Study visit: Knitting and Stitching Show

I went on the OCA Study Visit to the Knitting and Stitching Show with Priscilla Edwards. Due to the terrible weather, there were only a handful of students there. I’ve been to the show before but not since becoming an OCA student. I was hoping to get some guidance on how to make the most of visiting an exhibition, which didn’t really happen. It was still, however, worth viewing several of the exhibitions and we had some interesting conversations about textiles, OCA study, and the life of the designer-maker over lunch.

Pin Up: Chantal Vouillemin (City Lit)

I really liked the way that this textile piece had been created by using safety puns for a simple joining technique. Could be a possible yarn concept too?

Zoe Robyn Wilkinson (City Lit)

These embroidered train tickets showed how non-textile objects could become a textile piece. I loved how the tickets formed their own journey as they were joined together. Each was embroidered by the artist while on a journey.

Kate Whitehead

Kate Whitehead describes her work as a response to the consumption of textiles in the western world. She reuses discarded fabrics to create new pieces. This seems to be a common theme in a lot of contemporary textile art, as in Anne Kelly’s textile collages below. I felt somehow as though this ought to be work I liked more than I actually did.

Kate Whitehead

Theo Humphries, “Crapestry”

These subverted tapestries made me laugh! He takes commercial needlepoint kits, then works them up with a distorted image, adding sunglasses to the tiger, a crashed plane in the sea and so on. There’s something fabulous about taking a very traditional craft in its most banal form, and making everyone look twice.

Anne Kelly

Anne Kelly’s exhibition area included a display of her sketchbooks and inspiration sources alongside finished pieces and projects still in progress. It was fascinating to see the different stages of her process and reflect on the way that this module is helping me to form my own process.

Anne Kelly “Travel Tags”

This is part of a collaborative art project which Anne Kelly co-ordinated. Participants were invited to decorate luggage tags around the themes of travel and migration and send them in for Anne to connect and display. There was a wide range of work, but together it was a very moving display, showcasing the power of crowd-sourced artwork.

Anne Kelly

These were more typical of Anne’s own work: textile collages with a folk art theme, and an overlay of stitching. I had seen several examples of Anne’s work online and wondered about the effect of the top layer of stitching. In person, I still found it distancing, having a muting effect on the textiles beneath. I didn’t get a chance to ask her why she chooses to do this.