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Fashioned From Nature

In May I visited the Fashioned from Nature exhibition in London at the V&A with my great friends Anjum and Jane. The exhibition left us inspired and stopped us in our tracks, making us question our shopping behaviours.

‘Bird-witched’ shoes, Masada Kushiro (Japan 2014)

The exhibition examines how nature has inspired and influenced our tastes in fashion and the impact we have on nature to satisfy our tastes over time.  Fashioned from Nature begins on the ground floor with historic costumes and the raw materials used to create them, it then progresses to the late 20th and 21st century fashion on the first floor.  There are many beautiful, nature inspired designs, textiles and garments…but Beware! This may at first seem like an gentle exhibition of historic garments, it’s not!

The exhibition curators have devised a show that lulls the viewer into a smug revery at our ancestors extraordinary tastes in fashion and their silhouettes. In reality it takes us on a journey, exposing our ever changing tastes and relentless drive for new fashions. Scratch below the surface and they expose the impact our thirst for raw materials has on the animals, ecosystems and our fellow humans. All of whom become victims in one way or another to supply our ruthless appetite for immediate gratification and fast fashion.

Fashioned from Nature challenges our purchasing habits and how we source our clothes and tries to offer solutions to change our reckless consumption.   The lifecycle of a typical garment is examined, and we are asked to question our use and aftercare of garments too. How often a garment is worn, washed and disposed of, are just as valid questions as becoming informed about the garments source, materials and production process.

The exhibition concludes with a glimmer of hope, showcasing some of  todays designers searching for sustainable ways of working with innovative new processes, techniques and materials. Natural dyes, wearable ‘paper’ (see above) and mushroom fabrics are just some of the innovative materials on display.

Fashioned from Nature leaves the visitor with plenty of food for thought, demanding we think and question before we buy, and nudges us to seek out a more sustainable fashion cycle.

Fashioned from Nature is on in Gallery 40 at the V&A, London until 27th January 2019.

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Vision for the Future – MA Fashion & Textiles Show

 

It’s been show time! This month is the end of the academic year for the MA Fashion and Textiles students at BCU (Birmingham City University) – a stressful but exciting time!  I have enjoyed seeing my fellow students work come to fruition, (…I have all this to come next year as I’m studying on the part time route). This has given me a great behind the scenes insight into the work that goes into preparing for and organising Vision for the Future, the MA Fashion & Textiles Shows.

The Textiles Show was  @parksidegallery on Cardigan Street, Birmingham from 11th – 13th July, with the preview night and Fashion Show held on the 12th at 6pm.

Amy Sweeney, (Fashion Promotion), did a fantastic job planning the fashion show, directing the designers’ models, and curated a fabulous evening. Congratulations on your award too Amy!  To assist Amy’s direction, I helped out backstage, overseeing the smooth running order of designers and models. A special thanks must be given to the course tutors, Rebecca Russell-Turner, Heather Orr & the technicians, for all their patience and assistance.  Everyone worked so hard to make it a great success; the designers, the artwork & marketing team [Amber Leigh Prescott, Sophie Jacks, Ilaris Di Gasparro & Gaia Pomelli], the makeup artist [Miriam Besrat Nedash] and all the models. It was a long day & such a hot July evening, but a very rewarding experience!

Congratulations to ALL the designers and modelsthe exhibition and garments looked wonderful. Good luck everyone with your results and your future plans!

 

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Resist Felting – Sampling Day

I really enjoy teaching and recently had an enjoyable day sharing with workshop attendees how to work with different Resist Felting processes.

The day was an opportunity to learn how to achieve a range of textured surface effects by applying resist processes with wet felting. During the day we examined the Nuno, Cracked Mud and Trapunto techniques, how they are created and the ways they can be applied in our creative work.  After looking at samples, the group made samples, applying the processes discussed and demonstrated.

Many of the samples were started by hand, then put into the Gentle Roller machine to continue to roll the samples whilst we continued to layout the other samplers. It certainly helped take the strain, especially on such an unusually hot July day in the UK!

The Cracked Mud samplers.

The Felt Trapunto Resist Samplers

If you are interested in attending a Resist Workshop or any of the other workshops I offer, please get in touch via info@silversoles.co.uk and further details can be found on the website.

 

 

 

 

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Foundation Degree Show

It was a delight to be invited to the Bournville College / Staffordshire University Foundation Degree students end of year show preview night on Thursday 12th May. This was especially so as one of my mentees, Rachel Faulkner, was exhibiting her wildlife inspired needle felted work.

Rachel’s textile work “The garden, a keepsake in a jar”, explores the idea of collections and keepsakes, and examines our ongoing [sic] ” need as humans to keep mementos of the past and preserve them for future generations“. Her work investigates the Victorian obsession with collections, moments mori and the impact of collecting, cataloguing and displaying taxidermy collections.  This contrasts with a desire to preserve and encourage species and ecosystems today, and I think, asks; what and whose idea of the garden & nature is it, a real or imagined one, ours or one of the past, that we wish to preserve?

