Through Our Hands Magazine Issue 4

Page 1



linda seward talks to Susan hotchkis

Viv Sliwka Jennifer Moss Terry Grant Jette Clover and more...

issue 4 February 2015


Cover Cover: ‘Verdigris’, detail, Sue Hotchkis. @throughourhands

Through Our Hands ‘the magazine’ Established 2014. Editors: Laura Kemshall, Linda Kemshall, Annabel Rainbow Design: Laura Kemshall Submissions and advertising enquiries: throughourhandsmagazine@gmail. com Issue 4 Published by Through Our Hands, February 2015 © Through Our Hands, 2014-15. All content copyright. No part of this publication to be copied or reproduced in any form without prior written permission from the copyright holder(s).

Contributing authors Linda Kemshall Margaret Cooter Annabel Rainbow Laura Kemshall Linda Seward Terry Grant Helen Cobby

Viv Sliwka Jennifer Moss Jette Clover Michala Gyetvai Linda Barlow Dijanne Cevaal

11 Knightcote Drive, Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire

throughourhands. 07877 402455

Find out more about our contributors on the website:

In this issue... Welcome 4 Jette Clover: Memories through Stamps 5 Jennifer Moss: Transient Structures 9 Interview: Linda Seward poses the questions to Susan Hotchkiss 13 Who Are You? Grayson Perry 19 Terry Grant: Drawings and Rooftops and Good Intentions 25 Viv Sliwka 29 29 Soapbox - Deja Vu? 33 Showcase Linda Barlow 37 - Viv sliwka At the Edge of the Quilt: Georgie Meadows 41 Desert Island Designs - Michala Gyetvai 47 Clare Smith: Vertical Performance Dyeing 49 Clare smith Show and Tell 53 vertical What’s On? 59 performance 49 Helen Cobby: Pincushion Hearts 61 dyeing Dijanne Cevaal: Travelling Inspiration 63 Gordano Textiles: Working Together 67

25 Terry grant - drawings and rooftops and good intentions


19 who are you? grayson perry

showcase - Jennifer moss

37 Show and tell

Linda 13 seward interviews susan hotchkis

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Internationally renowned artist and designer, Kaffe Fassett will deliver his Glorious Colour Lecture in York, in May, to celebrate the opening of Ancestral Gifts, his first solo exhibition at the Quilt Museum and Gallery. He will also lead two, full-day workshops in July exploring design and colour in quilts using his stunning Rustic Checkerboard Medallion quilt for inspiration.

1st - 11th May


Ancestral Gifts runs from 15 May –5 September 2015 and will include 15 heritage quilts personally selected from The Quilters’ Guild Collection by Kaffe Fassett, alongside 15 new quilts designed by Kaffe and created in response to these significant pieces. “There is something extraordinarily exciting about bringing together the familiar with the unfamiliar”, said Kaffe. Through Our Hands Magazine, Issue 4 | february 2015

Welcome Hello and a huge welcome to the fourth, bumper, jam packed edition of Through Our Hands, The Magazine! We are delighted to announce that bestselling author Linda Seward is joining our regular contributors and in this edition she talks to Susan Hotchkis about her work and inspiration. The fabulous Terry Grant, is also joining us and she explains how nearly drowning can enhance your sketchbook work. They join our regular authors, Helen Cobby who tells us about pin cushions, and Margaret Cooter who investigates Georgie Meadows and her stitched drawings. Of course, all your regular favourite features are here too. Linda and Laura discuss “Déjà vu” or the thorny issue of copying work, on Soapbox. Michala Gyetvai is our marooned guest artist on the Desert Island, and she tells us what’s on her iPod and who’d she’d like to invite to dinner.

Annabel Rainbow

We have articles by Jette Clover who tells us about her Memories Through Stamps; Linda Barlow shares her new work which will premiere at Festival of Quilts this year; Clare Smith explains her Vertical Performance Dyeing, and we have the final instalment of Dijanne Cevaal’s travels. And if all that isn’t enough, we also have features on some familiar artists, and introduce some new ones to you, including Viv Sliwka and Jennifer Moss.

Laura Kemshall

There are feature articles by Gordano Textile Artists, who discuss their work for an upcoming exhibition called “Nature In Art”, and your roving reporter visits the Grayson Perry exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. And finally, phew, we have your work! A wonderful selection of your proudest moments in Show and Tell. Love, Annabel, Linda and Laura

Linda Kemshall


Affiliate Artist

An avid stamp collector as a child, and letter writer as an adult, Jette Clover explains how these passions still fuel her art.

Text and images by Jette Clover

Facing page: Johnny Cash #303. Below: Frida Kahlo #243.

Jette clover

Memories through stamps

I was a serious stamp collector as a child, taking pleasure in sorting and categorizing the little pictures. Later on, being a dedicated letter writer, I always tore the stamps off the envelopes I received and stored them in a box; not really knowing why, except a vague notion that one day I would find a use for them. Several years ago, while preparing to move, I found boxes full of stamps, and when I started to look through them, I discovered that a lot of them had images of famous people - movie stars, musicians, writers, artists, politicians, scientists; all people I grew up with, and many of them having had a big influence in my life. You have to be special to get your portrait on a stamp, and as a general rule it happens after you have died. All the people presented a cultural insight into a range


of nineteenth and twentieth century subjects, from World War II icons (Anne Frank # 195) to the civil rights struggle, (Nelson Mandela # 255 and Rosa Parks # 269); from science, (Einstein # 310) to music, (Johnny Cash # 303) and art (Frida Kahlo # 243). Looking at all the depicted celebrities I realized that they represented my own history and the time in which I grew up. I have fond memories of reading Sartre (# 202) and Simone de Beauvoir (# 275) when I was young and watching Greta Garbo (# 154) and Ingmar Bergman (# 289) movies. My first introduction to the visual arts probably happened through van Gogh (# 250) and Matisse (# 257) while listening to the music of Erik Satie (# 231) and Miles Davis (# 299). In 2001 I started to use the stamps for a series of small portraits in fabric. I call these little portraits Small Notes. Each piece is about 20x15 cm, and each piece is different, because each of the depicted persons is different. I work very spontaneously, only using scraps of fabric and keeping the cutting to a minimum. The simple running stitch serves as the functional element of holding the fabric scraps and the stamp together, as well as an expressive graphic mark-making of the surface. Collaged together with hand stitching, this creative process becomes a shared intimate memory between me and the pictured person.

Through Our Hands Magazine, Issue 4 | february 2015



Through Our Hands Magazine, Issue 4 | february 2015

The series began in 2001, and in 2010 when I had finished 157 portraits I had an exhibition and published a book about it. I thought it would be a nice closure, but I couldn’t stop, and I have now just finished # 312 (Jimi Hendrix)! I still have hundreds of stamps waiting to ‘speak to me’ and be turned into Small Notes. New stamps usually come on a sheet, and the repetition of these small squares or rectangles always reminds me of a traditional quilt pattern. Recently Janis Joplin was honoured with a stamp, and she’ll probably become #313. Facing page: Einstein #310. Above right: Van Gogh #250 Below right: Jette’s next inspiration, a sheet of stamps depicting Janis Joplin.

For more of Jette’s work:


Featured artist

The environment is her inspiration, but for Jennifer Moss exploring the potential of process is fundamental to the creation of her work.

Text and images by Jennifer Moss

I am an observer of my environment. My approach to my work in the studio is almost scientific. Experimentation with materials is a large part of my practice. Each element reacts in its own way, informing my process and leading to further investigations. I am constantly sampling in order to discover the limits of my materials and allowing these limits to inform my concepts. Recently I became fascinated with iron and its property of rusting. Through oxidization iron loses its traditional connotations of strength, durability, and functionality, becoming ephemeral and unpredictable. Combining this corrosion with natural fibres allows the rust to leave its mark: the stain becomes a permanent indication of a transitory process. My background in craft media has

Jennifer Moss Transient structures instilled in me a certain desire for lasting “heirloom� quality work, yet my interest in science and nature has taught me that nothing lasts, nothing is permanent. This is made especially clear in my work in textiles, which by their nature are intricate, additive constructions that are time consuming to produce yet highly susceptible to decay. Using a variety of complex and layered weave structures I am able to create different levels of interactions between iron wire and cotton thread, giving me control over the initial construction and providing a blueprint for the decay process. The grid of woven cloth and my own aesthetic choices give the completed weavings a high level of order, which acts to make their descent into decay and chaos more poignant. As rust appears on the surface of the weavings and eventually falls away in a fine dust, the sense of nature’s power to overcome and degrade is made tangible.

