Category Archives: Exhibition Visits

Bath Spa University School of Art and Design degree show


My two arty girls and I met my Mum yesterday at the Sion Hill campus of Bath Spa University to take a look around their degree show exhibitions.  Both Mum and I are former alumni of the University in it’s former incarnation as Bath College of Higher Education and it was interesting to see how things have changed since I was last there for a visit more than 20 years ago.

There was a huge amount of work to look at, mainly fine art and mixed media at this site, but we also ventured across town to the other venue in Oldfield Park.  Dartmouth Avenue Studios is sited in a council depot so I can see why they don’t feature it at all on the University website but, again, there was plenty of space full of interesting work and a lot more textile pieces seemed to be here.  I didn’t see any fashion or clothing items, apart from one or two costume pieces that were interspersed with other work.  We were all intrigued by the monochrome Bob Marley inspired WC interior …

I didn’t take a lot of photographs, as I learned from an unfortunate incident at Winchester Art College in my younger student days, that some students can get quite uncomfortable with this.

Highlights included some extremely well executed woven pieces from Emily Moore, exquisite layered cutwork from Helen Muir, stage costume from Kym Gribble and humorous contemporary iconography from Polly Hughes.

I did sneak a few shots of Amy Rapley’s painted wall hangings because there was some interesting layered work which was relevant to my theme project:

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I could see paint, cut and applied papers, pencil drawings, cut outs, gold leaf and much more.   An incredible amount of detail.

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I was sorry not to have seen any of the fashion students’ work and we also missed the MA exhibition but I will definitely be keeping an eye out for the next show as the majority of work was, in my opinion, of a very high standard.

This blog has images showing work from the 2013 textiles graduates but we did not see many of these on our visit.  I am wondering if they had a separate location or perhaps we missed the dates.


Stroud International Textiles and Site Festival May 2013


Recently a fellow OCA Textiles student and I visited Stroud to take a look at some of the exhibitions and open studios during Stroud International Textiles Spring Select.

I left my camera-phone in the car.   Major fail.  Typical.

However, that did not prevent us from having a great time looking at some wonderful textile and art work.

First stop was Stroud College where the SIT weaving symposium was in full swing in one of the lecture rooms.  We had a look at the books for sale in the foyer and I have now put Hand Stitch, Perspectives by Alice Kettle and Jane McKeating on my Amazon wishlist.  Also on display here was a small collection of very well executed recent work by fashion and textiles students at the college.

We then went along to the Museum in the Park where we found:

  • tapestries by Hillu Liebelt – my favorite was Chasing the Summer (2011), a bold, blue and red, large, horizontal panel in silk, rayon, cotton and bamboo fibre.
  • a hand dyed and woven paper piece specially commissioned for the site by Japanese artist Seiko Kinoshita English Summer Fields Soundscape: Sound of weaving.
  • Mother Love by Ingrid Hesling and Jenni Dutton – two artists’ interpretations of the relationships between mother and daughter using traditional techniques in an unusual way.  Jenni Dutton was observing her mother over the time she was suffering with dementia and produced The Dementia Darnings, a series of large portraits of her mother, some reproduced from family photographs and all made using tapestry wool and other yarns through fine net fabric.  Close up you can see how the artist has blended the yarns to produce the required colours, very similar to the work of Cayce Zavaglia who uses stitch in a painterly way.  Ingrid Hesling’s work A Stitch in Time incorporates embroidery on vintage linens that the artist found after the death of her mother.  She explores her complicated and sometimes difficult relationship with her mother in a series of embroideries that also incorporate photographic images.

Brunel Broderers exhibition Suited was at the Lansdown Hall and Gallery.  Hobbs tailors abandoned their shop some years ago and then recently offered access to the Broderers who used the fabrics, haberdashery and notions to inspire their work for this show.  Tailoring techniques and luxury woollen and silk fabrics are used in novel ways.  Of particular interest to me were the artist’s sketchbooks which are available for visitors to view.

We went on to look around the Studio Seven textile workshop at Stroud Valleys Artspace open studios where we found work by Francesca Chalk, Sarah Jenner, Anne Rogers, Kathryn Clarke, Corinne Hockley, Jenny Bicat and Liz Lippiatt.  I especially enjoyed Corinne Hockley’s theatrical costume pieces and the gorgeously coloured devore prints by Liz Lippiatt.  Also at SVA we saw Zoe Heath‘s beautiful, intricate books and small scale artworks made from found objects.

Later we found ourselves at The Weaving Shed where Sally Hampson, artist and weaver occupies a disused shop in Stroud High Street, a residency assisted by SVA, and engages with visitors in the process of weaving.  Looms are available ready set up for introduction to weaving workshops where students learn to experiment with techniques, yarns and fabrics.

