One of the most delightful and inspirational visits on our tour was to Ali Ferguson's studio. She welcomed us into her space and shared her creative process. We talked over coffee and she demonstrated some techniques that she uses. We learned about the evolution of her choices of materials. Her most recent series of work incorporates vintage postcard images, weathered wood from lobster traps, nautical charts, sewing notions and watch parts. She sews these items together with hand stitching, embellishing with embroidery! Each piece of art has a story.
Kathy Brasill, the owner and tour guide for Handcraftedholidays, took a small group of 6 of us on a delightful jaunt around northwest England and southern Scotland, seeing all things textile and more, staying in quaint old guesthouses with yummy well made food! Doesn't get much better than that in my world. Because we were such a small group on a small (but deluxe) bus we could go to out of the way places and into artist's studios to see them work. I loved every minute of the tour. Being with other people that love yarn, fabric, thread, art, craft and design was so inspiring and exciting. Needless to say I had to buy a bigger carry-on to come home! Checkout Kathy's website to see some photos and I will post some too. We were lucky to see the weavers in action at Stirling castle and have Ruth Jones, the head weaver (from Vancouver) talk to us about the replication of the unicorn tapestries.
I love Scotland. The sun shone most of the time I was there so I know my experience was colored by that, however, there was something about all those sheep and rolling green hills that felt comfortable. Inverness warmed my soul. The grey mist around those stone buildings was magical. The Inverness Art Gallery and Museum had a tapestry exhibited that was made of undyed wool using the variety of shades of fleece to create the image. The story of its production was fascinating. When I went to Edinburgh I was able to see the Dovecot Tapestry Studios where it was made.
There were many beautiful, entertaining and interesting things in London. Textile-wise I got see the Victoria and Albert museum for the first time. This is a place that needs days to be fully experienced. The history of fashion exhibit was cool but the embroideries from various countries were stunning. The theatre and costume gallery brought back memories of plays and musicians I have seen.
I was also able to take a tour of the Royal School of Needlework at Hampton Court Palace. The group was limited to 15 so I felt privileged to get into the tour as they don't have them very often. The work they showed us was exquisite. No photos were allowed so you will just have to visit to see for yourself.
The lobby of the Victoria and Albert had this gorgeous Chihuly chandelier.
Isn't this interesting? A tea stain with stitching around it. This is part of a piece of work I saw at the Tate Modern in London recently. It excites me when I see any contemporary textile art in a respected established art museum. Actually it excites me to see textile art exhibited anywhere! I just spent September in the UK immersed in Art, some of the time self-directed, and two weeks on a textile art tour with www.handcraftedholidays.com. I was in textile heaven! I will post some of the highlights.