Rachel piece is a keepsake of memories of her garden; featuring two terrariums, a tree and specimen plants. One terrarium contains a rose – representing the idea of the quintessential English rose garden, and the other houses a frog and insects on a log pile – purposefully placed and designed to attract wildlife. The tree at the centre of the two terrariums has an ecosystem of its own, in which a bird resides alongside a human’s treehouse with a window box of flowers!

 

Rachels’ work and more can be seen at Cohesion, the Bournville College / Staffordshire University Foundation degree Contemporary Art Practice show.  

Cohesion: 9am – 5pm 12th – 26th May Prirory Square, Queensway, Birmingham, B4 7LJ

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Joseph Franks Exhibition

I visited the London Fashion and Textile Museum last week to see the Joseph Franks Textiles screenprints and paintings.  A wonderful display of colour and pattern, it was like spring had arrived both outside and inside the museum. Here’s a flavour of my visit…

 

As well as a display of printed fabric lengths there were a number of Franks’ watercolours.  I particularly liked theses two for their use of colour.

 

The exhibition displayed full length fabric prints from the ceiling giving them a real impact. The printed textiles were applied to interior design and shown off with a mock up of a sitting room….almost like a visit to ikea…..without the crowds!

 

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Inspire Stitched Textile Group 10th Anniversary Exhibition

I’m delighted to share the Inspire Textile Groups invitation for their 10th Anniversary Exhibition, please do come along to support the group and see their wonderful work.

The exhibition will be held on Friday 16th & Saturday 17th June 2017 between 10am to 4pm each day in St. Swithins House, Barston, B92 0JU. Follow the link below for the invitation.

 

 

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A Birthday Treat!

I was approached a couple of months ago by a group from Devon wishing to organise a Feltmaking day for a friends’ special birthday.  The aim of the day was to have fun together, experimenting with a range of techniques to make samples and a couple of small projects. These included trying Cobweb felting and Nuno resists, making a flower brooch and learning how to make a Felt purse fitted with a glue in metal kiss lock frame.

We met up at my home studio workshop in Birmingham on the morning of 25th January, with the group having had a very early start driving up from Devon! We began the day after teas & coffees, with the sampling of the Cobweb and Nuno resist processes.

In the afternoon we created three dimensional felt flowers with stamen to make a brooch with. Then using the felt pieces the group had made and dried prior to the workshop, everyone learnt how to sew a felt coin purse with a lining before seeing how a glue in frame was added.

Sandy sent me these photos of the cushion she made on her return home, using the Cobweb felt process learnt during the workshop and her completed flower brooch – love the colours!

Two projects and two samples in one day was ambitious, so I was delighted the group, who had some felt making experience, were able to achieve all their goals. This was especially important to me with the knowledge they had travelled such a distance for a birthday treat, so it was great to receive their feedback – thank you!

“Just wanted to thank you for the fantastic day you did for us on Wednesday. We all enjoyed it and appreciated your relaxed but through teaching style. I was particularly pleased that Sandy had a lovely birthday treat.” Angie

“An excellent day. Well prepared, with materials and notes to hand. There was a good balance of demonstration and clear instructions which enabled us to make 4 samples during the day. Emma’s willingness to share her knowledge and help us along the way, in a relaxed atmosphere, was refreshing. Brilliant – well worth travelling from Devon!” Sandy

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Baby Bootie Commission

I was delighted to be asked to make these tiny baby booties for a friend of Sally Harper- Kenn’s new born baby boy.

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Felt Clock

I recently had the pleasure of making one of my Felt Clocks for the consulting rooms of Jane Arden Pschology Services, and thought I’d share a few images with you here. The clock is made with merino wool and machine stitched using free motion embroidery to create the circular textures around each raised dial numerical point.

Felted Clock

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Felt Pod Vessels Worksop

Lesley Stewart – Sea inspired pod

The Seamless Felt Pod Vessel making workshop which ran on Saturday 18th February was a great morning. It was rewarding to be working with new and returning students who created these pods, all so unique and beautiful.

Group laying out their designs

 

 

 

The pods were made using a combination of grey Norwegian and coloured Merino wool tops with hints of additional silk and dyed Teeswater locks.

 

 

 

 

Everyone used the same process, but varied how they designed their Pod vessels. This was achieved by working with the wool to create different shapes, deciding where to place the openings and the selection and combinations of colours and fibres.

If you are interested in future Pod Vessel workshops with Emma you can visit the www.silversoles.co.uk / www.craftcourses.co.uk or call 07753366795.

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