On the way home we stopped off at Frogmarsh Mill in South Woodchester where more artists work was on display as part of the open studios event.  Cleo Mussi‘s colourful and quirky mosaics feature old ceramics and found objects to make wall plaques.  We also saw Fiona Hesketh’s delicate jewellery, Annie Hewitt’s glowing cobalt decorated earthenware tableware and Jacqueline Kroft’s fair trade hand knitted clothing.  Finally we chatted with Jennifer Whiskerd, artist and printmaker who has also been an OCA tutor, and enjoyed looking at her woodcut prints based on the antics of the local wildlife.

Lost in Lace Study Day – Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Sat 11th February 2012


Last Saturday I journeyed up to Birmingham with a fellow Textiles student to the Lost in Lace exhibtion study day at the City Museum and Art Gallery.  The exhibition was held in the Gas Hall, a grand and spacious gallery where the large exhibits were well accommodated.  There was a theme inviting an international group of artists to challenge the perceived conventions of what lace is, what it is used for and how we interact with it, especially the notion of boundaries and the structure of lace networks and architectural space.  The exhibits were displayed in such as way that encouraged the viewer to interact with many of the structures.  You could walk through and around, peer through, watch a film of and sit and read about many of the exhibits and I found that this presentation encouraged interaction with other visitors which was a good way to gain additional perspective of the works.

The exhibits were displayed well in the great space.  Lighting was good, in general, although I found many of the explanatory texts were in shadowy areas and difficult to locate at times.

There was an amazing variety of materials used.  You might not appreciate that a collection of strings of crystal beads form a network that appears as lace if it was described verbally but that is, in fact, what you perceive on viewing.  Innovative textiles were also used in some of the exhibits; Tyvek and laminated fabrics were used in a novel way.

Inverted Crystal Cathedral, Atelier Manferdini, 2011

I particularly enjoyed this large chandelier-style piece in the centre of the hall, constructed of Swarovski crystal beads secured with crimps on plied wire, very similar to jewellery necklaces currently available.  Because it was hung low in the room you could walk around it and look through it from all sorts of angles and appreciate the way the light bounced off the facets.  I can imagine this must be what it is like when large crystal chandeliers are taken down for cleaning and you can see the elements closely.  I also loved the way that the crystals draped like a fabric.  The exhibit was produced by an architectural practice and inspired by the shapes formed by vaulted ceilings.  Literally turned on it’s head, this concept is transformed into the construction which investigates the way gravity acts on each strand and produces the curves of the waves.

‘Moucharabieh’ and ‘Jardin de lit, lit de jardin’, Annie Bascoul, 2010


This exhibit consists of two parts.  The first is a lace screen with an archway you can move through.  The explanatory notes for this exhibit describe the technique used here as the traditional needlepoint lace of Alençon.  I watched this informative video to find out how the lace was usually produced.  The skilled ladies of the Atelier National du Point d’Alençon work to preserve the tradition of needlepoint lace making that has been typical of the region since the 17th Century.  According to the Pays d’Alencon tourist website, “It takes eight years of training to master the Point d’Alencon technique and it takes 25 hours of handiwork to produce a finished piece of lace the size of a postage stamp.”

In the exhibit ‘Moucharabieh’ the artist has used cotton rope to produce a lace panel with motifs inspired by plants and flowers on a scale far larger than the traditional technique.  The result is more recognisable as netting, with which the technique has a connection in the way the lace net is produced.  An archway has been incorporated which makes it easy for the viewer to become involved in the piece.  Walking through and around you can easily get an idea of the skill and time that was needed to make the panel.


The second part of the exhibit is Jardin de lit, lit de jardin, a bed of feathers laid on net and suspended about 90cm above the floor by transparent wires.  Beneath this is an arrangement of metal springs laid on the floor, some of which have been stretched and re-formed into words, extracts from the poetry of Béroalde de Verville.  The artist has been inspired by the bedding materials, feathers from a duvet, and de-constructed bed springs.  She states: “White and gold are for me the colours of light, beauty and ambiguity”.  This exhibit evokes, for me, the images of passing through a door in a garden into a special place, perhaps a secret rendezvous for lovers?

Percieds, Katharina Hinsberg, 2011

Pouncing was traditionally used to transfer embroidery designs onto fabric by forcing coloured chalk through a pierced design.  This exhibit echoes that technique.  There are small holes drilled in a large panel of mdf about 2 metres by 3 metres.  This forms a screen through which light is percieved.  The screen is positioned cleverly so that natural light from a large window behind illuminates the holes which are about 1 cm in diameter.  (One of the things I appreciated in this exhibition was being able to go right up to exhibits to examine them closely, necessary when you suffer from short-sightedness and it meant I could peer through the holes to see the space beyond.)  The design is like a meandering spiral and the holes vary from larger to smaller.  In some areas the holes are obscured which could be due to the construction of a frame to support the panel or an intentional effect from the timber studs which varies the amount of light allowed through the fretwork.

