The Knitting and Stitching Show! The Harrogate one, that is… why the most northerly one is held just as winter hits the UK is a continuing mystery. This time it was floods and gales that threatened to deny us our textile treat.
But despite the weather, and other struggles, I made it. And as always, I did enjoy it, though it’s no longer as exciting as the early days… well what can I expect after 20 or so years (!!!) of the same show?
These threads were all I bought; the colours are much nicer than a quick flash photo can show you. Lovely shaded Shetland wool from 21st Century Yarns and cotton perle from Stef Francis and Oliver Twists (still no website!)– the kind of thing that’s hard to buy by mail order. For a little HAND (!) stitching… with a difference (hopefully).
The Textile Gallery is the real attraction though. And while I didn’t find anything really stunning, it was great to totally immerse myself in textile art for a couple of hours. I’ll just show a few examples here, plus links to some fab websites where you can see more of the work. (BTW, all images here are ones made available by the artists on their websites).
The 62 Group are still stars. Lots to enjoy, but I was tickled by Hannah Streefkerk’s pile of pebbles in crocheted covers, called “To Conserve”. Not so much the pebbles themselves, as the sweet text explaining them:
“People wear clothes to protect them against cold etc. Stones have to deal with lots of different kinds of weather types. When the stones are not protected they become smaller and smaller. In this work Hannah wants to help the stones and prevent them from becoming sand.”
The “Reveal” group’s “Unfolding Stories” exhibit was one of my favourites, and you can see a lot of it on their website. Kerry Mosley’s free machined portraits on an open knitted wire mesh always stand out – my kind of technique, if not my kind of subject. Fiona Rainford had felt seedpods in lovely subtle colours (so much felt work is anything but!). And Jennie Merriman used clear acrylic with simple stitching and marks to construct a large sculptural mobile which cast beautiful shadows (you might know I’d enjoy that); also little books.
O2 Textiles, “Curiouser, Curiouser and Curiouser” was also really interesting. Click here to watch a fantastic slideshow of all their work. Zoe Cox’s details of butterfly wings caught my eye; I did some very similar dense FME ones myself years ago. But she’d gone further and done others with row upon row of tiny scales of coloured organzas. And Chris Bojan’s work was fresh and funny – especially “Unexpected Item in the Bagging Area”, b/w photos of a supermarket with a bright fabric/stitch fantasy creature at the checkout!
The only piece I tried to buy was from Natalie Simone Davies, in the Graduate Showcase – but she wouldn’t part with anything before the end of the show! I really liked her laser cut birch ply with French knot texture showing through the holes.
Oh yes, and mustn’t forget Jean Draper, always a favourite of mine – maybe because of the Arizona landscapes that inspire her, and because her work is so different to anything I can do myself. Unfortunately there aren’t any images of this new work, ”Landmarks”, and she has no website – but she does have a book coming out next autumn so I’ll have to wait for that.
So, that’s K&S over for another year… no, I won’t be going to the new spring one in Birmingham. Let’s hope the new ownership of Twisted Thread doesn’t ruin “our” show.