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linda seward talks to Marie bergstedt

Genevieve Attinger Agnes Martin Michala Gyetvai Pauline Burbidge and more...

issue 6 August 2015


Cover Cover: Genevieve Attinger, La Rumeur. @throughourhands

Through Our Hands ‘the magazine’ Established 2014. Editors: Laura Kemshall, Linda Kemshall, Annabel Rainbow Design: Laura Kemshall Submissions and advertising enquiries: Issue 6 Published by Through Our Hands, August 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). 11 Knightcote Drive, Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire

Contributing authors Annabel Rainbow Laura Rainbow Laura Kemshall Linda Seward Terry Grant Genevieve Attinger (kindly translated by Maureen Shenton)

Anne Williams Ágnes Herczeg Susan Lenz Pauline Burbidge Michala Gyetvai Marie Bergstedt

throughourhands. 07877 402455

Find out more about our contributors on the website:

In this issue... Welcome 4 Genevieve Attinger: Le Temps de Progresser 5 Michala Gyetvai: Indian Travels 11 Interview: Linda Seward poses the questions to Marie Bergstedt 17 In Quest of Beauty: The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum 25 Terry Grant: Old Dog, New Tricks 35 Through Our Hands: Maker, Making, Made 39 Ă gnes Herczeg 45 Love is Enough: William Morris and Andy Warhol 51 Desert Island Designs - Susan Lenz 57 Agnes Martin 59 Pauline Burbidge 67

Love is 51 Enough: william morris and andy warhol

59 Agnes Martin

linda seward interviews:


Marie Bergstedt

4 genevieve attinger



Michala Gyetvai

Pauline Burbidge

45 Ă gnes herczeg


Through Our Hands Magazine, Issue 6 | august 2015

Welcome Once again, a lovely warm welcome to the latest huge edition of the Through Our Hands magazine, which we’re delighted to announce is free to read online, in its entirety, once again! Gosh, the last three months have been a very busy time indeed for Through Our Hands and all its wonderful artists. You’d think that one major exhibition a year would be enough for everyone, but no! Not only were we thrilled by the beautiful exhibition at Bilston, but a few days after that finished, the artists managed to fill yet another large gallery at Festival Of Quilts in Birmingham, with completely new and stunning work. For those who couldn’t make it to the Festival of Quilts, Laura took some wonderful images and you’ll find her report on page 39. We were also absolutely delighted to be able to launch the new Through Our Hands book at Festival. It’s a Portfolio of the work from all 27 Affiliate Artists, with a fabulous foreword by the well-known Maggie Grey. Its 84 A4 sized pages are packed with wonderful colour images, and is now available to buy online in the TOH online gallery shop for £10 plus a bit for p&p. We’re very happy to ship around the world! Back to the magazine! This edition is filled with articles from your favourite writers – Linda Seward and Terry Grant, but we’re also delighted to introduce the well-known editor and writer, Anne Williams who will be familiar to you from The Quilter, Popular Patchwork, and Fabrications. She’s been visiting Tate Modern and has written a piece for us investigating the work of Agnes Martin. Other visits for the summer include a trip to Birmingham for the Love Is Enough exhibition at Birmingham Art Gallery and Museum, and a look at the work of Mucha in The Quest For Beauty exhibition at The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum. We take a closer look at the work of Agnes Herczeg, and Genevieve Attinger, and we also look in detail at Pauline Burbidge’s new work and upcoming exhibition, Quiltscapes & Quiltline, which will be at The Bowes Museum from November.

Annabel Rainbow

Laura Kemshall

Finally our Desert Island Designs star is Susan Lenz who shares with us some of her secrets and shows us her studio. We hope you’ll enjoy reading the magazine online, but don’t forget, you can download the pdf version for £3, and read it offline on your computer or Kindle. Just visit our website to purchase this issue and any others from the back catalogue. Love, Annabel, Linda and Laura

Linda Kemshall


Affiliate Artist

We are delighted that Genevieve Attinger is now represented by Through Our Hands as an Affiliate Artist. Here she tells us more about her work.

Text and image by Genevieve Attinger Translated by Maureen Shenton

Facing Page: Outre Pudeur, 2006 Below:Le Cauchemar de l‘Eau - La Quête, 2012

Genevieve Attinger

Le Temps de Progresser

When you have no artistic training, because that’s what life has dictated, it takes time to become some form of artist, a good thirty years or thereabouts! Time to get going, to discover techniques, to try things out, to make mistakes. Equally you must avoid copying, you must want, right from the start, to stay off the routine path in order to be

different, to develop a personal style and perhaps, finally, you must have ‘stuff’, ideas and intentions to express. If I wind back the thread of time, it’s obvious that I have always loved manipulating, shaping whatever the material happened to be, clay, fabric, I even carved candles. But I didn’t even think that artistic studies could be an option, so I stayed on the road traced by my interest in the sciences and I began, after my studies, a career as an agricultural engineer. Then I married, I moved house and found a position as a part-time teacher. About 30 years ago, with just one child and some free time, I read a French magazine called ‘One Hundred Ideas’ which featured projects, crafts to do. For the first time, in this magazine, I discovered a quilt, the seed was sown and allowed to grow; then I made my own designs based on geometric shapes. I like the mathematical and yet creative aspect of these creations. I used few colours and values and soon felt limited in my


Through Our Hands Magazine, Issue 6 | august 2015

capacity of expression, but I did my groundwork and, most importantly, I learnt the rules. I did only two patchwork courses, one with Linda Kemshall during the Quilt Expo Europa V (Lyon, 1996) and I read. The first book I bought was ‘Quiltmaking in Patchwork and Appliqué’ by Michele Walker

and particularly loved Chapter 2: Designing, which showed how it’s possible to create movement by altering the basic grid of the design; but also ‘The Art of Colour’ by Johannes Itten to understand the relationship between colours, values, different types of contrast. Other books followed on the works and


Facing Page: Double Take, 2014


Through Our Hands Magazine, Issue 6 | august 2015

techniques of Pauline Burbidge, Jean Ray Laury, Ann Johnston, Kate Pasquini Masopust, etc. but it was the evening classes in sculpture and graphic expression that totally changed my work. They were vital to the self-taught artist that I was! Other education completed my training: bobbin lacemaking and basket weaving for example. You must try other techniques, work with other materials; you can then draw on this diversity of knowledge to create a really personal piece of work. Without forgetting of course museum visits, exhibitions of a whole range of different arts. From then on, at last, I became free! Freedom to transgress the rules learnt, fully knowing why, freedom to disobey but also freedom supported by my whole family (three daughters and a husband, also very creative, who accept to live amidst the disarray of fabric, thread and other materials) and a part-time job. To have two facets, a biology teacher and an artist, is very positive: my artistic creativity fed my work as

a teacher and my profession as a teacher enriched my artistic expression. From the start of the 1990s I took part in competitions to enter French or international exhibitions leading to refusals which create doubt, acceptances which motivate. In an exhibition, the view of the spectator, friendly or critical, is what gives life to the work (I have a lot of difficulty in using the term ‘work of art’ when referring to my achievements). Step by step, slowly due to lack of time, I built my artistic personality; once and for all I am a storyteller, that’s why my

work is figurative, narrative; thread and fabric are my mode of expression. Perhaps due to my lack of formal training, I have a greater understanding of figurative rather than abstract works of art and amongst my favourite artists are El Greco, the luminosity of his colours, the modernity of his drawing, the atmosphere he creates, Edward Hopper who opens up an infinity from the representation of an instant, Ernest Pignon-Ernest who works with urban art, drawing on history, on the memories of a place but also on light and space. Twenty years ago I discovered


still life, then came the desire to turn to characters and portraits, (I was particularly drawn to the work of Deirdre Scherer), because the story to tell is more alive. There is a work of art which has a story, in one sense anecdotal but, however, essential in the evolution of my work. It is called ‘2000 and so what!’ It represents a bathroom, a mirror is up on the wall and in this mirror is seen the reflection of my face! It is the first face that I did from a self-portrait that I drew. And it is the back of this self-portrait which lead me to discover and understand the technique that I should use in free machine embroidery. Pure chance is responsible: I was unhappy with the result, this embroidered portrait looked like a bad caricature; disappointed, angry I put it the wrong way up on my work table and there I saw the design created by the three values (dark, medium and light) of the bobbin thread that I had used in the embroidery. I understood that for the embroidery of my faces it is not worth having a big choice of colours of fabric and thread; 5 values maximum for the textile base of the portrait and 3 or 4 values of thread for the detail of the design. The right side of this piece was very ugly, too busy, so I used the wrong side! If I hadn’t become aware of what it revealed to me, I would have perhaps continued to do faces but they would always have been horrible caricatures! One must always keep an open mind!

battles or other aspects. Why particularly women? My expression is closely tied to what I feel, think, see, know; from little girl to woman I am on the female side and what’s more, I have given birth to three girls, masculinity is more foreign to me, I only perceive it from the outside! In my work I just want to create a link between myself, the story I am telling, the sentiments I am feeling and the spectator, the story they see, the sentiments they feel. It doesn’t matter if my story is badly interpreted, the main thing is that I touch this spectator. Nevertheless, I do guide their interpretation by the titles I give to my works.