The Process

The woven panels for Transient Structures were created on a computerized Jacquard loom, which allowed the use of multiple layered complicated weave structures in which different concentrations of the iron wire were on the surface. It was this difference that allowed for the range of rust colours to appear on the surface of my weavings.

Imagery of textures that I collected on long walks in the country and in the city was used as the basis for the woven panels. The images were reduced to a handful of colours on the computer and then I used NedGraphics software to insert my own custom double cloth weave structures into the imagery. The file was exported to the loom, which controlled the lifting of the warp threads to create my pattern, though I threw each weft pick by hand. The warp was mercerized cotton; the wefts were a cotton/ linen blend and 28-gauge iron wire. Once the panels were woven I strategically cut away sections of cloth to reveal the long wire floats. Once hemmed and ready for hanging, the panels each got spritzed with salt water to activate the rusting process. As time passed the rust grew across more of the surface, darkening the colour and beginning to break down the wire structure within.

About Jennifer

Jennifer is a fibre artist and sculptor whose work ranges from wearable art to room sized installations. She received her BFA in Jewellery/Metals from Western Michigan University in 2007 and her MFA in Fibres from Savannah College of Art and Design in 2014. Additionally she has studied at Alchimia School of Contemporary Jewellery in Florence, Italy and at Penland School of Craft in North Carolina.

Facing page: Deterioration Panels 5, 6, & 7. 2013. Cotton, Linen and Iron Wire. Each Panel: 185cm x 72cm.


Through Our Hands Magazine, Issue 4 | february 2015


Deterioration Panel 5, Detail . 2014. Cotton, Linen and Iron Wire, 185cm x 72cm.

Jennifer’s work has been exhibited throughout the United States and in Italy and has won numerous prizes, including Best of Show at Fantastic Fibres in 2010, the 2011 London International Creative Competition Shortlist and the 2013 Niche award for decorative fibre.

In addition to her studio practice, Jennifer teaches workshops in various fibre techniques, particularly felting and natural dying. She is co-founder and director of Sulfur Studios, a collective studio and gallery space in Savannah, GA.

She has work published in 500 Felt Objects from Lark Books and an upcoming title Worldwide Colours of Felt. She has participated in residencies in Paducah, KY and at Society for Contemporary Craft in Pittsburgh, PA.


Through Our Hands Magazine, Issue 4 | february 2015

Right: Deterioration Panel 7. 2014. Cotton, Linen and Iron Wire. 185cm x 72cm.


We are delighted that best-selling author Linda Seward accepted our invitation to write for Through Our Hands Magazine. In this issue she introduces the beautiful stitched textiles by Susan Hotchkis and poses the questions to find out more.

Text by Linda Seward Images by Susan Hotchkis

Below: Fragment, detail.

Susan Hotchkis I have been an admirer of Sue’s work for a long time. As a new correspondent for this magazine, she was the first person I thought of interviewing, as I find her work so intriguing and tactile. Her use of asymetry particularly appeals to me. Sue was born and raised in Hull, but spent most of her adult life in Manchester. She got her first sewing machine at seven and really hasn’t stopped sewing since then. She has a degree in Embroidery from the

Manchester Metropolitan University and also an MA in Textiles. In Manchester, she taught Textiles on a Foundation course and also ran an Access to Art course for adults. Sue and her husband moved to Guernsey in 2007 for his job, and they might be moving to France in a couple of years for the same reason. However, the move to Guernsey allowed Sue to give up teaching and provided an opportunity for her to focus on developing her own practice.

Linda: Do you work full time as a quilt artist?

Sue: Depends on what you mean by being a full time artist. Now that I’m not teaching, I can spend as much or as little time as I want on making. However, it is easy to procrastinate, so I set deadlines for myself; having the pressure helps


Through Our Hands Magazine, Issue 4 | february 2015


me stay focused. My best work has often resulted from a short deadline. When I’m at home I try to spend as much time as possible in my studio, but we travel quite a bit so making gets interrupted. I often have bouts of intense working followed by not very much.

L: Why did you decide to focus on quilt making rather than some other textile medium?

S: I consider myself to be a fibre/textile artist and use a wide variety of mediums and processes. I have exhibited in Fibre and Fine Art exhibitions. Luckily, my work does involve layering and stitch, therefore fitting the definition of an art quilt. This has allowed me to widen my field of exhibiting possibilities and enter quilt exhibitions. Also being a member of SAQA and The Quilters’ Guild Contemporary Quilt Group has further enabled me to show my work.

L: Where do you get your inspiration from?

S: I take photographs mainly when we travel but I can find inspiration on my doorstep too. I’m inspired by many things, from graffiti to broken windows to door handles. I’m drawn to texture, surface, pattern and colour, and am strongly influenced by the Japanese aesthetic of Wabi-Sabi (the beauty of imperfect and impermanent things). I’m interested in the relationship between natural and man-made elements, such as what results from erosion and human use. I find transient beauty in rust, oxidation, crumbling plaster and peeling paint.

Left: 952, 2014


Through Our Hands Magazine, Issue 4 | february 2015

L: What is your preferred method of working?

S: I work intuitively, responding to what develops. I enjoy the discovery part, manipulating and experimenting with the fabric, responding to accident and chance, exploring and finding new ways to create marks and surfaces. I’m very much a ‘what if ’ person and I’m not afraid to try something, even if it destroys my work. I feel that if you can make something once you can always make it again. I sometimes have three samples of the same thing on the go at one time, so I can test ideas. Though this is time consuming, it’s what I enjoy doing. I use my photographs to gather ideas, sometimes working with them in Photoshop and then using them to create Thermofax screens for printing. Sometimes I sketch and paint from them and then develop it from there. The work is pieced together with parts being added and removed until I’m happy with the result. I layer fabric to hide and reveal in a similar way to layers of paint worn away by the passage of time. For example, on the piece ‘Vedigris’ I surprised even myself. As I removed circles of fabric to create holes, one of the circles consisted of seven different layers, each individually dyed, if not stitched on! Often I work on several pieces at one time moving from one to another, each at different stages of development. Things can get put on hold and I often leave work pinned up somewhere so it remains in my subconscious. So, the artwork evolves over time and can take anything from a couple of weeks to several months.

L: What processes do you prefer?

S: If sewing is a process then it would

Above: Work in progress.

be free machine embroidery. I love the freedom it gives and the instant gratification and the contrast of the stitching to the flat printed fabric. I use the machine more and more as I have arthritis in my fingers and they become painful with too much hand stitching. I also don’t think you can beat the thrill you get from discharge printing. It’s so exciting to see what appears when you steam it. I recently enjoyed using

the paper lamination process and have created several pieces using this method.

L: What type of materials do you prefer? S: I prefer to use fabric that I can manipulate, a blank canvas that can be dyed or printed on. I’ll often use cotton and silk, and I use synthetic fabric such voile and Tyvek, sometimes all in the same piece. I’ve been using felt more


and more as I like the weight and body it gives while still being soft and pliable. Previously I used pelmet Vilene but whilst giving strength and body, it’s not good when it comes to folding or rolling. This is something that must be taken into consideration with a view to transporting work to exhibition venues.

L: How do you see your work developing?

S: Some of my work recently has become three-dimensional and at the moment I’m enjoying coming away from the wall. I’d like to experiment with different fabrics that can be more sculptural, moulded and shaped. As digital printing has become more affordable and accessible, I’m also considering experimenting with my own digital prints in my work.

L: How do you feel when you finish a piece?

S: I’m a perfectionist so I’m always going to think, I could have done this or that better or differently. Therefore, I’ll photograph it so it can’t be meddled with any more. Mainly I feel very happy and it’s always my favourite piece until the next one comes along. And there is always a next one, as that is the itch that can’t be scratched.

L: And I, for one, can’t wait to see what comes next!

Right: Once, 2012. Facing page: 952, detail, 2014.


Through Our Hands Magazine, Issue 4 | february 2015

For more information about Susan’s work: and for more about Linda Seward:


Who are you? Grayson Perry


Through Our Hands Magazine, Issue 4 | february 2015

Accompanied by a TV series of the same name, Grayson Perry’s work has captured the nation. Annabel Rainbow visits The National Portrait Gallery to discover more.