The exhibit is called ‘Percieds’.  The explanatory notes mention the artist has cleverly spelled the word with a ‘c’ echoing the French word for drilling, ‘percer’.  The Persieds are meteor showers in the Perseus constellation and  I think the work conveys well the effect of stars in the sky.  This is a large decorative piece but I can see the concept being used in a domestic situation, perhaps as a room screen, or on a smaller scale as a lampshade.  I really loved this exhibit and can see you could develop the idea further in fabric, plastic or other materials and you could use artificial light behind the piercings, perhaps in different colours, or by using colour changing lamps.

27th March 2012

It has just occured to me, whilst contemplating my current colour work in Project 3, that there was a lack of colour in the exhibition.  There was a lot of white, black and neutral shades and a couple of the exhibits, Ana Holck’s Untitled, 2011 and parts of Michael Brennand-Wood’s Lace the Final Frontier were a bold red colour.  Lise Bjørne Linnert’s exhibit, Fences 2009 was a compilation of colour photographs and a book giving the stories that went alongside her stitching red threads into boundaries that highlighted the openings, but if you look at the way the photographs were displayed in the whole space you do not get much of an impression of colour, more the shapes of the small rectangular prints arranged in lines, like bricks in a wall.

This concentration on monocromatic and neutral colours is understandable when lace can be a complicated and detailed structure.  You are focusing on the design, the shapes, the bones of the textile straight away.  Does this mean that if you produced needlepoint or bobbin lace in a bold colour such as turquoise or orange, that you would notice the colour first and not the design of the lace?  Is the essence of lace the construction of threads into lines, curves, picot edges, traditional floral designs, the spaces between?

I think it is.

Somerset Arts Week


Today was the last day of Somerset Arts Week and my final opportinity to see some local exhibitions.  I managed to nip out this afternoon to Kilver Court next to Gaymers cider mill and the Mulberry Factory Shop in Shepton Mallet.  This is one of the more interesting parts of the town where the Saul family have developed an up-market shopping emporium in the charming former wool mill buildings and a wedding venue in the Great House.

Above the farm shop I discovered The Link, ten artists exhibiting together, with a diverse range of pieces.  There were some delicate nuno felted wraps and hats by Silvia Prandini.  Her felting incorporates lace and metallic embellishments and all the pieces look very easy to wear.  

There were also some woven willow sculptures (spiky balls and wall hangings) by Angela Morley, and woven textiles by Mayumi Kaneko, muted, pastel colours, simple shapes inspired by nature.

Gorgeous boots from Candace Bahouth


Candace Bahouth - just completely adorable and hilarious at the same time!

Many gorgeous things / gorgeous boots from Candace Bahouth.

Candace Bahouth was just one of the artists that was exhibiting during Somerset Arts Week this year.  We are very lucky to have moved down to this part of Somerset where there are so many talented artists and craftspeople.   Last Saturday I took my daughters to Frome and this week we ventured out after lunch today on the Glastonbury Road, first stopping off at North Wooton Village Hall where several artsists were exhibiting, including landscapes by Angie Rooke which used some wonderful autumnal colours and similified shapes which appeared very comforting.

Next on the journey we found Candace Bahouth’s mosaic-filled dell at Pilton and then a bit further down the main road we visited the Tythe Barn at Worthy Farm where we found “Somerset Through the Eye of a Needle”, an exhibition by a group of textile artists featuring pieces inspired by the locality in stitch and fabric.  Almost next door in The Barn at Worthy Cottage were some very well executed corsets and costumes by Anna Dixon, along with interesting collagraph pieces by Penny Moorcraft and Alicia Merrett’s colourful art quilts.

We continued on to Glastonbury where our final destination was the Blue Cedar Arts Cafe Gallery in the High Street.  Angela Watston had a fabulous mixture of pieces on show, rag rugs (prodded and hooked), batik collages, light works using paper in front of a light box and paintings capturing the local landscape.  I also enjoyed Kevin de Choisy’s ceramics and Renate O’Donnell’s knitted/felted bags.


Blue II – Rook Lane Chapel, Frome

Rook Lane Chapel in Frome. Photographed in Sep...

Image via Wikipedia

Today my daughters and I also visited the Blue II exhibition at the Rook Lane Chapel in Frome.  Inspired by an 18th Century woad dyers recipe book, this exhibition included Jennie Gilling‘s cyanotype prints of plants and sewing ephemera,

Sarah Truscott‘s woven wool and silk wraps and Pauline Watson‘s ceramic books of love poetry.

Somerset Arts Week 2011


We are part way through Somerset Arts Week 2011 and I am trying to see as many textile exhibits as I can.  Last year Arts Week featured open studios and we came across a women’s wear designer when we were on a bicycle ride around Pylle and Pilton.  Terry Macey and Angelika Elsebach produce a range of, often unstructured, garments in a variety of fabrics which feature interesting textures, embellished with handmade buttons from Africa, the far East and Somerset.  The encourage visitors to try on the pieces when visiting their charming Pylle studio.  I loved the beautiful woollen jackets with asymetrical collars and wrap around fastenings.