For the characters, I feature my daughters but also unknown people from photos I take, faces found in magazines and I put them into a scene, which changes from the original and allows me to express what I want to say. I am inspired by an image, by a text which by their own power of suggestion are the origin at times of feelings, soft and serene. I am sensitive to the representation of the curves of the feminine body, to the image of the ideal or idealised woman. But I am also inspired by reports, debates on television on current problems: the place, the condition of women, against man, in society, their questions, their joys, their sorrows, their doubts, their Right: La Chemise Fantasmée, 1999.


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The techniques I use for the individuals are simple - piecing, appliqué and above all free machine embroidery, so it’s sufficient to have a machine which is capable of straight stitch, zig-zag and darning stitch but solid enough to withstand the hard work to which I subject it. This machine is vital for me, it’s my third hand. For the setting up I use the method which I think best suits the project. At times it’s planned from the start, at other times it becomes apparent during the making process. My initial sketch at times evolves far from what I originally planned. For about ten years I’ve liked using textiles with a history, a memory - sheets or old clothes made of linen, cotton, hemp; I find them in flea markets, thrift shops; then I dye them or discharge them, print them and above all manipulate them, mistreat them and transform them: I make holes in them, I knot them, I pull threads to alter the weave; they are at one and the same time the object and the subject of the work. Their past life and the current realisation of which they are the basic ingredient are now closely linked. I like the idea of linking and transition. At this moment in time cotton jersey is taking a more and

more important role. It deforms, is manipulable, malleable. I am waiting to see if it’s going to lead me somewhere. When I work on a piece, other ‘possibles’ make an appearance and this continuing emergence is at the origin of the evolution of my achievements. Next October I’ll be taking my retirement from teaching then I hope to have more time to delve deeper, to further enrich my textile work which is my breath!

Above: La Discrète, 2014

For more about Genevieve:



Michala Gyetvai explores colour, pattern and printmaking in India.

Text and images by Michala Gyetvai

Michala Gyetvai

Indian travels

It was a very lucky Friday 13th of February for me when I arrived in India to spend two sun filled weeks with my sister Nicola, and her family in Bangalore. They travelled from Warwickshire in the UK on their adventure two years ago. My sister had organised a hectic itinerary for me so I could share as much of India as possible during my short stay. On my first morning I learnt about the fascinating art of Indian block printing under the shade of mango trees, with Poonam in Whitefield’s, on the Nallur Halli main road in Bangalore. We printed intricate repeating designs with hand carved wooden blocks onto white cotton. The following day we walked under glades of patterned palm trees in a gated community called Palm Meadows, then through the chaos of the city where there were small multi-coloured painted villages. Animals such as cows, goats and dogs, wondered freely amongst buildings, temples and swarming traffic; they seemed so in tune with the bustling life as they weaved alongside man

amongst the tirade of vehicles. The intensity of colour is intoxicating and exhilarating, everywhere I turned colour and pattern overwhelmed me. I was amazed by the fruits, vegetables and flowers piled high on rickety wooden carts by the side of the red and very dusty roads. I stopped and admired decorative petals and flowers arranged artfully, floating in water bowls; the multicoloured chalk patterns drawn on the pavements; the wonderful kaleidoscope of colourful clothing, saris and textiles. After a few days spent in Bangalore I had a surprise journey to Rajasthan to visit the ‘Pink city’ Jaipur and then a five hour drive to the ‘Blue city’ of Jodhpur. In Jaipur we visited the stunning Amer Fort a short tuk-tuk ride from the city centre. En route you could see a serene floating palace on a large lake where you could stop and take photos, and we rode on the back of colourfully painted elephants right up to the gates of the Amer fort. This impressive building is covered in intricate paintings and glass mosaics. Our

Facing page: Michala sitting on the steps of the Fort at Jodhpur


Through Our Hands Magazine, Issue 6 | august 2015


This page, clockwise: Carved wooden print blocks that Michala used during the print session in Bangalore. Trimmings on sale in Bangalore. Folk art painting and floral display. Facing page: Trimmings and ribbons on sale in Bangalore.

driver took us to a spectacular white marble temple with ornate carvings; an abundance of wild life greeted us, hundreds of wild monkeys leaping along the walls of the ancient monuments. The next day we drove from Jaipur to Jodhpur, which although a long journey, was fascinating because of the changing landscape, the small towns we passed through and the cows and camels in the middle of the road! We stayed in the small village of Chandelao in the elegant 18th century Rajput style hotel Chandelao Garh. We watched wild peacocks and flocks of squawking, emerald green parrots on the roof top terrace as the sun went down. In the village we bought handicrafts made by the women to help support a project called Sundar Rang, created to help support the local craft skills and develop high quality products with unique Rajasthan designs, thus creating a sustainable source of income for the women in


Through Our Hands Magazine, Issue 6 | august 2015



Through Our Hands Magazine, Issue 6 | august 2015

Chandelao village. The women took great pride in showing us how they stitched the many different textile goods. In the morning we left and drove on, visiting the imposing Merangarh Fort perched high above a wave of blue and turquoise painted buildings; the city of Jodhpur. It was a fantastic experience to see the fort houses, the exquisite paintings, textiles, sculpture, glass and mosaics. The architecture is spectacular, as are the walled gardens, with many different exotic plants and trees. Our last day in Rajasthan was spent in the desert, riding camels and sleeping in Arabian style tents. The state flower of Rajasthan is the orange Roheda, a blossom tree, growing in profusion in the dry soil of this desert region; I made sketches and took photos of this remarkable tree. My last week in India was spent in Bangalore. I enjoyed visiting Lal Bagh Botanical Gardens, taking photographs of the remarkable two hundred year old White Silk Cotton tree. Apparently silk cotton sticks are obtained from the fruits and can be used in the making of pillows and beds. It was also essential for me to visit Commercial Street, to find the fabric and trimming shops, which were all clustered together. I have never seen such a great variety of ribbons, lace, sequins and threads.

Above: The Water Palace in Jaipur Facing page top: Colour coordinated washing Facing page below: A Garden in India, Michala Gyetvai, pastel on paper, 2015

I know my memories of India will be long lasting. It assaulted all of my senses, and I witnessed the extremes of everyday life, from the medieval to the high-tech. My sister and her family return to the UK this summer, but I feel so grateful that I managed to visit and to enjoy just a small part of India. The experience has inspired many of my new paintings and drawings which have of course started to develop into new textile works.

For more information about Michala’s work:

I will be exhibiting some of this new work in London for the first time, with a gallery at The Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace in October, which will then travel to Dublin and Harrogate in November.



Best-selling author Linda Seward continues her interview series. In this issue she talks to Marie Bergstedt about her elaborate and unusual work.