Grayson Perry is one of your author’s favourite artists. He is a great chronicler of contemporary life, drawing viewers in with beauty, wit, affecting sentiment and nostalgia as well as fear and anger. His hard-hitting and exquisitely crafted works reference his own childhood and life as a transvestite while also engaging with wider social issues from class and politics to sex and religion. Here’s what Grayson Perry says:

Text and images by Annabel Rainbow unless otherwise stated.

This exciting exhibition featuring work by Grayson Perry is spread across Floor One of the Portrait Gallery’s permanent nineteenth and twentieth century collections, and you need the small free map provided at the entrance to help navigate around the space and find all objects. The collection focuses on the theme of identity. Grayson Perry’s new portraits – which include a major tapestry, sculptures and pots – are of individuals, families and groups who are all trying to define who they are in modern Britain.

‘I have always been interested in the things we tend not to think about or take for granted, like our sense of aesthetic taste. In this show I investigate our slippery sense of who we feel we are. Identity seems to be something that is only an issue when it is threatened or problematic in some way. I have chosen as my subjects individuals, families or groups who are in situations that highlight certain aspects of being human. I am hoping that they will throw some light on experiences that we all share. With the artworks I have made I have attempted to portray the identity narrative of the subjects, the ongoing process of ‘being ourselves’. The exhibition begins with an etching self-portrait as a Below: The Ashford Hijab, 2014. Courtesy the Artist and Victoria Miro, London. © Grayson Perry


Right: The Earl of Essex, 2014 Courtesy the Artist and Victoria Miro, London © Grayson Perry

fortified town, Map of Days, and a huge tapestry, Comfort Blanket, a portrait of Britain which the artist describes as “a portrait of Britain to wrap yourself up in, a giant banknote, things we love, and love to hate.”

by Perry and then repaired using the Japanese kintsugi technique, where the cracks are repaired using lacquer resin dusted or mixed with gold.

All these new works were created during the making of Grayson Perry’s Channel 4 series, ‘Who Are You?’ which follows the artist as he spends time with people who are at a crossroads or crisis in their own identity, and makes works that try to capture each of them in a single, revealing image.

Nearby is The Earl of Essex, a Hilliard-inspired miniature of X-Factor contestant Rylan Clark (in porcelain, digital transfer, electro-formed metal and acrylic). It’s displayed in a showcase between the Gallery’s cabinet portraits of novelists George Eliot and Wilkie Collins.

For example, the portrait of disgraced politician Chris Huhne is a vase decorated with a repeating pattern of motifs such as his face, his personalised number plate and a speed camera. The ceramic pot was purposefully smashed

The Ashford Hijab, a silk screen print, shows Muslim convert Kayleigh Khosravi and her children on the path from what Grayson Perry describes as ‘the temple of consumerism’ of the Ashford Designer Outlet Centre to the focal point of her Muslim faith at Mecca. Three glazed pots depict Modern Family, Jack and John, white male parents who have adopted mixed race Shea; Memory Jar showing Alzheimer’s disease sufferer Christopher Devas and

his wife Veronica and Idealised Heterosexual Couple, divorcees who live apart but whose family is brought together through its love of ballroom dancing classes, meaning father Colin sees more of his daughters that many a live-in father. I am a Man, a small patinated brass portrait of young female-to-male transsexual Alex, echoes the Kensington Gardens statue of Peter Pan and is in the style of some of Perry’s favourite sculptures, the Benin bronzes of West Africa. It is displayed close to The Line of Departure, a tapestry in the style of an Afghan rug which shows three wounded war veterans, in a room surrounded by the Gallery’s portraits of Baden Powell, Florence Nightingale, Mary Seacole and soldiers Lord Kitchener and Frederick Barnaby. Jesus Army Money Box, a glazed ceramic reliquary in the form of a mediaeval style Chasse, a small enamelled chest containing a holy relic, depicts a Christian group that works with homeless people.

Left: The Huhne Vase, 2014 Courtesy the Artist and Victoria Miro, London © Grayson Perry 21

Through Our Hands Magazine, Issue 4 | february 2015

Above: Comfort Blanket, detail, 2014, Grayson Perry.

Above:I am a Man, 2014 Courtesy the Artist and Victoria Miro, London Š Grayson Perry



Fabric of Nature

An exhibition of work from thirteen Gordano Textile Artists representing the diversity of both the natural world and of contemporary textile art. Nature in Art, Wallsworth Hall, Sandhurst Lane, Sandhurst, Gloucester, GL2 9PA Dates: 31st March – 12th April 2015 Opening times 10am -5pm Admission charge for Nature in Art Tel : 01452 731422 Demonstrations – for details please check Nature in Art website

Books! Discover a selection of books that you simply won’t find in your high street bookstore. Titles from :

Cecily Sash, Alicia Merrett, Jette Clover, Mirjam PetJacobs and more. It is often possible for your book to be signed by the artist, please just enquire when ordering.

Available in the Through Our Hands gallery bookshop online now:



Terry Grant Drawings and Rooftops and Good Intentions Text and images by Terry Grant

Laura: I’ve long been a reader of Terry Grant’s blog so when the time came to invite artists to write for Through Our Hands magazine Terry was always going to be on my shortlist.


When we headed off for Spain last September I packed my sketchbooks and pens and a little travel kit of watercolors, with the best of intentions, as I always do when we travel. Each time I know I will take the time to sit and draw, and possibly paint, the scenes I most want to

remember. And then I usually don’t. Oh, there have been a few times, like the day I nearly drowned in the ocean. We were in the Galapagos Islands snorkeling to see sea turtles, or something. I rolled myself into the water, and, poor swimmer that I am, I began flailing and

Through Our Hands Magazine, Issue 4 | february 2015

gasping as the waves slapped me in the face. Our guide dragged me back into the little boat and suggested I might want to wait on the beach while the others snorkeled. Fine with me, and I dragged my backpack with me to sit and wait while sea lions sunbathed all around me on the sand. Glad that I had my drawing supplies in my pack, I spent the time drawing the scene. Now, 10 years later, when I look at this page I can hear the slap of the waves. I can feel the equatorial sun on my shoulders and feel the sand beneath my feet. I can smell the beach and hear the snuffles and barking of the sea lions. Somehow this little sketch contains all that. Similarly, back in Ecuador, on that same trip, the altitude got the better of me on a trip up the Cotopaxi volcano and I had to stay with the van while others in our party hiked to the edge of the glacier. The drawing I made that day, sitting on the back bumper of a van, brings back the sting of the wind on my face, the frantic racing of my heart in my chest and the dull ache in my head as I gasped for air. Photographs are great, but they don’t do that for me!

Carving into memory I am a big proponent of drawing, even if you are not an artist, but absolutely if you are. Nothing, in my opinion, forces you to see a place or an object or a person as completely and meaningfully as when you draw that place, object or person. There is a sensual pleasure in discovering the detail, the shadow, the swooping curve, the stutter of a line that appears on the paper as you draw. And, in drawing a scene you carve it into your

Above and facing: Pages from Terry’s travel sketchbook.


memory in a way that just looking never accomplishes. So drawing as you travel makes beautiful sense of what you have seen. Here’s the problem. Traveling with other people. No one else wants to stop long enough to let me draw. So I have to wait for those near-death experiences to allow me the time to sketch. I would love to be able to sit and draw for an hour or so when we are seeing new and wondrous places, but I can’t slow my companions down long enough to do it. Still, hope springs, and I always pack my supplies. Someday I might consider one of those specialized guided tours where all the participants are there just to draw. I have friends who have done this and they come home with bulging sketchbooks. It looks like fun. Maybe... Oh, who am I kidding? I’ll never do that! I like traveling with my husband. My best hope is to get him interested in drawing too.

