for a woman who lived several hundred years previously could achieve and some fun self-indulgence in the language. However, I cannot think of (and implore you to inform me) of other novels that place textiles in such a prominent position.


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