Text by Linda Seward Images by Marie Bergsted

Marie Bergstedt I discovered Marie Bergstedt’s art while researching the surface design chapter for my latest book. Amazed by the complexity and realism of her work, it was only when I delved further that I learned about the poignant stories behind her pieces. Marie spent 15 years moving between a foster home and her birth mother, resulting in a

Below: Flyer, Marie Bergstedt, mixed media sculpture, 56cmH x 91cmW x 51cmD, 2012 Facing page: Victoria Red, Marie Bergstedt, mixed media wall relief, 114cmH x 61cmW x 6cmD, 2014


fractured childhood. When quite young, she dealt with the hard times by crocheting and knitting. As she matured, she went on to study a broad range of traditional art techniques, including painting and photography. Marie worked for 25 years as a fund development professional, saving her money so she could eventually support herself as an artist, and in 2006, she fullfilled her wish, becoming a full-time artist. Marie’s art mainly explores

Through Our Hands Magazine, Issue 6 | august 2015



Through Our Hands Magazine, Issue 6 | august 2015

current significant experiences as well as visual reconstructions of intense childhood memories. Embroidery, crochet, knitting and other methods are employed to create sculptural images composed of antique objects as well as new fibres, wire and button work. Her hope is that viewers will connect her work with their own experiences of overcoming hardship. Marie’s art has appeared in more than 90 exhibitions in the past 10 years and she has received many awards. Linda: Tell us about where you live and work. Marie: I have owned a home in San Francisco, California, for more than 35 years. However the conceptual base of my artwork was most imprinted by my first 17 years, when I was growing up in and around Kalamazoo, Michigan. I have lived in a number of homes over the years, including three in the Chicago area and two in Ohio. I then worked in New Mexico, Santa Barbara, and San Jose, before returning to San Francisco in 2005 as I was cutting my development work hours and transitioning into full time art practice. L: How would you describe your art style? M: I do not think of myself strictly as a textile artist. I use many fiber and textile techniques,

but I draw heavily on the broad base of traditional art mediums I have studied over a lifetime. I use textile techniques because I believe they best express the tales I am telling through my artwork. I also believe that the extensive use of my hands is the best way to relate my stories.

Top: Come, Freddie, Marie Bergstedt, mixed media wall relief, 132cmH x 41cmW x 2.5cmD, 2014 Facing page: Kate, Marie Bergstedt, detail, mixed media wall relief, 150cmH x 56cmW x 6.4cmD, 2013

L: Is there a reason for your focus on heavy embellishments?


M: I have had a hard time with this question because of the definition of embellishment. The dictionary I consulted for embellish says: 1. To make beautiful as by ornamentation; adorn. 2. To add fanciful or ornamental details to. I use the materials I think best express the stories I am telling. I grew up in an atmosphere where lots of information was covered up. I was not allowed to speak about home life. I was often dressed up in a fancy outer layer and posed before a camera with threats to smile and look good‌ or else. I use materials in the same way those pretenses occurred in my childhood: dressing over the real story with a beautiful appearance. Buttons are used to reveal people and stories that have not been told earlier or were ‘buttoned up’. Fancy new or antique lace represents either a story that was dressed up or the importance of a story coming through the hands of history. Most of the time I have been addressing untold tales of when I was a child, but health issues and people of great strength whom I admire, as well as more current family episodes are also included. L: Do you consider yourself to be a surface designer? M: I appreciate and value the many wonderful textile artists whose work is about design and beauty, but my work is not meant


Above: Mikey of Mallory, Marie Bergstedt, mixed media wall relief, 122cmH x 61cmW x 6cmD, 2012 Facing page: detail of above.

to be understood as surface design. It is about what lies below the surface. Even when I was working in large-scale hand colored photography in the late 1970s and early 80s, I was asked why my artwork was so beautiful when it was about very sad or ugly subjects. I have never intentionally

set this up. Beautiful media is just, to me, the best way to get to the core of my subject matter and concept. L: What do you hope viewers will feel about your work? M: It takes some effort for a

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person to fully understand my work. However, I love it when viewers find their own interpretations. Many people laugh out loud, get angry or think I am just having fun doing handwork. Others are just confused by what they see. All of this is great. I want viewers to get involved. If they see a conflict between the visual materials and the subject, they are getting down to the questions I hope they will address. L: Where do you get your inspiration? M: My family and people with whom I have had close or meaningful encounters inspire my work. Usually I am most inspired to create work about prickly situations. Although I have many lovely experiences, they don’t require me to work them out. In a majority of cases, I use art to work out what troubles me. L: Do you have a preference for certain materials? M: I do not always use the same materials. Recently I used embroidery on non-woven interfacing for four pieces because I thought it provided a better expression for what I wanted to say. But just as important is the fact that my hands and body need some variety in movement to minimize the threat of repetitive motion injuries. My work really is a fusion of found objects, buttons,


Above: Type, Marie Bergstedt, mixed media sculpture, 84cmH x 51cmW x 37cmD, 2011-2012

threads, fabric, antique handwork, needlepoint canvas, wire, hand and machine stitching, crochet, and knitting to tell stories. L: Many of your pieces are quite lifelike; how do you achieve that

realism? M: A few times, I have produced a piece that is closely based on a photograph from the past. Often I collage photographs to get an image that I can reference while

Through Our Hands Magazine, Issue 6 | august 2015

I work out the appearance of a piece. I have four mannequins and several other still-life type objects to help me with proportions. Two mannequins are of children, with moveable joints so I can arrange the bodies as I wish in the artwork. I also use web searches to find images of body parts, gestures or objects I may wish to include.

techniques with gel medium, fabrics, Pellon and gut. I engage engineering skills to address the physical realities of keeping my sculptures stable and durable, while maintaining the more fragile qualities of fibre.

L: What are some of the techniques that you use in your work?

M: There is no set way that I decide to create a project and it is definitely not the same for every project. Sometimes ideas just come from memories that are stirred up by something current that happens. At other times, while I am watching people, I observe relationships that conflict with what appears to be obvious. Or, there may just be an issue on my mind…

M: I create sculptural wire forms under many of my pieces. I paint with actual paint and with threads and buttons. I use papier mâché

L: How do you start a project? Is it the same for every piece?

Sometimes an artwork comes out of my imagination. An example of that is a sculpture titled “Flyer” about my brother Mikey as a child (see page 17).

When he saw the sculpture he immediately understood the story, recognized why he was dressed as he was and what he was doing, even though no actual story or occasion like that ever happened. (NB. Mikey lived as a street musician in Key West, Florida, for eleven years. In 2012 they reunited while Marie was a resident artist at The Studios of Key West, having not seen each other for 35 years. He is now back in Key West, earning money playing a harmonica on the street.) Right now, I am working on two pieces at once, with different approaches. It gives me lots of time to think about the one still in the draught mode while I work on the stitching required for the other, at a more-advanced stage. I pretty much always have artwork in some state of development.

Left: Float, Marie Bergstedt, mixed media wall relief, detail, 96cmH x 58.5cmW x 7.6cmD, 2014

For more information about Marie’s work: And for more about Linda Seward:


In Quest of Beauty The russell-cotes museum


Continuing our tour of the country’s galleries, Laura Rainbow visits the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum in Bournemouth, and speaks to curator Duncan Walker about his favourite pieces in the collection. Text by Laura Rainbow Images courtesy of The RussellCotes Art Gallery & Museum unless otherwise credited.

For many years I had it in mind that some day I would build a house after my own heart as an offering of “love and affection” to my wife.’

Merton Russell-Cotes in his autobiography Home and Abroad.

The home that collector, traveller, hotelier and Bournemouth Mayor, Sir Merton Russell-Cotes, built between the years 1897 and 1901 is, to my mind, one of the South West’s most charming and overlooked attractions.

Aside from a clifftop location that affords dramatic views over the ocean below, it boasts an extensive collection of flamboyant Victoriana – paintings, china, artefacts, taxidermy and anthropological knick-knacks.