Spanish rooftops So, off we went to Spain and I had visions of sitting in plazas drawing. Well, really I vaguely hoped, but doubted it would fit into the schedule. No drawing happened in Barcelona. None in Madrid. We arrived in Granada in the middle of a hot afternoon with a suitcase full of dirty clothes and were thrilled to find our lodging had a washing machine and a view from the balcony that knocked our (dirty) socks off! So as our clothes were washing I pulled out my drawing supplies and began a sketch of our view. I got this far and never again found the time to get back to it. My nearly finished drawing and supplies lay on the little table near the window for the rest of our stay in Granada. As we were packing up to move on, I put them in my pack and snapped a photo of the


scene for future reference. Months went by. Our trip became a happy memory and we got caught up in our daily life here at home. I worked in my studio against deadlines for shows and submission dates. We spent time with family and immersed ourselves in holiday preparations and celebrations and the joys and sorrows of life. I never once opened my sketchbook, but I never forgot the unfinished drawing. Today I got it out and, with the help of my photographs, I finished it. It isn’t a great piece of art. It is mostly

rooftops, but as I worked at it today, here in Oregon, in the dead of winter, I could feel the hot Spanish breeze blowing in from the balcony, making the curtains flutter. I could smell laundry soap and sunscreen. I tasted, again, the fresh figs in the little blue bowl that sat on the wooden table, near my sketchbook, and I remembered the carillon bells ringing in the tower. Just beyond the buildings in the drawing, down to the right, you can almost see the plaza where we ate dark chocolate ice cream with bits of orange in it and where we waited for the bus and where I bought the scarf I wore yesterday and where a man sat on a

Through Our Hands Magazine, Issue 4 | february 2015

little wobbly chair and played the guitar like Segovia. All that, and more in a tiny drawing. I won’t give up my good intentions. I will keep packing my drawing supplies when we set out for new horizons, because when I do take the time to use them it is so worth it. Maybe as we get older we will need to stop and just sit more often and when we do I will be ready to draw.

For more information about Terry:


Feautured Artist

Viv Sliwka

Text and images by Viv Sliwka

Finding beauty in the imperfect, using materials beyond their intended function Viv Sliwka hand stitches delicate and charming embroideries.

I have always embroidered. When I was a child, I would sit for hours with needle, threads and an embroidery design transferred onto cloth, meticulously satin stitching flowers and patterns, with my Mum, keeping a watchful eye over me. Over the years I have been fortunate to have studied Embroidery, Art & Design and Illustration at College.

I have also had five years of being self employed making greetings cards, all illustrated and hand coloured. So a love of art and textile art is deeply embedded within me. My creations come from a deep need to make, to express myself, to make decorative, maybe useful items to bring pleasure to the beholder. This holds much satisfaction to me. To particularly create from the discarded brings even more joy. I tend to use textiles that are beyond their intended function. Maybe a coffee stained or worn embroidered table cloth, the older and more unloved the better. I would never use anything of any significance in my work, only a textile that would possibly be discarded because of wear or staining. I am inspired by quirky folk art, old and new, American Prim art, homespun. Nature, colours, birds, pets, all make my heart sing. I find these influences all work on the theme, that there is beauty in the imperfect, the odder and more quirky the better. Perhaps with a nod to the past? A celebration of ‘make do and mend’, when a ‘throw away’ society did not exist or could not even be comprehended. When handmade was the only option for a new dress or a child’s doll. I like honest stitching and texture, my work is not thought out and planned and meticulously executed. I let the work flow with the initial idea and see where it ends up. My particular passion is, the shabbier, more worn, thread bare, loose threaded the better.


Through Our Hands Magazine, Issue 4 | february 2015

Above: Handpainted and embroidered purse.

Facing page: Hand embroidery mounted within a vintage tin. Above: Hand embroidery, vintage fragments.


Above: Embroidered cuffs. Below: Hand embroidered fragment with printed hare. Facing page: Embroidery, detail.

I adore layers of worn, thin, faded cotton prints and linens with holes, foxing and lots of loose threads and incorporating fragile paper and lace trimmings. It’s all about texture, which for me, highlights a particular textile’s history; where did it come from, who made it, the stories it could tell? Combining these ‘ingredients’ with imagery of various forms is where I have fun. Inspiration is found in a vintage photograph, or a pretty painted flower on a china cup, drawings or photographs of vintage toys. I transfer this imagery onto fabric and use within the work. The world is your oyster, so much to celebrate and use. There are so many ways in which to transfer imagery onto textiles these days, where there is a will there is a way! I am constantly inspired and need to make an idea, which means my work is one of a kind, or a run of two or three of the same thing. Saying that, I am currently obsessed with making


Wrist Cuffs and enjoy exploring the possibilities with appliqué of lovely fabrics and trims, loving that when you turn the Cuff there is a different view, a snippet of this colour and texture, trims and buttons catching the light. I personally enjoy using my own designs, hand drawn, maybe transferred onto cotton or screen printing. Again, these drawings tend to be birds, dogs, donkeys. I use screen printing in a small way, making it easy to replicate an image or one of my drawings over and over again.

my work, feeding plain cotton into my old manual typewriter. I have a very large collection of buttons and always use a button or two, always sewn, never glued! My particular favourites are antique French mother of pearl buttons. The way they reflect the light, with pearly subtle colours, is so very beautiful.

I make accessories i.e. purses, bags, brooches and cuffs. These usually incorporate the use of vintage textiles, buttons and my own imagery. Appliqué and hand embroidery all play their part too. Most of my work has embroidered flowers and a hand painted bee or two. I usually incorporate a little text too in

Through Our Hands Magazine, Issue 4 | february 2015

For more information about Viv Sliwka: Blog http://hensteethart.blogspot. Etsy hensteeth?ref=hdr_shop_menu



Traditionally students have always learned their craft by copying the works of their forefathers. Surely there’s no better way to master a technique or a style? But each artist must always find their own path and individuality. Linda and Laura Kemshall explore this idea...

Text by Linda and Laura Kemshall Images by Linda Kemshall unless otherwise stated.


DÉja` vu?


As children we learn by example. We observe our parents and older siblings and, for better or worse, we copy their actions and language. It’s the natural way of things - we look, listen and learn. As adults we continue to absorb information and ideas from many external sources. We take classes with teachers we admire, we devour books and magazines, we visit exhibitions to study works of art, we listen attentively to lectures by established experts. Like sponges we soak it all up and store it away in the backs of our minds. We might even take photographs and scribble relevant notes. It would be impossible to go through life without these external influences affecting everything we produce as creative people - ideas tucked away almost forgotten will inevitably ferment and eventually come to the fore. But where do we draw the line between inspiration and imitation when these thoughts and memories resurface? There was a time when every budding artist was encouraged to make copies of old master paintings or ancient statues. Training the seeing eye to observe and reproduce accurately was a valuable lesson when an artist was regarded as an everyday artisan and their skill as a painter was their craft.


Picasso is reputed to have said, “Good artists copy, great artists steal”. It’s a difficult quote to fully understand but I’m sure he never meant to condone plagiarism and certainly not forgery. He himself was very influenced by earlier artists. There is some debate about the exact wording of the quote but if we can attribute this saying to him, what I think he meant was that all artists are aware of what others create. Because they love and are fascinated by art they assimilate the ideas, style and content of the work and allow these things to influence their own work to a greater or lesser degree. Great artists however do more than see and learn from art they admire - they take ideas and concepts and make them completely their own. By using the word ‘stealing’ I believe he meant owning or possessing the idea. Picasso in fact was inspired to paint many versions of Manet’s ‘Dejeuner sur L’Herbe’ but while the subject matter of his paintings may be the same as that of Manet’s, the style is unmistakably that of Picasso. Creative people are spoilt these days. There are so many images instantly available online, on TV, in books, videos and DVDs and there are exhibitions within the reach of most. We are all surrounded and immersed in visual stimuli. In terms of access to all kinds of art the world has become a much

Through Our Hands Magazine, Issue 4 | february 2015

Above: Katsushika Hokusai ‘The Great Wave Off the Coast of Kanagawa’ Edo Period, Nineteenth Century. source : Wikipedia

Right: Linda Kemshall, ‘Big Wave’. Next page: detail.


smaller place. At the click of a mouse we can discover every painting, quilt or embroidery we could ever want to see. Does this make it almost impossible to be truly original? We are exposed to so much imagery can we forget we have seen it or ignore the impression it has made on us? We can’t reinvent the wheel and wouldn’t want to if we could. Instead we look at what has gone before and we build upon it. Everything we create becomes a distillation of our experiences and the knowledge acquired from seeing the world through the eyes of fellow artists but it is our own view and as such it is unique.


