Textiles in Focus is on annual exhibition I haven’t visited before; it’s quite a long way from me but on the route to my daughter’s home. This year it coincided with a family visit so we diverted to it off the A14. The college provided an excellent venue with plenty of light-filled space for the exhibition and the all-important traders’ rooms.
Two textile groups had their work on display, New Horizons and Material Girls, so there was plenty to see. I liked the Material Girls’ theme of basing work on different cultures and they presented a fascinating range of techniques and design approaches.
The photograph (taken by Val Harrowven) is of one of my favourite pieces but my apologies to the maker as I didn’t make a note of her name.
As usual the traders’ hall had plenty of opportunity to give in to temptation. Slow Loris offers wonderful embroidered and appliqué work from Chinese tribal minorities collected by Martin Conlan. I could not resist a truly beautiful piece of cloth; repeatedly indigo dyed, then with other natural dyes, then beaten and burnished. The depth of dark coppery loveliness was irresistible. I don’t know what I will do with it yet, it deserves careful thought to make the most of its lustrous surface.
A book by Bobby Britnell was another purchase. ‘Stitched Textiles: Flowers’ is a very practical introduction to surface decoration of fabric, with clear instructions on various techniques. I have liked her work very much for years and she has a clear, graphic style, a sure use of colour and the techniques don’t overwhelm, they enhance, the design. I shall be experimenting with some of the printing method in the coming weeks.