Until 27 September 2015, your modest ticket price to this little gem also includes entry to the exhibition In Quest of Beauty, which celebrates the life and work of Czech artist Alphonse Mucha. In Quest of Beauty This temporary exhibition is impressive, especially for somewhere as relatively underpublicized as the RussellCotes (I’ve lived in Dorset for several months and no wild-eyed art aficionado with frantic hair has run deliriously

at me, arms cartwheeling, howling: “THEY’VE GOT A ROSSETTI!” as you’d expect). It comprehensively details Mucha’s journey through a Bohemian and Parisian world of elegance and beauty on his way to creating the Art Nouveau movement. His highly aesthetic work swirls and flutters its eyelashes through a collection of theatrical posters, adverts, magazines and even baby food packets, with a few rather gymnastic photos of his nude models thrown in for a

behind-the-scenes look at his artistic processes. Towards the end, a video narrative goes on to explore some of the challenges Mucha faced in his life. Thanks to his exquisite talent and ready supply of paid jobs, these were few in comparison to many of his contemporaries. Indeed, his heavily stylised portraits of actress Sara Bernhardt catapulted this young, classically trained book illustrator into overnight success. Nonetheless, it’s easy to sense a more sombre, political undertone to his less commercial work,

Below: The Main Hall, The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, Photograph reproduced with the kind permssion of The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, Bournemouth


Through Our Hands Magazine, Issue 6 | august 2015

Above: The Mucha Gallery, The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, image courtesy of Hattie Miles. Below: Gallery 1, The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, Photograph reproduced with the kind permssion of The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, Bournemouth


alongside some strong feelings on the subject of ‘selling out’. Downstairs The Mucha room is right at the back of the Russell-Cotes building, and to get to it you must walk through Gallery 1. If classical depictions of languid, historically significant women are your thing, this place is magic. Edwin Longsden Long’s epic and enormous oil paintings depict various scantily-clad slaves, martyrs, sirens and muses, generally lounging among columns, looking pert and anguished. Of course this was all highly exotic and marketable to a Victorian hotelier with an idealised view of the mysterious East, and Merton Russell-Cotes invested in a large collection of such works. As curator Duncan Walker explains: “Merton was a smart cookie. He taught himself, via the Royal Academy’s publications, which art to collect. This ensured his Royal Bath Hotel was always at the pinnacle of fashion and showing only the most appropriate styles – nothing edgy that would put guests off their breakfasts.

was also a fan of signed replicas – we have a copy of Ramsgate Sands by the original artist, William Powell Frith; the master copy of which was in Queen Victoria’s collection.” Working backwards (why not?), head up the large main staircase and you’ll encounter that side-byside diversity of theme, and of style, that makes this strange home so memorable. Close to a twee

depiction of some ruddy-cheeked, ringletted children luring a dear little pony to its fate (A Tempting Bait by Arthur John Elsey) you’ll find Charles Landelle’s dark-eyed Judith brooding down at you, swathed in gold and gems of the Orient. Opposite the oddly tranquil, sun-scorched Egyptian landscape of Fred Goodall’s Subsiding Nile, two dour women drag their clogs through the bleak midwinter of Henry John Yeend

“Merton knew that art and collectible objects from abroad were financial assets. He knew to pick pieces that were signed (not necessarily common practice at the time), had been shown at the Royal Academy and that were well-known subject matters. He Facing page: Moorish Alcove, The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, Photograph reproduced with the kind permssion of The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, Bournemouth Above: Judith, Charles Landelle, oil on canvas,1887, Photograph reproduced with the kind permssion of The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, Bournemouth

King’s Three Score and Ten. It’s a brilliant display with no obvious theme, except variety itself. Upstairs Back to Merton’s offering of “love and affection” to his wife and travel companion Annie. In one of the various rooms coming off this upstairs gallery, you’ll find the boudoir of Mrs Russell-Cotes herself – a bright pink tribute to all things girly (glass case of butterflies, anyone?). The name of this space, I learnt, comes from the French verb bouder: to pout or sulk. Why anyone would have a cob on with such a globetrotting, luxurious life of leisure I do not know, but perhaps there’s something about a stormy sea view and an eccentric husband that incline a lady to be dramatic. Travelling from this ‘sulking place’ around the upper floor, I particularly loved the Moorish alcove, which includes a Pietro Calvi bust of Othello, said to be


Above: Three Score Years and Ten, Henry John Yeend King, oil on canvas, 1886, Photograph reproduced with the kind permssion of The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, Bournemouth Below: The Subsiding of the Nile, Frederick Goodhall, oil on canvas, 1873, Photograph reproduced with the kind permssion of The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, Bournemouth

Through Our Hands Magazine, Issue 6 | august 2015

Above: Jepthah’s Vow; The Return, Edwin Longsden Long, Oil on canvas, 1886, Photograph reproduced with the kind permssion of The RussellCotes Art Gallery & Museum, Bournemouth

modelled on actor Ira Aldridge’s Moor of Venice. Many of the exhibits change or are moved to rest in storage from time to time, and curator Duncan Walker’s favourite work is currently unavailable to view. This comprises a series of sketches by Lady Violet Manners, Duchess of Rutland. Duncan says: “The Duchess was fantastically wealthy and beautiful, but also happened to have a genuine natural talent for art, so her father sought advice on how best to nurture it. He was advised to give her no formal training but get her drawing self-portraits from the mirror. She went on to become a prominent member of The Souls, an aristocratic social circle that celebrated intellectual pursuits and avant-garde artistic tastes.”

One of Duncan’s favourites that is, however, currently on display is Byam Shaw’s Jezebel. He adds: “She was originally painted completely nude, with meticulous anatomical accuracy. This wasn’t quite to Merton’s taste so he had a word with Shaw and Jezebel reappeared clothed, but you can still see her original state under x-ray. I find it hilarious that Merton felt he knew better than the artist how his subject matter should be portrayed. At the bottom of the frame, there’s a cartouche depicting Jezebel’s unfortunate demise in the jaws of a pack of wild dogs. My favourite pieces change from week to week, but I always love those with a story, those whose inclusion in Merton’s collection show something about his character.” The characters of Merton Russell-

Cotes and his contemporaries in middle class Victorian society are what make this museum and gallery so worth a visit. It’s not a sterile, modern gallery devoid of context; it’s a flashy, eccentric, lived-in home, cluttered with a lifetime’s collection of beautiful things. Well worth a couple of your hours in between sandcastles and ice creams on the beach below.

Admission: Open Tuesday-Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays. £6 adults, £4 children/concessions (includes entry to house, galleries, garden and café and shop) Find out more: 01202 451858 8


All 27 Through our hands artists featured

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

Through Our Hands Portfolio

Foreword by Maggie Grey, all 27 Through Our Hands artists featured, plus extra articles. 84 pages, full colour, ÂŁ10 plus P&P.

Eszter Bornemisza, Alicia Merrett, Jette Clover, Mirjam Pet-Jacobs, Linda Barlow 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

old dog, new tricks

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.

Below: Terry knitting Facing page: Scarf, hat and mittens, Terry Grant

I have been making art for a long time now, and I often think, and knock on wood, how lucky I am to have something so fulfilling that I can continue to do for the rest of my life. If my passion had been ballet or downhill ski-racing I think I would have had to give it up long ago. But as long as my hands and eyes and brain hold up I expect to keep stitching and painting and all that I’ve been doing indefinitely. Now we are learning that doing something creative into old age is actually

quite good for one’s brain as well. Really, that doesn’t surprise me. Much of making art seems to me to be an exercise in problemsolving: how to create a visual effect that will convey what I have in my head; how to give the illusions of depth or light or volume that will tell the story; what fabrics to use; how to make my sewing machine or my hands fasten it all together in a cohesive and interesting way. It keeps me thinking, which seems like exercising my brain in a good way. A while back I read something quite interesting that took it a step further. There are scientists, studying the brain, that now believe that while continuing to practice one’s creative endeavors into old-age helps to keep your brain nimble, learning new creative skills actually builds new connections and pathways in the brain, further helping to ward off the effects of age on the brain. They actually used quilting as an example of a skill that could do just that. That is, if you were just learning it. Shortly after reading this I went to spend time with my sister-in-law who was in the late


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stages of incurable cancer. Jamie was more than a sister-in-law. She was a great friend who shared my love of fabric and art and was a fine quilter herself. When we visited she was faltering, but actually finishing up an art quilt for a show. I knew it was providing some meaning to difficult days. As she tired, she would retreat to her favorite chair and take up her knitting. I have never been a knitter myself, but I watched carefully, seeing the way she sank into her chair, relaxing as the needles dipped and the yarn flowed around them in rhythm. Her face was serene, her hands graceful and knowing. I went home, bought a book, some yarn and needles and taught myself to knit. I thought about that article; about how learning something new builds parts of your brain. Knitting was so awkward for me at first. I felt all thumbs, but I knew my hands needed to learn and practice the motions many times before it would feel natural. I bought inexpensive yarn so I could knit a lot and not worry about ruining anything precious. I knit and I knit and I knit. I made dishcloths and mittens and a hat and eventually a sweater. And in time it began to feel automatic and I marvelled at my own hands making those subtle little movements and flicks of the finger that moved the

yarn into just the right place to be caught by the needle at just the right moment. And it was happening because I had finally internalized those movements until my brain could direct my hands without much intervention from my conscious mind. It was thrilling - really!