The blurred lines between inspiration, influence, and downright copying makes the subject of originality in art fascinating. I view it from two standpoints, that of a teacher, and that of an artist. The teacher in me (Linda and I have tutored hundreds of students over the years), is generous with ideas. I want my students to do well, to excell. Being a good teacher is about imparting knowledge liberally and without reserve. When all is said and done, there is a finite number of techniques and despite what product manufacturers might have us believe, a limit to the variety of materials available to us. Trends and fashions aside, subject matter remains constant, the landscape, the figure, still life. We are human and we explore the humanity around us, that hasn’t changed for thousands of years. Essentially we are all working with the same ingredients. So how can we be original? How can any student find their own individuality when, with a quick glance on the internet, it seems everything has been done before, lots? Maybe the answer can be found by closing the door on outside influences once in a while. For instance by not looking at the work of other artists who


have tackled landscape subjects, but by looking directly at your own landscape. As an artist I can only speak of what works for me and that is to operate inside my own little bubble. My work is about my own experiences, thoughts, fears, home, family, loves and life. So long as I stay true to that, there is no way the work can be anything other than mine. For the student starting out, my advice would be to not think of the end goal. So often I think a student just beginning might look at the amazing work that someone else has created and think ‘Oh I want to make that!’. But don’t look at a piece of work and try to emulate it. The original was made as a result of some sort of emotional response to an idea, event or experience. It is more than its component parts of canvas and paint, or fabric and thread. Any ‘copy’ made by someone else will always be lacking one thing, that gut feeling which was the critical ingredient, the one that no-one else can supply, and as such will not only merely be a copy, but a pale imitation.

As Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from - it’s where you take them to.”

Through Our Hands Magazine, Issue 4 | february 2015

For more information about Linda and Laura including studio workshops and online courses: www.lindakemshall.

The Liberated Quilt provides a showcase for 24 international artists working mainly with stitched textile techniques, including quilt-making and embroidery. Their work challenges and expands the boundaries of textiles, showing how innovative ideas can evolve from a traditional art form. Strong narratives, bold visions, and raw emotional response are key features of the work on show. Curated by Through Our Hands, this exhibition offers the opportunity to experience work by textile artists considered to be amongst the best in the world. The collection for the 2015 “The Liberated Quilt” exhibition at Bilston, (part of the WAVE, Wolverhampton) features exciting new work by some of the world’s best textile artists, demonstrating originality and quality, both in execution and design, and challenging our preconceived ideas of quilting.

The Liberated Quilt: New Work from Through Our Hands 16th May – 11th July 2015. Bilston Craft Gallery Mount Pleasant, Bilston, West Midlands, WV14 7LU, UK Opening reception 16th May, 1pm to 3pm. Refreshments

Quilt artists taking part are: Alicia Merrett, Sandra Meech, Olga Prins Luckowski, Linda Barlow, Sara Impey, Michala Gyetvai, Annabel Rainbow, Laura Kemshall, Linda Kemshall, Bobby Britnell, Jeanne Williamson, Els Van Baarle, Deirdre Adams, Bente Vold Klausen,Bethan Ash, Clare Smith, Dijanne Cevaal, Elizabeth Barton, Eszter Bornemisza, Linda Colsh, Mirjam Pet Jacobs, Sue Benner, Susan Lenz, Jette Clover.

Below: Bethan Ash


Affiliate Artist

Looking ahead to Festival of Quilts in August this year, TOH Affiliate Artist Linda Barlow tells us more about the planning, research and collaboration with the audience which will be part of her one-woman exhibition.

Text and images by Linda Barlow

Below: Hands 4, Linda Barlow.

Linda Barlow It was over a year ago that the idea of my having a gallery space at Festival of Quilts 2015 was first discussed.

purpose of this study I am defining middle age as 40’s, 50’s and 60’s but a few years either side won’t matter!)

Once it was confirmed it seemed so far in the future that I felt I didn’t need to worry about it, and so spent a luxurious few weeks feeling awed and honoured to have been asked, whilst vaguely thinking about a theme.

This ‘middle’ age is an interesting one and can come as quite a shock to some. Hormones play havoc with emotions, and can leave us feeling irrationally angry one minute and pathetically tearful the next. Many people report having negative feelings about the future, wondering whether there is any point carrying on when it seems only illness and death await. Many women struggle to come to terms with children leaving home and find themselves suddenly alone with a partner they have little in common with after many busy years raising a family; divorce is high in this age group. At the other end of the scale, it still seems to fall to women to sort out care for ageing parents, often putting on hold or completely dashing any personal goals and ambitions we might have had.

I had already done quite a bit of research on women’s shifting identity and decided to expand this and focus on menopausal/middle-aged women and how they felt about themselves at this transitional phase of life. (For the

Yet other people have very few symptoms at all and seem to sail through this period with little visible change. Postmenopausal women often talk of increased energy levels, a new calmer approach to life and go on to start new businesses and carve out different careers for themselves, or fulfill long held ambitions, traveling or spending


Through Our Hands Magazine, Issue 4 | february 2015

more time with friends, unimpeded by previous demands and responsibilities. Above all it is seen as a time for reevaluation, a time to take stock and reimagine how to spend the future years. I wanted to find out what other women thought, so devised a short questionnaire, which I distributed on social media. I was stunned by how many responses I got, over 150 in a couple of weeks. These responses will form the basis for a series of textile pieces for the exhibition. Some years ago, I was talking to a plastic surgeon, who told me that no end of women came to him for procedures to make them look younger, but that in his opinion, their hands always gave their age away. I think we should celebrate this, all the fantastic things our hands have done over the years. To this end I set about photographing women’s hands and asked them about the coolest, most amazing things their hands had done. I was lucky enough to be given space (at very short notice, brilliant organizing!) at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Harrogate, where I convinced many women to have their hands photographed. The results, all 150 pairs of hands so far, will be cyanotyped on to fine cotton and form part of my Festival of Quilts gallery. It’s almost Christmas and I seem to spend all my days printing acetates and treating fabric for the cyanotype process, hoping the sun will come out so they will develop quickly! I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone. I have only another seven or eight months to get all this work done, as well as keep up with my other commitments. Whilst I am thoroughly enjoying the opportunity I’ve been given, to


produce a complete body of work for the exhibition, sometimes it seems such a daunting task and I am wracked with self doubt – will people think it’s a trivial, self indulgent subject? Does any of it matter anyway? If you’re coming to the Festival of Quilts in August, do come along and say hi, especially if you are one of the people who kindly took the time to fill in a questionnaire or allowed me to photograph your hands. I will be on stand E28, half way between the entrance and the Through Our Hands exhibition! I look forward to seeing you and hearing what you make of it all!


Below: Linda photographing a contributor’s hands.

Through Our Hands Magazine, Issue 4 | february 2015

An exhibition of work by Through Our Hands Affiliate Artists. Festival of Quilts August 2015 NEC, Birmingham, UK We’ve something new and exciting planned for Festival of Quilts this August. As well as seeing new work from the Through Our Hands artists, you’ll be able to follow the processes behind the pieces with drawings, photographs, and video, and just to tempt you, we can reveal that there will be a new and exciting element of performance involved!


At the Edge of the Quilt

Georgie Meadows Behind every portrait is a story, and contained within every individual is a lifetime of stories. Georgie Meadows’ stitched portraits, based on individuals who she has encountered in her work as an occupational therapist specializing in mental health, tell these stories for people who can no longer tell them themselves. Margaret Cooter tells us more.

Text by Margaret Cooter, images courtesy of the artist.

Stitched Drawings Georgie was ambivalent about using the stories with the pictures but is pleased she did: “ I think it has emphasised the importance of reflecting upon one’s first impressions, are they correct? – especially when the subjects are not in control of their lives. Looking and seeing can mislead, says Georgie, especially when loss of identity and control are involved. Some of the work has been displayed with both sides visible, involving the viewer in a shift in perspective. The backs of the works really speak to us, but not in a way that relies on logical verbal communication. They reinforce how a great part of communication is visual, rather than verbal. Without the power of verbal communication, the unique individuality of these people who are unable to express themselves is in danger of being lost. Most of these tactile portraits come with a story of the daily challenges, and triumphs, of the person portrayed. (Georgie emphasizes that they are based on real people, but do not depict individuals as such.) As drawings, they convey something felt rather than strictly observed. The tight-knotted threads, the various fabrics, the undulations of the stitched surface, the loose stuffing, the raveled or jagged edges, stains on the fabrics, all add subliminal components that reinforce the plights of these ‘lost’ individuals.

Left: This woman is trying to dress her confused husband. Her back is aching. They have been trying to get ready for half an hour already. (Stories and photos are from unless otherwise indicated)


Through Our Hands Magazine, Issue 4 | february 2015

Stitching is an able metaphor for a life that is being eroded by cognitive impairment – like our public personas, stitching aims to be tidy on the surface – and what is happening underneath can be very different. The great incoherent tangles of threads on the reverse are so appropriate for mental health problems such as bi-polar when the sufferer is putting on a brave face for the world but is having to live through the agonies of depression. In dementia, the tangles reflect the abnormal structures that are developing in the brain in some forms of the disease. Georgie’s background in health care has greatly influenced her work. After years of making drawings based on the people she worked with, she took time out to do an art foundation course, during which she began translating her pencil drawings into machine stitch on fabric. She tried using various different mediums, including hand stitch, ceramics, and print making, but it was free machine stitch that seemed to add to the feelings she was trying to get across. She uses an ordinary domestic machine which, in a way, hampers her control: “there is a machine between me and drawing on the fabric; the fabric gets in the way, I can’t see the whole image whilst I am stitching. I feel this reflects the state that so many of my subjects are in: they do not have control of their lives.”

