My textiles – washing day!

I suppose that I have always thought of textiles as the fabrics that surround us every day of our lives.

This is a huge collection alone, from the clothes we wear to the soft furnishings, carpets and decoration in our homes.

In some parts of the world textiles are the difference between providing an income, being able to feed your family or having to live in poverty.

Textiles in their basic form are materials made by the main processes of weaving, felting, knitting or bonding.  There are other processes like crochet and lace making as well.  Before man invented these processes he used animal hides and plant material for his needs.

Traditionally we have used natural fibres, cotton, wool, silk and linen to produce the textiles we need but in the early 1900’s manmade fibres were produced commercially for the first time.  Now we can mix the two to produce textiles that give us the best characteristics for their required use.  We use elastane for its elasticity in denim jeans for example and Kevlar® for its strength and durability which is used in my motorcycle clothing and boots.  Less common natural fibres are also now being developed like hemp, coir, sisal and bamboo.

We also talk about the ‘fabric of a building’, the materials that a building is constructed of.  So are these materials textiles as well?  They certainly can be bonded, and woven metal is used to prefabricate and strengthen them.  Manmade fibreglass and natural wool are used for insulation products and traditionally wattle and daub was used to construct walls.

The only things that I would not consider to be textiles are gases and liquids as they have to be contained within another structure to be used.  However I am sure that someone will be able to correct me and show me that they can be textiles too!


Home by the sea

These photos were taken at Martello Beach, Clacton on Sea.  I walk Bella my dog on this beach because its a quiet sandy beach.  I walk from the Martello tower towards the notorious Jaywick which has the most lovely beach in contrast to the village which is one of the most deprived areas in the UK.


Bladderwrack seaweed brings back childhood memories of beachcombing and trying to pop the pods on this strange plant.

Oyster shell on the beach

I was amazed by the colours of this oyster shell partially submerged in the sand on the beach.  The colours are so beautiful and bright amongst the browns of the sand and grit.


Bird feather on the beach

I don’t know which type of bird this feather comes from but it was a lovely grey colour with little yellow marks on the edges.


Turner Contemporary – Margate Kent                                                                                                       Joachim Koester – The Other Side of the Sky – 25th February 2016

Exhibition of the work of Danish artist Joachim Koester paired with selected watercolours by JMW Turner.  Koester’s work covers the past 10 years and plays with the art of storytelling through 16mm film, sound and photography, taking a journey to different times, places and states of consciousness.  Turner’s work is a group of watercolours which offer a new perspective on the painter’s later watery landscapes.

Flickering film projectors, photos of abandoned American property following the US subprime mortgage crisis and images of cannabis plants. In the area where Turner’s exploratory watercolours are exhibited was a large ‘building’ constructed of lengths of reclaimed timber. Inside this structure is another film being played from a projector.


Joachim Koester – hut instalation – photo by Manu Palomeque – https://moosejawwoodworks.com

I have wanted to visit the Turner Contemporary for a while but have never found the time. We had treated ourselves to a few days away in Deal so it seemed like the ideal opportunity.  I did not know in advance, who or what was being exhibited so I had no preconceptions.

I did not find anything inspiring about this exhibition, I could not relate to the flickering images of lines and patterns bouncing around on the large projection screens. Images of people dancing around in a state of ‘Tarantism’, photographs of Cannabis plants and empty American commercial property did not connect with me.  Maybe because I haven’t tried any type of recreational drug, I could not appreciate the journey or feeling he was trying to portray.

Turners group of watercolours show his brush marks and experiments with colour which are more relevant to me in my journey in textile studies.

Also being displayed within the Turner Contemporary was a exhibition of work by a Kent based artist Rose Wylie, again not someone I had heard of before.  There was a selection of her work and a video of her talking about her work.  You see her working and being interviewed in her studio.


Rose Wylie – Inglorious Basterds 2013 – https://www.newarteditions.com


Her paintings are simple in execution, they are bold in colour and cover a wide and varied subject matter.  She talked about painting scenes from films and includes the name of the director and the character in her images.

I really like her work and although I don’t know exactly what each piece is about they are interesting and bold.  She herself is a fascinating character.

I have not been to many exhibitions and I know that I have a lot to learn about how other people express their creativeness, this is just the start of my journey into a new world.



Stitch Stories – Cas Holmes – Batsford 2015 – London

Sources of inspiration –  Carolyn Genders – A&C Black 2002 – London

Mark-making in Textile Art – Helen Parrott – Batsford 2013 – London

Slow Stitch – Claire Wellesley-Smith – Batsford 2015 – London

Drawn to Stitch – Gwen Hedley – Batsford 2010 – London

New design in stitchery – Donald J. Willcox – Van Nostrand Reinhold 1970 – New York

Designs for machine embroidery – Ira Lillow – Charles T Branford (USA)  1975 – London

Scribble Stitchery – Barbara Snook – Batsford 1972 – Tiptree, Essex




Embroidery Magazine – Embroiders Guild

Selvedge magazine – Selvedge Ltd – London. http://www.selvedge.org