My friend, Karen Miller, is a renowned Katazome artist. Her work is very successful and beautiful and keeps her busy almost full-time so I was a little surprised when I saw that she was learning to draw. I asked her if drawing was really something new - surely she did a lot of drawing


Right: Market bag, Terry Grant Below: Drawing, Karen Miller

in designing her Katazome work. “With katazome I worked from traditional patterns and eventually natural forms with a lot of detail, but I did not actually draw very many of my designs. I took a sketchbook class at Sitka (Center for the Arts) and then I signed up for a series of online classes. I found a community of friends there who have encouraged and supported me.” I asked Karen if learning to draw this late in the game had changed her in any way. “I have taken sketchbooks on travels and carry a little one with me everywhere I go. It is a daily habit now. I would be lost without it. I have discovered that I enjoy drawing people. Who knew? Further, I see the world much more deeply now that I am taking time to draw what I experience. It is richly rewarding to learn new things.”


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So it isn’t really true that old “dogs” cannot learn new tricks or even develop new habits. Lifelong learning brings a lot of rewards, and probably enhances the quality of all stages of our lives and if it really does actually improve our brains and build cognitive skills, even in advanced age, then I am all for it! Jamie passed away a few days after Christmas last year and it was one of the saddest days of my life. We all miss her terribly. I continue to knit and I often think of the peace it seemed to bestow on her in those final months. My memory of her knitting is an enduring picture in my mind. Her husband gave me a large selection of her needles and yarn and they are a special gift to me. I used to say I didn’t want to learn to knit because I didn’t need another vice. Ha! The joke is on me. I continue to learn and, for all kinds of reasons, I’m pretty sure it’s making me a better and smarter and happier person.

Above: Mount Hood in Springtime, Karen Miller Left: Jamie with Terry

For more information about Terry: For more about Karen Miller’s



Maker, Making, Made

through our hands It could be said that quilt shows can, at times, be a little staid, maybe even predictable. When Through Our Hands were invited to stage an exhibition at The Festival of Quilts, Europe’s premier quilting event, Annabel and I knew we wanted to create something different, something dynamic.

Text and images by Laura Kemshall


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Our aim here at Through Our Hands has always been to simply provide a platform on which artists can showcase their work, be that in this magazine, on our website or in the exhibitions that we organise. More specifically than that, we love to highlight the remarkable work being done by Through Our Hands artists and draw attention to it both for textile lovers and the wider public. To that end when curating Maker, Making, Made for The Festival of Quilts, we didn’t specify genre, material or technique. Artists were free to show whatever they chose and while most TOH Affiliate Artists choose to work largely with quiltmaking, others punctuated the exhibition with stitched textiles in a much broader sense: installations of interior decorative items demonstrating a collaboration between barkcloth and wood, mother and son from Bobby and Barney Britnell, an awesome number of tagged keys by Susan Lenz, vessels by Mirjam Pet-Jacobs and embroidered work by Michala Gyetvai. Fundamental to our vision for this exhibition was to

Above: Wall of Keys, Susan Lenz, installation of hundreds of individually tagged keys Below: General view of the gallery space


Above: Some of the information panels which accompanied the work Below: Annabel painting Poisonous Plant


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Above: General view of the gallery space

show to the visitor not only the completed works, but to provide an insight to the making process employed by the artists. For each artist we made information panels with key quotes directly from the artists about their work, techniques, thought processes and inspiration. Our goal was not to present anything too wordy or arduous to read, instead thoughtful highlights to accent the work on display. Pictured on many of the information panels were the artists’ studios and workspaces, some surprisingly modest, all fascinating. The key feature of this exhibition was to convey the idea that this work doesn’t just ‘happen’, it is made by someone, and that process is important, personal and diverse. Without wanting to go down the more predictable route of demonstrating, we were keen to include some element of performance to the exhibition, something that would stop the collection of work from being a static display and would force the visitors to take a second, third even fourth tour of the works. Four of the pieces in the exhibition were designed to change. Festival of Quilts takes place over four days with many visitors attending two or

more days. We didn’t want them to think they’d seem all we had to offer on day one! Clare Smith displayed two dynamic pieces. One of which, Bitter Harvest, is a triptych of pojagi hangings stitched in white, translucent cotton. Hanging floor to ceiling, the bottom edges sit in bowls of grain while at the tops are cups of dye perched on shelves. Gradually dye is let through the pieced hangings, dripping and wicking down and across the seams sewn in the tradition of a Korean patchwork cloth. It’s a comment by the artist on the ecological concerns of mass textile production, but for the visitors it was a constantly evolving colourshow changing from pure white to a stained glass of myriad hues. Annabel Rainbow displayed the latest of her Life Quilts, a series of works exploring the modern woman, her role and representation in society today. Poisonous Plant looked to me and to all the other visitors as though it was complete, something that was critical to this aspect of the exhibition. A viewer must not arrive and think a piece was unfinished,


instead our intention was that they would realise they were witnessing works changing in appearance from one state to another. Throughout the duration of the exhibition Annabel added paint layer upon paint layer to her quilt adding depth, form and detail. Linda Kemshall and I collaborated on another ‘performance’ quilt. Ours was hung, apparently finished, but beneath the top layer of fabric, a secret quilt was waiting to be discovered. Gradually I cut away fabric to reveal the layer below. Each layer had been digitally printed to the cloth, the designs were digital collages of our paintings, which as the top layer was partially removed began to work together, the interplay of the motifs on each layer creating something much more interesting. The cutting sessions were fast so often the quilt was hanging unattended by me partially cut. We worked in short sessions, marked with a chalkboard at our side, but no further explanation. We hoped the visitors would be intrigued; what did the times on the board signify, why the brushes and paint, why the scraps of fabric strewn on the floor beneath my quilt? Spending four days transforming our quilts in the company of work by some of the best textile artists was such a fun experience and feedback from the visitors told us


Above: Laura cutting And the Swallows Were Flying

they enjoyed this approach too. This short article doesn’t permit me space to talk to you about all of the work on display so I would encourage you to take some time to visit the website to find out more about the Through Our Hands Affiliate Artists.

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For more about Laura:

QUILTS THAT ARE OUT OF THIS WORLD Event: MAPPING EVOLUTION: An Exhibition of Contemporary Art Quilts Dates: Mon 5 Oct - Sat 31 Oct Times: Mon-Fri 9.30am - 4.30pm, Sat 9.30am - 2.30pm Admission: Free

The latest exhibition at Ilminster Arts Centre shows that quilts can be so much more than simply bedspreads: they can be works of art in their own right. Mapping Evolution is an exhibition of contemporary art quilts by Alicia Merrett and k3n, two award-winning Somerset artists who express and explore big ideas through fabric and stitch. Both artists have international reputations and their highly accomplished work is characterised by bold colour and inventive approaches to traditional quilting techniques. For this exhibition Alicia will be showing quilts inspired by maps and aerial views, as well as quilts that reflect her long-standing interest in cosmology and quantum physics, magic and alchemy. Alicia says of these works, “A few years ago I discovered the potential of maps and aerial views as sources for textile work. I believe maps are an ancient and important part of mankind’s need to interpret and understand the world.” k3n will also be exhibiting a series of quilts that tackle life’s big questions. Entitled ‘Evolution – A Brief History of the Universe from the Big Bang to the Present”, these quilts explore seven different aspects of evolution including Cosmic, Stellar and Planetary Evolution, as well as the Origins of Life. Explaining how she tackled this ambitious subject matter, k3n says, “I expressed my ideas through fabric collage, lots of topstitching, quilting, embellishment with hand embroidery, beadwork, confetti – whatever seemed appropriate to illustrate the wonders of this beautiful world we live in”. PRESS CONTACT: Abigail Willis 01460 55783 Ilminster Arts Centre, East Street, Ilminster, Somerset TA19 0AN Information: 01460 55783. Box Office: 01460 54973 Email: Website:

Featured Artist

What is it about fibre? It has such a powerful attraction and once you begin to create with it, it becomes a joyful passion. Ágnes Herczeg tells us more about how stitch has captivated her and has such an important presence in her work.