Above: Martin has been in bed for months. He is not neat or clean but he feels secure and loved by his family. He still has his identity. His bedsores are giving him a lot of pain. Below: As displayed at the Wellcome Collection, 2012. Fara (front) had to live through terrible depressions and mania for all her life. The man at the back had many adventures travelling the world as a sailor. He had been big and strong; now he has difficulty even breathing and has to lean on a table to support himself .



Through Our Hands Magazine, Issue 4 | february 2015

Facing page and right: Front and back, a revelation (from

Some of her work is displayed in jars: “At first I showed the stitched work on the wall or hung in acrylic boxes,” she said. “However, when I experimented with putting them into jars in a row on a shelf, everything changed. These people no longer had a story, they no longer had any privacy, they were restricted, they had no autonomy, they were safely preserved on a shelf, going nowhere. So the work in the jars poses a question: is this what we are doing to the elderly, to the infirm?”. Her recent work focuses more on cheerful people – often wearing hats. “Really I am searching and experimenting as I want to do something different,” she says; “who knows what that will be.” Asked what else is included in her art practice, Georgie replied: “ I don’t know if you would include the weekly intergenerational Tea Dance I run as part of my art practice, but it certainly influences my work. It is attended by all age groups of people with a variety of problems but mainly the elderly often with mental health issues including dementia. [A film of the Tea Dance was first shown at the Wellcome Collection

Left: “These people were safely preserved on a shelf, going nowhere.” (As displayed at the Wellcome Collection, 2012)


Facing page: Recent work by Georgie.

in 2012.] I also make ‘things’ out of cane and tissue paper and found objects.” Georgie is not alone using stitch and fabric to depict elderly people. Other textile artists have portrayed older faces – Dierdre Sherer ( is one, Mary Pal (http:// is another – their work, like Georgie’s, raises the visibility of elderly people, shows individuality, and acknowledges lives that are still being lived. Twenty of Georgie Meadows’ “Stitched Drawings” were shown at the Wellcome Collection, London, in October-November 2012, and having toured to Bath, St Helier, and Doncaster are showing at Thackray Medical Museum, Beckett Street, Leeds LAS9 7LN, from 15 February to 25 July. Some of her works in jars will be on permanent display in the Wellcome’s Reading Room when it reopens in February 2015.

Above: Georgie’s reflective ‘looking’ is a way to avoid hasty assumptions and helps us get beyond categorizing; it encourages empathy and inclusion. (As displayed at the Wellcome Collection, 2012)

Georgie Meadows’ website: http://www. Tea Dance film, made by Barry Lewis: thursdayafternoons Wellcome Collection exhibition: georgie-meadows Thackray Medical Museum, Leeds: For more by Margaret Cooter:



Our take on the world famous ‘Desert Island Discs’. An artist, eight burning questions and one luxury item.

Desert Island Designs

Michala Gyetvai The bit of studio kit you couldn’t be without?

The studio kit I couldn’t be without is my sketch book; it’s a constant source of reference when I stitch or paint.

Studio soundtrack, who’s on the iPod?

The music I listen to while working is nearly always classical. In fact my recent work has been inspired by Edward Elgar’s Sea Pictures and Claude Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune. At the moment I’m listening to Maurice Ravel’s piano concerto in G, passionate music!

Art essential?

My art essential is definitely thread, I have a thread fetish !! I started collecting different types of threads as a child. They are a line waiting to be drawn, the creative potential is incredibly exciting!

What’s your favourite colour palette?

I don’t have a favourite colour palette as it’s always changing but I do find I start dressing in the colour combinations I’m working with!

Which artist, in a sinking ship full of artists, would you throw a lifeline to? I think it’s impossible for me to rescue just one artist so I have enough to fit into a small boat (I could fill the Queen Elizabeth


Through Our Hands Magazine, Issue 4 | february 2015

2nd with all the artists I admire). My choice is the English romantic painters Samuel Palmer, Ivon Hitchens and Paul Nash for their poetic landscapes. I would also squeeze in Henri Matisse for his brilliant use of colour and pattern and Frida Kahlo for her honest heartfelt paintings.

with my family and friends.

Most inspirational book, place or person?

Most inspirational place would be any rural landscape, woods, fields, hills and mountains.

What’s your proudest artistic moment?

My proudest artistic moment was opening my exhibition “Seas of Grass” at the Herbert Art Gallery in Coventry and sharing it

Name 4 famous people at any point in history that you’d like to invite to a dinner party. If I invited four famous people from history to a dinner party I would choose The Bronte Sisters, Emily and Charlotte, the composer Vaughn Williams and the artist Paul Nash. All of them took inspiration from a poetic English landscape, I’m sure I could talk to them for hours.

What does your studio look like?

I have just moved to a new studio in Coventry, which is an old agricultural building. It is perfect for storing my larger works. I’m sure this new environment will have an effect on my work; I have a lot of space to experiment with painting and stitching.

And of course, your luxury item? (This can be absolutely anything and unconnected with your work) Luxury item is a colourful silk scarf; I love them almost as much as I do threads!

Left: Michala’s studio space. Far left: Michala’s inspirational wall.


Affiliate artist

Clare Smith

vertical Performance dyeing Environmental concerns particularly the impact of garment dyeing in the textile industry has on local rivers fuels Clare Smith’s dramatic and highly charged works.

Text and images by Clare Smith

In 2012, I decided to spend a bit of time looking at where clothing fabrics are woven and dyed. A few Google searches later and I’d found incredible images of rivers running pink, turquoise and navy blue when dye from the textile industry is drained straight into them. One article said that you could predict the next season’s fashion colours by looking at rivers in China via GoogleEarth. I wanted to draw attention to dye pollution caused by the textile industry, but I didn’t want to put all the blame on developing countries. After all, we all like a bargain, and New Zealand no longer has much of a textile industry, so very nearly all our textiles are manufactured overseas. More research and I found that New Zealand isn’t so clean and green either. A river near where I live, used to be a different colour each day with

carpet wool dye and even caught fire for 24 hours, back in the 1970’s. Our rivers rarely change colour or catch fire these days but are still badly degraded due to run off from dairy farms and fertilizers. I wanted to make a connection between consumerism in New Zealand and destruction of the environment, ‘out of sight out of mind’, in developing countries such as China. For the first pieces in this series I chose to use the Willow Pattern plate shape and border patterns to frame ‘picture postcard’ images of New Zealand and make a link between consumerism in New Zealand and China, where our cheap textiles and clothing are manufactured. I made 5 white-on-white appliqued and machine embroidered cotton organdy wall-hangings, each 2.2metres long and 1.5 metres wide. They were a pristine white at the beginning but during the exhibition, dye was run down the face of the wall- hangings via wicks from the base of cups, which were held in racks above the hangings. The dye followed stitching lines and any double layers in the design. I started the dyes running at 10 am on a new wall-hanging each day. For the first 2 days there were very few visitors but news spread by word of mouth and people started visiting multiple times to

Left and facing page: Watermark, being dyed in the gallery.


Through Our Hands Magazine, Issue 4 | february 2015


Left: Bitter Harvest, Before shot of triptych of white wall-hangings. Facing page: After shot of multiple coloured triptych.

see what was happening. Some people just watched mesmerized as the dye slowly transformed the cloth. Visitors with an interest in science talked about chromatography and theorized about why some colours spread faster than others. You can see a very rough stop motion video of one of the hangings being dyed by going to http://www. The next piece was a triptych called ‘Bitter Harvest’ inspired by Korean pojagi. I started thinking about people eating food grown in dyed river water, so each panel is inspired by different field patterns as seen from Google Earth. Unfortunately, if I want to exhibit a piece more than once, I have to remake it each time, and some exhibitions refuse to allow the dye which does defeat the intent a bit (although I do understand their point of view, especially if they have carpet). I’m currently working on another pojagi style hanging for the Through Our Hands exhibition at Bilston, Wolverhampton in May/July 2015.

