Volunteering at Quilters Guild gallery resulted in some more stitch inspiration for me
I was scheduled in on the quilters guild gallery for the afternoon session so I started by wandering around the exhibition which filled two halls at Olympia, it did feel smaller than the October knit and stitch show but just as much inspiration and ideas have resulted.
I spotted Elspeth from https://www.raggedlife.com unfortunately I didn't get a chance to speak to her, the stand was buzzing.
I was impressed by the riot of colour on the http://www.katiejonesknit.co.uk Katie Jonesstand, she is all for make it yourself sustainable knitwear. She has lots of free crochet patterns on her website do check it out.
The next display which had me memorised was the 'The Enchanted Wood' created by a group of knitters the impressive woodland scene complete with trolls and witches, trees, flowers and a massive backdrop complete with waterfall. It took the team 5 hours to assemble, I did take a photo but it doesn't do it justice...
As a textile artist I was looking for the galleries, I love to see the work of others working in fabric and thread and to see what has inspired them of late. I spend time in four gallery spaces. The creative crochet in wonderful organic forms of Luisa De Santi stopped me. She works in the most vibrant of colours was definitely worthy of further investigation, the work was intricate and the shapes and forms she creates were comforting in stark contrast to a wet day in London after finding my way across town by tube and overground.
I spent an age gazing on the work of Ailish Henderson, the exhibition was titled Maker:Mended she asked What is your Repair? I saw a reflection of my own life stuggles with her work, it was a thought provoking exhibit. She uses textiles in a very non-traditional way, I loved it. She displayed the progression of ideas and images from photograph through sketch, paint and stitch. Some pieces combined all four elements, others focused on one or two. Her work is fine, thoughtful, delicate perhaps a echo of her own fragility and strength?? Who knows but it did get me thinking, a success
Catherine Kaufman's gallery space was very impressive, life sized felted figures reclined on chairs, one of whom was Miss Haversham. It took all my my self control to keep my hands off her, the wool had been felted so compassionately creating a frail lady in natural cream and brown with her silver shoes tumbling from her toes. I took a deep inhale to smell the divine sheepiness.
I had almost reached the quilters guild stand when I found Ariella Green, she creates fabric collages, each colourful piece telling a story. The pieces had lots of energy and were often figurative and she uses striking colour combinations you can find out more at her websitewhich is linked
Next I had an hour or so for some light shopping, had I been in the market for more yardage or yarn for my stash I would have been spoilt for choice. Lucky for my bank balance I wasn't but I was very tempted by the naturally dyed yarns of Apple Oak Fibre Works . I spent a little while investigating some very ergonomic and modern looking spinning wheels which are imported by the lovely Bettina Wagner. This would not be an impulse buy so will need a lot of further investigation but if you are interested her website is linked her company is called Tine and Floyd and they stock beautiful yarn too!
My eye was drawn to the beautiful yarn bowls of Emily Cross Ceramics , but my purse couldn't hold back when I spotted a ceramic felting stone, it feels wonderful and I can't wait to get rubbing and rolling!
I can never pass the opportunity to look at the wonderful range of quality sewing needles when I spot the iconic yellow packaging of John James Needles. These were on the stand of Needles 2 Pins run and owned by the lovely and knowledgeable Karen Parry. I met Karen a couple of years ago at Banbury Embroiderers Guild I learned lots about needles that night. She has since set up her own business and still provides talks on needles and pins, she is happy to speak to any interested groups.
When I found out more about what Morsbags.org are up to my purse crept out from the confines of my rucksack once more! This is an ethical; sociable; guerrilla bagging scheme which I feel would be the perfect scheme for Stitching Kitchen to jump on board with. Look out for more information on upcoming 'morsbags' days when we can make up-cycled bags to give away - helping our local community and also the environment, keeping unwanted textiles out of landfill and getting rid of unnecessary plastic bags for good.
Volunteering to steward at the Guild Modern Quilt Gallery was a wonderful way to spend the afternoon. I had some wonderful chats with visitors, sharing opinions and information on the quilts on display and the guild in general. The Modern Quilt group were challenged to create sample quilts based around the blocks [name for portion of a quilt] designed by Helen Howes. Full instructions on how to create these blocks was provided in the guild magazine in 2017 and 2018, if you are interested you make take a look at my copies. There were some varied interpretations around the theme, the colours and techniques used were inspiring. The use of both hand and machine quilting and a combination of both patchwork piecing and applique were used to great effect. It was a luxury to be allowed to stay so long gazing upon the work of fellow needle workers and to really appreciate the skills applied to the work. Thank you Quilters Guild I had a great day!