Text and images by Ágnes Herczeg

Below: Lace with Coconut Shell, Ágnes Herczeg


Ágnes Herczeg My name is Ágnes Herczeg. I live in Hungary, in a small town on the Danube. I have not studied textile art or textile design, instead I graduated from the textile conservation faculty of the Hungarian University of Fine Arts. During my studies and work I frequently experienced stunned admiration when I came across a work made to the highest artistic standards. I was touched by the technical skill with which the master artist worked anonymously

and with humility, when faced with the fact that the object was a perfect creation in every aspect, even on those parts that were not visible. I felt that people today have lost much of this knowledge and skill. After finishing university I was expecting a baby and I thought that this would be the best moment to learn because as a restorer it is useful to know as many craft techniques as possible. I was interested in everything, embroidery, weaving and lacemaking. I worked from handicrafts books and studied everything by myself. It was an extremely enjoyable period. I started with sample scarves and these gradually took on independent forms. Perhaps needle lace was the technique that posed the greatest challenge. Making needle lace on the basis of a description may seem complicated, although it is only a series of tiny loop stitches, which at one time women were familiar with as today they know crochet. If somebody is attracted to miniature fine work, then they will certainly find pleasure in this technique. I find braiding an exciting technique; it, too, is not a

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widely practiced skill these days. This could have been the basis for pillow lace, although braiding can be done with an uneven number of threads while making pillow lace is only possible with pairs of bobbins. In the end this learning process stretched out because with five children I decided not to go back to work. I missed 15 years as a restorer and for the profession this represents a huge gap. On the other hand, my experience gained in the area of handicrafts pointed out a new path from which I simply could not turn back. I take great delight in this work and I am pleased to be able to work alongside my family. I have an enquiring mind and I always long for new knowledge, to work with new materials and new techniques. It is odd how simple things direct one’s work into new areas. A sawn coconut shell, a dry branch, or tree bark can all send a message to use them because they are simply beautiful. I like trying out new materials, combining different techniques and materials. We spend a lot of time outside; the Danube embankment is particularly attractive here Right: Lace with Wood, à gnes Herczeg


where we live. I find all sorts of things here that I then use in my pictures. How beautiful they are, one just has to bend down to pick them up. Below: Lace with Ceramic, Ă gnes Herczeg


Lace cannot form a picture in itself because of its fine and light structure (it is not self-supporting),

it requires a supportive frame. This ‘frame’ (it can even be a simple branch) is all part of the composition. I love making sculptures from ceramics. I fire these myself in a pit kiln, which is why their colour is similar to primitive ceramics.

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The sculpture becomes the ‘frame’ of the lace. Design is not simply a drawing task. Knowing the limitations of the different techniques, one has to design with the greatest freedom of possibility given by these boundaries. I am attracted to pierced and interwoven structures, like lace created from gossamer fine threads and compositions of rustic, sturdy braids. For some reason I really like drawing faces, even though I never studied portraiture. I often use the faces of members of my family as models. When drawing, I am already thinking in lace terms. I divide the picture into small fields, as if I wanted to make cloisonné. These little cells have to have the sort of forms that I can fill with stitches. This is an important part of designing, indeed at the beginning I designed pictures that I could not then embroider, in other words, they were unrealizable. During the design stage I have to foresee how the work phases follow on from one another, and in this respect my working process is strictly planned. The contours of traditional historical laces are made of lace thread. Taking advantage of the creative freedom of picture making, I have tried out contour threads of varying materials and gauges. Thick flax and hemp yarn give a plastic contour, whereas pictures made with a contour fashioned

Above: Lace with Coconut Shell, Ágnes Herczeg

from thin wire become a very fine depiction. Similarly, I can use many types of thread for lace stitches. Indeed, I can use several types within one picture. I like working with crochet thread or sewing machine embroidery thread. Lace stitches are extremely simple; it is very important to

finish the thread ends with care. Lace-making is a time-consuming occupation demanding a great deal of patience and huge attention to detail. Filling out the surface within the contours is an improvisational game, as if I were drawing or painting. It is like creating the tones of the picture



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through the size and density of the stitches. The picture takes on a plastic energy if the stitches do not form horizontal lines but instead they curve to trace the contours. While working I concentrate on giving the very best of my technical skill. Every picture is a new challenge, a task on which I can test myself. I colour the surface of the finished lace with an aquarelle paint. This is the moment that it is easy to ruin the work done so far, which is why this is a very exciting part of my work: this is when I, too, come face to face with the work. When I’m finished, I can easily spot all the errors in my picture, my eyes are always drawn to these parts. I learn a lot from these faults and this is how I am always improving. As far as I am concerned, creation is not a means of self expression as an end in itself, it is not an artistic role. I never forget that I am a restorer, the technical knowledge is playing with the material in my works. I have unbounded respect for those anonymous artists from long ago, who worked with humility and yet with remarkable virtuosity.

Above: Lace with Wood, Ágnes Herczeg

For more information about Ágnes: herczegagnescsipke?ref=hl

Facing page: Lace with Ceramic, Ágnes Herczeg



Love is Enough:

William morris and andy warhol Annabel: I’m always looking for

interesting things to see in Birmingham as it’s a short train journey from where I live, and the Art Gallery and Museum with its rapidly changing programme of exhibitions is always worth a visit. Text by Annabel Rainbow, images courtesy of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery


Currently on show until 6th September, is an exhibition entitled Love Is Enough featuring the work of Andy Warhol and William Morris. You might think it an odd combination but I found many parallels between them even though they were born almost a century apart, and it’s a once in a lifetime chance to see the prolific

work of these two stunning artists side by side. This fascinating exhibition was the idea of Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller who also curated the exhibition. Jeremy Deller met Andy Warhol in 1986 and spent two weeks at The Factory in New York. Deller himself began making artworks

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Facing page: Quest for the Holy Grail Tapestries - Panel 2 - The Arming and Departure of the Knights, Sir Edward Burne-Jones, William Morris, John Henry Dearle, wool, silk, mohair and camel hair weft on cotton warp, 1895 – 1896. © Birmingham Museums Trust Left: Drawing for Honeysuckle textile design, William Morris, 158cm x 76cm, © Birmingham Museums Trust Top: Joan Collins, Andy Warhol, silkscreen ink on synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 1985 © 2014 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York and DACS, London Above: Dame Elizabeth Taylor, Andy Warhol, offset lithograph, 1967 © 2014 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York and DACS, London


Above: Marilyn Monroe, Andy Warhol, tapestry, 1968 The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Founding Collection, Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. The Collection of Marla and Larry Wasser, Toronto, Canada. © 2015 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York and DACS, London. Image: Maciek Linowski.


in the early 1990’s often showing them outside of conventional galleries. He is best known for artworks such as Battle of Orgreave (2001) a spectacular reenactment of the actual battle which occurred during the 1984 Miners’ Strike. He went on to win the Turner Prize in 2004. In 2013 he was selected to represent Great Britain at the Venice Biennale. His exhibition English Magic notoriously included

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a large-scale imagined depiction of William Morris hurling Roman Abramovic’s super-yacht into Venice’s Grand Canal. Birmingham itself has a very strong Arts and Crafts history, and the Art Gallery and Museum already hold a great many pieces from this era in its collections. This exhibition adds to these with original drawings, textiles, books and stained glass produced by William Morris & Co. Alongside are rare archival materials from the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, and drawings and screenprints on loan from the Tate, as well as the famous Campbell’s Soup Can currently on loan from Wolverhampton Gallery. As well as pieces by Morris and Warhol, are artworks by Morris’ close circle of friends such as the Holy Right: Drawing for Kennet textile design, and fabric, below, William Morris, © Birmingham Museums Trust


Below: Drawing for Snakeshead design, William Morris, © Birmingham Museums Trust

Grail Tapestries designed by Edward Burne-Jones, and portraits of Morris’ wife, Jane, by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Rossetti’s hugely popular unfinished portrait La Donna Della Finestra thought to be based on Jane’s likeness (1881) hangs alongside Warhol’s iconic portraits of Marilyn Monroe, Joan Collins and Liz Taylor. The main feature of the exhibition is without doubt the Holy Grail Tapestries. Woven by Morris and Co. between 1895 and 1900, they tell the story of the search for the Holy Grail by the Knights of the Round Table. They are rare and incredibly beautiful, and are the only series in a UK public collection, and are widely regarded as one of the outstanding achievements of the British Arts and Crafts movement. They are extremely fragile and light sensitive, so their display in Love Is Enough is a once in a generation opportunity to see them, as following Birmingham they will need to rest for an extended


period of time. Hanging opposite, was Warhol’s own tapestry of Marilyn Monroe, and it was a fascinating chance to compare the designs and techniques of Burne-Jones/Morris and Warhol. I was also intrigued by the designs, wood blocks, and samples of Morris’ iconic wallpapers and fabrics that were on show. You are able to trace a design from the early initial sketches through to the resolved drawings, see the woodblocks and the finished paper either hanging or in the process of being made. William Morris (1834-1896) designed and made some of the most fashionable and exciting textiles and wallpapers of his day, and the company Morris & Co still continue producing authentic versions of his designs. I’m still not sure I’ve quite grasped the concept of matching the wallpaper design so that it makes an overall pattern, let alone understanding the individual woodblocks needed to stamp out the pattern in its different colours.

