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Catch My Drift - Workbox magazine A very popular exhibition

Magazine Article by Elizabeth Taylor

Formed in 2002 by a group of City and Guilds Creative Embroidery graduates and their tutor Ann Brown, 02 Textiles has gone from strength to strength. There have been some changes and additions to the group, but their ethos remains the same.

The aims of the group are to support each other in the personal development of their textile art skills and to be an exhibiting group. Members have an accomplished and diverse set of skills which are generously shared in workshop/information sessions. This support and sharing allows space for members to grow and challenge themselves in the development of their art.

02 aim to exhibit bi-annually. However, 2012 saw the group responding to an invitation to exhibit at the Knit and Stitch Show in London, Dublin and Harrogate with ‘Curiouser and curiouser…and curiouser’. The exhibition was extremely successful, with a wide public appreciation of the surprise and humour in the work. In July 2013, a follow up exhibition was held in the Workshop at Snape Maltings in Suffolk.

Previous major exhibitions have been held at Braintree Art Gallery, Cottenham Textiles in Focus, RHS Hyde Hall, with work also shown at Ramster Gardens, Maldon Maeldune Centre and the Warner Archive in Braintree.

Many months before each exhibition, 02 ‘thought cascade’ possible titles and the ideas which may come from them. Discussion follows about a group installation piece which will give a focus and excitement to group thinking. For example, at the ‘Bloomin’ Marvellous’ exhibition at Hyde Hall the installation took the form of three arches covered by fantastic textile leaves, flowers, insects and a rather smart garden gnome. The arches offered hours of delight to visitors of all ages

‘Curiouser …’ inspired the group installation ‘Shelf Life’. A set of shelves on which were curious items, creature, plants and objects made from diverse materials. These included silks, cotton, card, sheers, metal, papier mâché, threads, beads and re-cycled items.

The main pieces, also ‘curious’, grew from the inspiration ‘trigger’ offered by ‘Shelf Life’ and group discussions. At monthly meetings, members take in work. Comments, suggestions and encouragement are given. This collegiate style of working is very important to the group. It not only means that exhibitions have a theme, albeit variously interpreted, but also standards of presentation, framing and hanging are consistent and professional.

The next exhibition by 02 Textiles will held 5th April – 6th May 2014 in the Buckenham Gallery, Southwold, Suffolk. The theme ‘Catch my Drift’, with the installation title ‘Hooked’, offers wide scope for interpretation. As one would expect the lively minds of 02 have been inspired and work is in progress.

Tabatha Mitchell-Simons is intrigued by litter which does not make it into a bin. Where do all the wrappers, packets, shopping lists, receipts and abandoned tin cans go to? She wonders if something extraordinary takes place and is a new species, ‘Litter Critters’ about to emerge?

Tabatha Mitchel-Simons

‘People watching’ in Coffee Shops intrigues Liz Nicholls. Whilst waiting for family and friends she observes the people around her, whether single, couples or groups and wonders about their stories. The common link between them all is the cups and saucers and cutlery on their tables. Using paper, fabric, wire beads and stitch, Liz intends to tell the stories.

Other people watchers in the group are Ann Brown, Wendy Greene, Karen Ives, Rita Johnson and Dot Reed.

Following her successful foray into ‘Alice in Wonderland’ with a marvellous Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, Ann will be taking figure making further with ‘Hooker’ a ‘Pole Dancer’ made from dyed fabric with beading and hand embroidery.

Dot too is enamoured of three dimensional figures. She has stitched from an early age and has skills in many textile disciplines which have informed her work. Inspired by Beryl Cook and Fernando Bottero Dot will no doubt produce some amusing and thought provoking work featuring the characters she observes. As she says ‘there’s now’t so queer as folk’.

Viewing the exhibition title as a question, suggested to Rita that it may be about friends having a conversation. As an accomplished ‘life class’ student she has developed a strong interest in the human form. She intends to use her knowledge to extend from two dimensional textile work into a three dimensional piece of two figures executed using wire, natural materials and stitch.

Rita Johnson CrabRita Johnson

Wendy has an ‘ear’ for the caught comment and she says that ‘snatched snippets of  conversations can lead to the feeling of an embroidery coming on’. No doubt her proposed still life piece entitled ‘Pearls of Wisdom’ will contain apposite pithy comments on life. Wendy will use hand and machine embroidery with appliqué, collage, script and found objects. Her group project piece ‘A Storm in a D Cup’ encapsulates Wendy’s sense of humour perfectly.

Karen has been inspired by ‘the intricate art of paper cutting and in particular the way individual images merge to create a silhouette’. She has created a series of scenes depicting children at play.

Chris Bonnett is using the exhibition title to explore themes of ‘understanding’. The Sutton Hoo helmet has inspired a modern take on it called ‘Sutton Who?’ and she will pursue an earlier anatomical theme from ‘Curiouser…’ with a three dimensional and beaded ear, ‘An Ear for Music’. However, more poignantly, another piece will be exploring her late father’s struggle with dementia using the question ‘do you understand me?’

Eileen Beales, Zoe Cox and Elizabeth Taylor are all inspired by nature.

Eileen has previously explored lines, pattern and beauty occurring in landscape, flowers, fish and the sea. Her work for the new exhibition is inspired by the birds which visit her garden. She has captured this in paint and has developed into hand stitched and lace pieces. Her humour will be seen in her piece for ‘Hooked’.

Eileen Beales Blue Tit

The work of Zoe continues to explore the usually unseen microscopic details in nature. Her work for ‘Curiouser….’ exquisitely revealed the scales which cover the wings of a butterfly. Working with sheer fabrics and dense machine embroidery, she skilfully blends colour to glorious effect. Zoe will continue to study the details of natural forms in fabric and stitch.

With the title of the exhibition and the venue in mind Elizabeth’s thoughts turned to fish. She is fascinated by the form, shape and colours to be found in ‘everyday’ fish such as herring and mackerel. Close observational drawings have informed her work and she may well have ‘Hooked’ a salmon!

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