Friday, 11 March 2016

Olympian threads and textile treasures

Last week my friend Susan and I, went to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Olympia.  Unlike Alexander Palace, the exhibition was smaller and unfortunately we were disappointed that there were no book stalls, no art supplies and too much knitting and dressmaking for our interests.  Despite that there were some absolute gems to be found that made our trip across London worthwhile.

There were only about six main exhibitions by textile artists or groups, but if there was little in quantity, there was certainly quality.  The first stall we particularly enjoyed was the work of Neil Cheney, an artist working in Ireland who uses mainly digital techniques.  He had created a body of work based on the Forest of Arden from Shakespeare's As You Like It (see above).  The pieces were built up in layers, and showed real skill in their designs.

Next door we visited the stall of Mary Sleigh and Jan Miller and their exhibition, Somewhere in Between.  I had met Mary a couple of years ago at an Eastern Region Textile Forum conference, and we had both met Jan Miller as she had run a workshop for the E.A.S.T group we both belong to.  So not only was it a delight to see their work, but we spent quite a lot of time chatting too.  

(Work by Mary Sleigh)

(Work by Jan Miller)

Another stand we spent quite a while looking in detail at was the work of Louise Baldwin (below). 

All three exhibitions made the trip to Olympia worth the journey plus there was one other gem in the trade stalls.

Linladen is Swedish for "the flax barn", and the company has developed from a old factory, closed in the 1960s, with a supply of beautiful linen yarn left behind.  They are now selling it in reels or in sets, and also sold pieces of fabric and books of Swedish embroidery designs.  The threads were of beautiful texture and colour, and it is a stall well worth seeking out in the future. 

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