For more information about Clare’s work:


Through Our Hands Magazine, Issue 4 | february 2015

Show and tell Take a look at some of the wonderful work being made by readers of Through Our Hands Magazine

A little while ago we asked readers of our Facebook page if they would like to submit images of their work for a new Show and Tell section of the magazine. We were thrilled with the response and we had lots of fun sorting through the lovely images that swamped our inbox. Here’s just a few of them. Don’t forget, if you would like to see your work featured in the magazine, then all you have to do, is to send us 1 high resolution image (300dpi) together with a few details about the work: its title, size, and perhaps a brief explanation of the techniques you used or your inspiration. We can’t promise to publish everything, but we’ll do our best!

Above: Morag Lloyds, ‘In the Summertime’. My inspiration comes from many sources but mostly from nature and my travels around the western isles. In the past I have worked with antique textiles and I’m sure that has an influence too. I like to add an element of gentle humour to my work and I like to think my paintings make people smile.


Facing page: Holly McLean, ‘Birches and Rosehips’. I am always inspired by my trail walks and stands of birch trees are one of my favourite things. A few years ago I wrote an article for Quilting Arts Magazine on a process that I call Shibori painted trees. I used this process applied to a batik background for this piece. I built on that with fusible appliqué, confetti leaves and thread painting.

Through Our Hands Magazine, Issue 4 | february 2015

Above: Arthur Ridley, MA, ‘Treasures of the Sea’. When working on an exhibition piece I like to use several techniques. The background is always transfer printed. Then the middle ground and foreground are built up using several techniques including machine embellishing, free-motion embroidery, wiring and beading.


Above: Fiona Gill, ‘The Cat and the Comet’. A 6 foot long meadow complete with all the flowers one could wish for, sparkly stars, a comet and a semi hidden cat! It’s made completely from wet felted Merino wool which once dry I free motion machine embroider to give a fabulous texture and then finish with a little hand embroidery.

Left: Deborah Collum, ‘Amalthea’.One of the moons of Jupiter. Named after Zeus’ foster mother, the goddess of nurture. Collaged fabrics layered and machine and hand embroidered. DeborahCollumLoveArt DeborahCollumLoveArt


Through Our Hands Magazine, Issue 4 | february 2015

Right: BJ Reed, ‘Not Everything is Black and white #1’. Machine pieced; Black and White Shiva Paintstik rubbing; free motion quilting. My inspiration came while caring for my Mother during her last years of life, specifically, I found end-of-life decisions to be complex..not black or white.

Left: Cas Holmes, ‘Bird Song 2’, 48x40cm One from a series of works made with donated materials (given whilst travelling) and inspire by things observed within 40 Yards of my house.


Left: Ellen Lindner, ‘Carefree’, 51”h x 33.5”w. This quilt started with a favorite family photo showing my son and two cousins skipping along a farm road. Using my computer, I made the photo more impressionistic and then had it printed to fabric. Wanting to give the people more interest, I decided to create them with fabric collage. Following the fabric image, I identifed shapes, cut them from fabric, and glued them in place. Quilting secured all the pieces and added texture. The background is one large digital print that’s been quilted. Gallery.html

Below: Amy Rubin, ‘Yellow Fields Forever’, 6”x10”. This image is of a rapeseed field outside of Cambridge, England. It is a photo printed on silk, free motion machine stitched. The bottom third is machine felted yarns and scrim and appliquéd fabric scraps.

Above: Joy Harvey, ‘Household Prayer Mat’. Respecting the prayer mat as tool for contemplation and sourced from a hoard of my family’s discarded jeans over 20 years, this piece honours the sanctity of home & the family that makes it. Jeans were created to be hard wearing, last a lifetime and protect the wearer they clothed. Ideally, the family is like that too. I pray, that my home is a sacred space where each family member can be truly themselves; accepted, respected and heard. Where each is recognised as a unique ‘home’ to a complex combination of relationships, thoughts and experiences. 57

Through Our Hands Magazine, Issue 4 | february 2015

Above: Boisali Biswas, ‘Dreamtime’,detail. Screen-printed, dyed, pieced, embellished, quilted, 84” x 37” A permanent collection of St. Josephs Hospital, Ann Arbor, MI.

coming soon!

The Registry Become part of the Through Our Hands community and showcase your work alongside that of our Affiliate Artists.

Membership to the Through Our Hands Registry offers emerging and established artists the opportunity to display an online portfolio of work on the Through Our Hands website. Show your latest work, include a profile photo, biography and artist’s statement, plus links to your own website or social media pages. You can sell work from your page, and list small works, cards and books in the Through Our Hands online shop. We take a small commission of 10%. Sign up for The Registry and you’ll also receive free PDF copies of the Through Our Hands Magazine emailed directly to your inbox as soon as it’s published. Find out more in the next issue of Through Our Hands Magazine, or sign up for our newsletter at to be kept updated by email.


, what’s on? Midsomer Quilting is pleased to host ‘Here and Far’, a solo exhibition of work by Claire Passmore. Please join us on Friday May 1st, from 10 am, for the exhibition opening and to meet the artist. In the exhibition, Claire presents two of her most recent series of art quilts that have been inspired by her twin homes, both here in Wiltshire and far away in South Africa. Over 30 quilts will be on display. Ancestral Gifts - Kaffe Fassett 15th May - 5th September 2015

Gordano Textiles - Fabric of Nature

The Quilt Museum and Gallery

Venue : Nature in Art, Wallsworth Hall, Sandhurst Lane, Sandhurst, Gloucester, GL2 9PA An exhibition of work from thirteen Gordano Textile Artists representing the diversity of both the natural world and of contemporary textile art. Dates: 31st March – 12th April 2015 Opening times 10am -5pm Admission charge for Nature in Art Tel : 01452 731422 Demonstrations – for details please check Nature in Art website Café for light lunches and refreshments Accessible for all


York 15 heritage quilts personally selected from The Quilters’ Guild Collection by Kaffe Fassett, alongside 15 new quilts designed by Kaffe and created in response to these significant pieces.

Claire’s distinctive style portrays events and scenery from her continually changing surroundings. As she travels she records her observations in sketchbooks, gathering together potential ideas and then uses them to inspire her quilts. The exhibition also includes a selection of these sketchbooks. Claire is also publishing a book, ‘Quilting Originals’ to coincide with the exhibition. In it she shares the ideas and strategies she uses when making her quilts in the hope that she will inspire others to create their own original work. ‘Here and Far’ Claire Passmore 1st -11th May 2015 Midsomer Quilting Bath

Through Our Hands Magazine, Issue 4 | february 2015

Exeter Spring Quilt Festival 2015 (Grosvenor Shows) Friday 27th to Sunday 29th March.

“Mapping Earth”, display of 12 map quilts by Alicia Merrett. Westpoint Exhibition Centre, Exeter, Devon, EX5 1DJ. Open 10 am - 4.30 pm (4 pm on Sunday).

Are you organising an event or exhibition? Let us know all about it and we’ll list it in the next isssue of Through Our Hands. All listings will also be posted on the Through Our Hands website for maximum exposure!



Pincushion hearts I’ve recently returned from a Pin Cushion Heart making course at Heartspace Studios, a workshop centre for all things textiles in Bristol, after seeing some of these objects dating back to the Victorian era for the first time last year. Two of which were in Tate Britain’s and Compton Verney’s recent exhibitions on Folk Art. I find pin cushion hearts both attractive with their heavily beaded patterning and slightly grotesque, mainly because they have often ‘weathered’ over time and become stained or dirty. Making one myself seemed a good way to understand the significance and possible roles of these double-edged objects, and so to appreciate them more. The cushions are stuffed with either sawdust or sand, which, if not machine-made, involves quite a lot of force and patience. I added lavender to my sawdust, which could be smelt every time I pushed a pin into the cushion during the decorating stage. It takes a lot of sawdust to make the cushion firm and full, and because it compacts, it takes a lot more than you think you need. The sawdust is stuffed through a long slit down the centre front of the heart. When the heart is sufficiently sturdy and can withstand the pressure of pins (a floppy cushion will result in the pins falling out), it can be sewn up with diagonal stitches that crosshatch each other. This ends up looking like a harrowing scar down the heart’s middle. So although the hearts feel strong, there is a sense of fragility and even violence at their centre. Over the top of the stuffed heart, top fabrics are added separately to both the back and front. The back is normally sewn on first. Once completed, there is no more hand sewing required. However, many Victorian pin heart cushions were made using machine-made hearts. This was popular with