Birmingham Museum houses about 800,000 fabulous objects including the finest collection of Pre-Raphaelite art in the world, so is always worth a visit. You could happily spend an entire day wandering around the collections, but if you do, I also especially recommend the wonderful Edwardian Tea Room for hot meals and drinks throughout the day! Love is Enough: William Morris and Andy Warhol’ at Birmingham Museums Trust, 25 April – 6 September 2015

Visitor information: love-is-enough-william-morris-and-andy-warhol Entrance £7 For more about Annabel:

Below: Snakeshead fabric, William Morris, © Birmingham Museums Trust


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

Desert Island Designs

Susan lenz 1. What’s your art essential? The only thing I really need is a threaded needle. With it, I can stitch anything … with or without fabric. 2. What’s your favourite technique? Running stitch, the more the better … though I truly love poking holes in layers of polyester stretch velvet using a soldering iron.


3. Studio soundtrack, who’s on the iPod? Every device is pre-programmed to my very favorite station … OFF. I love the sound of silence but must admit that during December I often listen to “Classical Christmas” on Pandora. I’ve fine-tuned it to play nothing but lovely, mostly instrumental and choral selections … no crooners covering classics … no silly “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” or contemporary holiday rap, etc. Okay … I also have another station on Pandora for Norah Jones and

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Macy Gray and other similar artists. I listen to this while tidying up. 4. Name four famous people at any point in history that you’d like to invite to a dinner party. Giorgio Vasari (to cover all my favorite Renaissance artists) and my grandfather, Conell Ashmore Baker, who wasn’t famous to anyone outside my family but will always be remembered as larger than life. Any more than these two, I couldn’t handle. It is tempting to write Jesus Christ but I believe faith is supposed to suffice, not the opportunity to get questions answered first-hand.

5. What’s your favourite colour palette? I like all colors but I gravitate to rust, olive green and a touch of purple … except when making art. My palette is often monochromatic, blacks and whites … except when it is every-color-on-earth-altogether. I’m an all-or-nothing sort of artist when it comes to color! 6. What does your studio look like? A disaster area. Frequently, I must look for the floor. So far, it has always been found on the bottom and is still painted blue. 7. What’s your proudest artistic moment? I’m hoping this moment is still ahead of me. I can’t easily answer this question today because yesterday found me on a stage, stitching while giving my TEDxColumbia presentation to a standing-room-only theatre and a couple video cameras. It was a very, very good day. 8. What’s your wildest ambition for your work? The Whitney Biennial. (You didn’t say that it had to be reasonable! LOL!) And of course, your luxury item? (this can be absolutely anything and unconnected with your work etc) If I could have anything, it would be more time. Time is the ultimate luxury.

For more information about Susan and her work:



Agnes Martin This summer Tate Modern hosts the first large-scale retrospective of American abstract artist Agnes Martin since the 1990s. Anne Williams went along to find out more…

Text by Anne Williams

I have to confess that I was not familiar with the work of Agnes Martin, but the moment I saw one of her paintings on Tate’s email newsletter that landed in my inbox I thought ‘strippy quilt’ and immediately booked to see the exhibition. My response to the image I’d seen gave me cause to ponder that as a textile-y person does this influence the non-textile shows I choose to visit and does it colour the way I approach the pieces displayed… Inevitably we view artworks through the lens of our own experiences and knowledge, so if textiles, or for me more specifically quilts, are what you know about then it is not surprising that this will be your point of reference. Reading about Agnes Martin and her work before my visit to the show, it seemed that there would be much to whet my quilter’s appetite. So having ventured down this

path of thought, I decided to view the exhibition looking for pieces which displayed design elements readily translatable to quiltmaking, and it was to prove a rich source of inspiration. In the UK, Agnes Martin is best known for her paintings in which horizontal bands have been marked out, by hand, in soft pencil lines onto the canvas and then filled in with subtle tonal washes, with most of the pieces comprising just two or three pale luminous colours and with the pencil lines still visible. Reoriented to the vertical, these paintings are reminiscent of faded antique strippies – a quilt design of bars (strips) of fabric popular in Wales and the Northeast in the early twentieth century, and generally made of two alternating colours. But in a career spanning five decades, Agnes Martin’s practice was much broader than the striped works for which she is

Left: Untitled #5, Agnes Martin, 1998


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Right: Untitled, Agnes Martin, 1959

Right: Untitled, Agnes Martin, 2004


recognised. She also experimented with simple geometric forms such as squares, rectangles, and dots and circles, repeated in grids across the surface. Part of what draws the eye to these pieces is that although the design is repetitive the shapes are slightly uneven, imperfect perfection if you like. These grid pieces were a development of works in which she incorporated found objects, such as nails and wood, placed in regular patterns. Interestingly, although you can see some common elements between these pieces and some of her later works, I thought some of these items had a folk-art quality quite unlike the minimalism of many of her paintings.

Above: Friendship, Agnes Martin, 1963 Below: Untitled #1, Agnes Martin, 2003


Throughout the 1960s, Martin continued to work with the grid and one of the rooms in the exhibition contains several square paintings – a uniform 72in (183cm) square – of variations on this theme. As with the stripe pieces, the grids have been drawn in graphite or coloured pencil on painted canvases; this lack of distinction between drawing and painting is a hallmark of Martin’s work. The drawn line being an integral part of the composition is akin to a stitched line being an integral part of a quilt design, added to enhance the whole rather than an afterthought added only to hold all the layers together. I made several sketches of pieces in this room which would work wonderfully on wholecloths, where the stitching creates the surface pattern. In another room are many smaller framed prints investigating the same type of exercise, with sheets divided into different grids. The number of designs which can be produced by combining horizontal and vertical lines seems endless, especially when the weight (boldness) of some of the lines is varied too. As with the uneven shapes in the earlier pieces, the hand-drawn lines are not ‘perfect’ as they are not straight, and it’s these irregularities which help to give the works their special qualities. Perhaps there’s a

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This page, clockwise from top left: Gratitude, Agnes Martin, 1959. Happy Holiday, Agnes Martin, 1999. Untitled #10, Agnes Martin, 1975. On a Clear Fay, Agnes Martin, 1973


Above: Untitled #10, Agnes Martin, 1990

lesson here for quilters; we do seem to get rather hung up on perfection with gizmos such as stitch regulators and the like to help make our stitching even. Maybe we should just go with the flow and let our ‘imperfect’ stitching add to the charm and spontaneity of our quilted lines…


There is a pared back nature to Martin’s work and, as with her pencilled pieces, her grey paintings, which she made from the late seventies until the early nineties, show mastery in working with reduced means. They are a fabulous study of the role of value, demonstrating how the relationship between light and dark bands can be used to create a range of

Through Our Hands Magazine, Issue 6 | august 2015

effects. As ever, what looks simple rarely is and it takes a skilled practitioner to achieve so much with so little. Agnes Martin continued to work until the end of her life and the final room in the exhibition brings together a selection of her late paintings. Untitled #1,2003 shows how simple geometric shapes can be used to evoke natural forms; the yellow-tipped triangles look like mountains and the horizontal pencil lines give a sense of perspective. Demonstrating that she continued to produce a broad range of work, one of her last pieces, Untitled, 2004, is a grey painting in her trademark horizontal bands with graphite lines.

Throughout her career Agnes Martin destroyed work which did not meet her exacting standards. In fact, her last request was for the destruction of two paintings in her studio. There is so much to see in this exquisite exhibition – I wonder how many pieces ‘got away’… Agnes Martin: 1912–2004 Born in 1912 in Saskatchewan, Canada, Agnes Martin moved to the United States in 1931, and became a US citizen in 1940. She was thirty before she decided she wanted to be an artist, when she studied art at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. After some years of teaching art at the university, she enrolled at the Teachers College, Columbia

University in New York, receiving her MA in 1952. During this time she developed an interest in East Asian philosophy which shaped her view that spiritual inspiration created the greatest work. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s she lived and worked in New York, becoming a key figure in the maledominated field of abstract art. However, in 1967, just as her work was becoming critically acclaimed, she sold up, left New York and travelled for two years – she didn’t create any new art for five years. Preferring a life of solitude, she resettled in New Mexico, in an adobe house without mod cons, where she lived and worked alone for several years.

Left: Untitled, Agnes Martin, 1977 For more about Anne Williams

Courtyard Arts

Apron Strings! by Connie Flynn The apron, a widely recognisable object used in a variety of cross cultural and gendered contexts. This exhibition features a selection of contemporary aprons created in response to the traditional apron, blending quality craftsmanship with tales of social and cultural history.

Artists talk in the gallery, Saturday 5th Sept 2pm, free

1st - 12th September 2015 Courtyard Arts Centre, Port Vale, Hertford, SG14 3AA Opening Times: Tuesday-Saturday 10am-4pm 01992 509596

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Featured Artist

Pauline Burbidge’s new work will be shown in her exhibition called Quiltscapes & Quiltline, which will be at The Bowes Museum, Co Durham, from 28th November 2015, until the 10th April 2016. It also tours onto The Ruthin Craft Centre, North Wales, from 23rd April until 12th July, 2016. We hear directly from her about the new work.

Text by Pauline Burbidge

Below: Pauline Burbidge at work, 2015. Photo by Phil Dickson PSD Photography


Pauline Burbidge

I live in the Scottish Borders, with my husband, the sculptor Charles Poulsen. Our home and studios are surrounded by rural farmland, with main crops of malting barley and potatoes grown in the area. Hedgerows and banks of wild flowers and grasses outline the fields, in this region known as The Merse. To the north are the Lammermuir Hills, to the South the Cheviot Hills, in Northumberland. We often get a glimpse of these, on a short daily walk. We also have an amazing coastline close by, from 6 to 20 miles can take us to Eyemouth, St.Abbs Head, Berwick-upon-Tweed or Holy Island/Lindisfarne. The Scottish Borders also holds a network of wonderful rivers such as, the Tweed, the Blackadder and the Whiteadder, and is generally a very rich rural landscape.

Above: Byre Studio, 2014 with Halima Cassell’s sculpture and drawings by Charlie Poulsen. Photo by Phil Dickson PSD Photography Below: Art Room, 2013. Photo by Step Haiselden


categories of my work, that I have been making over the last ten years. Quiltscapes being my fabric collages, stitched and made deliberately as wall hangings, and my Quiltline works being made deliberately as usable and functional quilts. The images, texture and line all relate to the rural landscape and plant form around me, as described above. As large textile studies, my work often falls between fine art & craft, however I simply think of it, under the separate but broad heading of textiles. I think of myself as a textile artist and a contemporary quiltmaker.

Above: Pauline Burbidge painting, 2015. Photo by Phil Dickson PSD Photography

These surroundings influence and inspire my work, viewing and absorbing the bigger picture of large spacious landscapes and skies, or concentrating on detail of plant forms seen all around us, in the garden or roadside banks. Over the past two years I have been developing and making works that I think of as textile landscapes – they link my love of the natural world together with my love of fabric and cloth. Quiltscapes & Quiltline (the title of my exhibition) refers to the two


My Quiltscapes are a little like my ‘paintings’ - I use collage, stitch, basic print and any number of appropriate techniques to create these works. It depends on the image – this rules, and I select from my developed technical knowledge, grown from the past. I do not start with a rigid plan, but rather let it develop and change as I go along. This is very different to my early days of quiltmaking when I felt that a plan was essential. Examples of some recent Quiltscapes are Honesty Skyline and Starscape. My Quiltline pieces are like my ‘drawings’. They are usually made from a whole piece of cloth. On recent works, such as, Rye-Grass or Grain, I have drawn onto the top cloth with a fabric crayon first, then drawn a whole network of quilting stitching – drawing again with my stitched line, by using my Handi Quilter machine (HQ18), which I find a wonderful tool to draw with. I choose to use it in a free-form way, rather than a computerized way. To spend an afternoon drawing on my machine, is all very

Through Our Hands Magazine, Issue 6 | august 2015

Above: Transitions in Black, White and Grey, Charlie Poulson, drawing on paper, 2014. Photo by Philip Stanley

satisfying! I have been developing several basic printing and drawing techniques for my new work – such as cyanotype printing, monoprinting and using fabric crayons and resist pastes to draw with. These processes are new to me, but have been practised for many years.

on algae in 1843. The method uses chemicals to make the paper or fabric light sensitive, once it has been exposed to bright sunrays for a short while, it changes the colour of the fabric. The parts which have not been exposed to the sun become the image. Once it is rinsed in water thoroughly, then dried, this image becomes visible. I buy my fabric for this, ready processed from:

Cyanotype is an early photographic method, invented by Sir John Herschel in 1842, and was used by the botanist, Anna Atkins to illustrate her book

I have also very much enjoyed using monoprinting for my recent work. It is a lovely basic and instant printing method, particularly fitting for use in


Above: Studio B, quilt by Pauline Burbidge, ceramics by Halima Cassell, 2014

contemporary quilt making, I think. Only basic equipment is needed; a piece of glass or plastic, fabric paint and tools to scrape the paint off to make your image. One or two prints only, at one time, can be made. It is wonderfully straight forward and instant, as a process, and I like the fact that you have to work fast, before the paint dries. I have also been using fabric crayons to draw with on various new quilts. And very much enjoyed the boldness and freedom of the line drawing that I have produced. I will be teaching a three day master class at both The Bowes Museum and the Ruthin Craft Centre – where I will concentrate on these basic printing methods. My exhibition can also be seen at the same time. Drawing plays an important part in my work. I often make continuous line drawings as a starting point for my stitching lines. Some of these preliminary


drawing will be in the exhibition too. The making process is very important to me, and I wanted to illustrate this in the show. A fully illustrated book/catalogue will be available with the exhibition, including photographs of the new work, and some making processes and an essay by June Hill. I do hope that you can catch it at one of these venues. It will be a special exhibition, in two great, well respected places, with excellent gallery facilities! As you can see, my work is very inspired by my surroundings in the Scottish Borders, so there is another venue to see some of my work, in the situation that it has been made. Why not come and visit our OPEN STUDIO sometime? We open our doors for four days at the beginning of August every year (over the first weekend of August) details are posted on my website.

Through Our Hands Magazine, Issue 6 | august 2015

Pauline Burbidge studied Fashion & Textiles at St.Martin’s Art College in London, in the early 1970’s. She has exhibited in many corners of the world, including Japan, Australia and the USA. Her work has been purchased by many Museums & Collectors in the UK and USA. Her work has been published in many books, including her own titles, which include, Quilt Studio; Portfolio Collection Pauline Burbidge; Pauline Burbidge – Works between 1975 & 2012; OPEN STUDIO.

For more information about Pauline Burbidge: and The Bowes Museum: and The Ruthin Craft Centre:

Below: Art Room, 2014, photo by Phil Dickson PSD Photography


INSIDE:OUT Nature in Art Wallsworth Hall Twigworth Gloucestershire GL2 9PA

11th - 31st August 2015 Open 10 - 5

Closed Mondays expect bank holidays Normal admission charges apply

Exhibition of Textile Art 11th - 31st August 2015

In the grounds and in the gallery of Nature in Art

Artists in residence August 11th - 16th Tue Wed

Liz Hewitt Kay Swancutt Liz Harding


Alison Harper Susi Bancroft


Corinne Renow-Clarke Carolyn Sibbald Carla Mines Stephanie Wooster Liz Hewitt

Sat Sun

Louise Watson Linda Babb

Wed 19th August Creative recycling for children Talk 1215 - 1245 Alison Harper & Carla Mines Making INSIDE:OUT Susi Bancroft Full details & booking form

No booking necessary


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Profile for DesignMatters

Through Our Hands Magazine | Issue 6  

Art and textile inspiration from Through Our Hands. Featured artists include: Genevieve Attinger, Agnes Herczeg, Pauline Burbidge plus exhib...

Through Our Hands Magazine | Issue 6  

Art and textile inspiration from Through Our Hands. Featured artists include: Genevieve Attinger, Agnes Herczeg, Pauline Burbidge plus exhib...

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