Fascinated by antique folk art objects, pincushion hearts, Helen Cobby was keen to find out more by making her own version. tailors working on ships. The pin cushion hearts in Tate Britain’s Folk Art exhibition were each made by sailors. Victorian sailors and soldiers often made pin cushion hearts. They were considered to be objects that could ward off evil and neutralise threatening forces harnessed by witches. Indeed, in general, pinned objects have a history within Europe of being talismanic and protective: The pin penetrates and traps. Such a power could have resulted from the fact that pins were precious in the Victorian period, and were used before the invention of buttons to hold things together. Paper signs or ribbons with inscribed sayings were popular embellishments for the decorative centerpieces of the hearts. Many also contained images of ships. Janet Haigh, founder of Heartspace Studios, is certain that these sayings and signs were in circulation elsewhere within popular culture. It would be interesting to find out more about this and pin cushion hearts more generally. No book is yet solely devoted to their history. Pin cushion hearts were originally birth and Christening presents, and later also wedding gifts. “Welcome, sweet babe”, was a common saying to be beaded onto the cushions. I chose not to add an inscription to my pin heart cushion, focusing instead on colourful patterns. Even without a saying, they can still feel like personal objects, intimately made for someone, or with someone in mind.

Text and images by Helen Cobby


Through Our Hands Magazine, Issue 4 | february 2015 Twitter: @HelenCobby



travelling inspiration dijanne cevaal Dijanne Cevaal completes her trilogy of articles with the final instalment exploring the rich inspiration to be found in Italy.

Text and images by Dijanne Cevaal


Recently when I was teaching at Cucilandia Bologna, I had a few days to spare before teaching in Oderzo. In the past I had always rushed to Venice to enjoy the sights and delights of this city, but as I was in Italy in May I was in no mood for the hordes of tourists that visit Venice at this time of year. I decided to spend a few days in Bologna, and I am so glad I did. The old city of itself is nice enough with covered walkways dating from the eighteenth century and some renaissance towers and castles, but the real treasure was in the Pinocoteca, the art gallery devoted to mostly Bolgonese

art from various periods. To discover a corridor and rooms full of medieval religious art was a revelation. I was the only person there apart from a youngish Italian man, and we had to stop and talk to each other despite my bad Italian because to be so close to these wonders without other tourists, to stand in front of a Giotto without another soul - was simply magical - one of those moments that make all the bad train stations, non -descript shopping centres all sporting the same brand, the 24 hours of travel melt away. I think he felt the same way as he articulated the word marveloso

Through Our Hands Magazine, Issue 4 | february 2015

Above: ‘Madonna col Bambino’, Simone di Fillippo detto dei Crocefissi ,circa 1378/1380 Facing page: ‘Pollittico’ ,Simone di Fillippo detto dei Crocefissi, circa 1385/1390


Above: ‘Sant’ Elena in Adorazione della croce ed una Monaca’, Simone di Fillippo detto dei Crocefissi ,circa 1375/1380


Through Our Hands Magazine, Issue 4 | february 2015

and as I continued to wend my way around these treasures, the word marveloso fluttered through my head. Marveloso, those beautifully painted figures - the cloth richly represented, the gold leaf floating in the background space, the Madonnas looking out into the world more demurely than the gothic queens, when did that gaze change? And why did it change? It seems to have occurred sometime in the late Middle Ages into the early Renaissance, and I am entranced by the Madonnas that look straight out into the world. I know somehow they will emerge in my work in another way - as they have been a preoccupation for quite some years‌ but I have not yet begun - they need further investigation!

For more about Dijanne Cevaal: www.oridiji.

Above: And of course the incomparable Giotto said by some to be the father of the Renaissance.



gordano textile artists working together


Through Our Hands Magazine, Issue 4 | february 2015

Making art can be a lonely business, so many artists form groups for mutual support and to share the costs of exhibiting.

Text and images by Gordano Textiles

Gordano Textile Artists was formed in 1995 when Deryll Hibbitt, Verna Crowhurst and Sally Sparks completed their City and Guilds Part 2 course in embroidery and wanted to continue meeting and showing their work together. The group size has varied over the years with new members joining by invitation, and all members have studied with City and Guilds or hold higher qualifications. As membership has changed, so has the type of work being produced and we now have thirteen artists who embroider by hand, free machining, computerised machine, create mixed media pieces, make felt, quilt, and weave. We continue to exhibit in and around the Bristol area once or twice a year. Every group needs to have a purpose, a reason to exist and be more than a casual social club. Our aims are to promote stitched textiles as a valid and recognised art form, to keep alive the long tradition of embroidery and to provide mutual support and inspiration to each other. The group meets for one day a month and the morning is given over to sharing creative contributions with business after lunch. We show and discuss our current work, plans for future pieces and bring in anything we find inspiring - for example books, magazines, exhibition catalogues. We offer criticism of each other’s pieces, what works and what doesn’t, and as a group discuss presentation. We are almost always preparing for the next exhibition and with thirteen individualistic and opinionated artists in a single space, we need to ensure that the framing or mounting has some consistency. One black frame when everyone else has used pale wood can cause a headache for the hanging team. We also have to be aware of the relative sizes of each other’s pieces and how they will fill the space available. Our next exhibition is at Nature in Art in Twigworth near

Gloucester, so we are focusing on nature as a theme and each artist is interpreting it in her own way. GTA members often find inspiration from their travels and Sally Sparks revisited her many sketchbooks and memories of travelling down the Mekong and Irrawaddy. She has used her sketches directly by printing the pages onto fabric and adding areas of stitching. Viv Young is using her collection of photographs of the sea as a colour source to choose fabric and threads to ‘paint’ a scene. Studying the photographs in detail on a computer screen can reveal surprising colours and combinations as the appearance of the sea changes with the weather, the time of day and the seasons. The sea is also reflected in Marilyn Burton’s work, interpreting the colours and texture she sees into her woven wall hangings, using hand dyed mercerised cotton yarns and rep weave. From the sea to the coast with Jenn Hutchins and Ira Wood. Jenn’s photographs and sketchbook of a recent trip to the coast awakened a desire in her to explore a new theme, observing textures and patterns. She uses the photographs themselves together with hand dyed fabrics, paper and stitch to capture nature’s essence. Ira too enjoys the coast, but for her it is the



Through Our Hands Magazine, Issue 4 | february 2014

rocky seashore that appeals. She explores rock pools and watches the waves crash on the beach, drawing and painting the abstract designs to be found in the cliffs and rock faces. Moving into the landscape, we find Deryll Hibbitt drawing on memories that have waited as pictures in her mind until the time was right for her to recreate the feeling of peace and solitude they gave her. Her method of working tunes in with this feeling as she gradually builds up pieces of natural fabrics with paint and stitch. Colour, texture, pattern and form in nature influence Patricia Brownen’s painting and textile work which she translates into ‘Art to Wear’ in the form of accessories worn around the neck. Liz Hewitt is at home amongst the warm glow of trees. Memories of walks through an autumnal wood, walking through piles of crisp golden leaves, covering the earth like a comforting blanket inspire her to capture a moment in time with stitch and cloth, eco-dyed with leaves collected on her walks. Other members are inspired by the beauty of living things. Debby Bird’s recent work explores iridescence in nature, butterfly wings, dragonfly bodies and beetle backs. She uses mixed media including iridescent fibres to create the jewel like colours of some of nature’s most fascinating creatures. Kirsten Hill-Nixon has been creating fantastical mixed media insects as well as more naturalistic needle felted 3D models of British garden birds. A more dramatic bird, the cockerel, has been the subject for Sue Haysom’s work. Using strips of silk fabric and an embellisher, she has simulated the beautiful shimmer and texture of this colourful bird’s feathers. Jane O’Leary revisits the classic theme of embroidered flowers but with a contemporary approach. She is interested in exploring the use of a computerised embroidery machine as a form of printmaking, substituting thread for paint. Taking a different approach, the seeds for the idea for Carol Clark’s latest work ‘LUCA – An Evolutionary Echo’ were sewn in 2013, the 60th anniversary of the discovery of DNA. Machine appliqué and hand stitching represent the strand of DNA found in every single living thing and examples of many different types of life on Earth. Working together, we can represent some of the diversity both of the natural world and of contemporary textile art.

Find Gordano Textiles website at And follow our blog at gordanotextileartists.blogspot.


Jennifer Moss 11 Knightcote Drive, Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, UK 07877 402455

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