Sunday 26 March 2023

Cecilia Vicuña - Brain Forest Quipu at Tate Modern Turbine Hall

Cecilia Vicuña - Dead Forest Quipu (detail)

Chilean artist & poet, Cecilia Vicuña, is currently exhibiting her Brain Forest Quipu in the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern, London.  Her installation references the Andean Quechua people's use of the quipu or knot, used instead of writing to record and remember things such as statistics, poems and stories.  Vicuña calls the quipu "a poem in space". They originated 5000 years ago and were banned after the European conquest in the 16th century. Many were burnt and destroyed at that time but their symbolism remains part of Andean culture today although the exact meanings behind their formations and colours is not now known.

Cecilia Vicuña - Dead Forest Quipu (detail)

Cecilia Vicuña - Dead Forest Quipu (detail)

Cecilia Vicuña - Dead Forest Quipu (detail)

This multimedia installation is an act of mourning for the destruction of the rainforests and its subsequent effect on climate change and the violence against indigenous peoples.  The installation comprises 3 elements. Firstly, two Dead Forest Quipu sculptures which are 27m textile pieces hanging from the ceiling.  These include different materials woven together with found objects, unspun wool, plant fibres, rope and cardboard. Then there is a Sound Quipu including indigenous music, silences, new pieces by Colombian composer Ricardo Gallo and field recordings from nature. And lastly a Digital Quipu which shows films of indigenous activists and land defenders from around the world who are using digital platforms to get their voices heard.

Cecilia Vicuña - Dead Forest Quipu (detail)

Cecilia Vicuña - Dead Forest Quipu (detail)

Cecilia Vicuña - Dead Forest Quipu (detail)

Some of the items included in the sculptures were collected from the banks of the River Thames by women from local Latin American communities.  This is typical of Vicuña's use of modest, imperfect found materials which she calls "precarios" (precarious)

Cecilia Vicuña - Dead Forest Quipu (detail)

Cecilia Vicuña - Dead Forest Quipu (detail)

bone white colour of the sculptures evokes the bleached bark of trees killed by drought or intentional fire or other dried out substances like snakeskin.

Cecilia Vicuña - Dead Forest Quipu (detail)

I saw this when also visiting the Magdalena Abakanowicz exhibition - plenty of textile art on show to whet your appetite! 

The Cecilia Vicuna exhibition is on until 16 April 2023.

Saturday 18 March 2023

Creature Comforts at JGM Gallery, London

Woojin Joo - Re-New

Way back in December 2022 I went to the JGM Gallery in Battersea, London to see the Creature Comforts exhibition.  This was a textile exhibition exploring the multifaceted aspects of textiles - comfort, chaos and conflict.  It was great and here are my highlights...

Woojin Joo - Glove Dokkaebi

Woojin Joo's work is inflenced by the East Asian culture she grew up in. Her pieces were unusual and fascinating using lots or free machine embroidery.  Her Glove Dokkaebi was a creature made from a lost glove. Dokkaebi are Korean mythological creatures like a kind of goblin. It is believed they are formed by the spiritual possession of an inanimate object like a lost glove.  They are thought to be able to interact with humans to play tricks on them or to help them.  

Woojin Joo - Ten Symbols of Longevity (detail)

Freddie Robbins had both machine knitted and hand knitted pieces.  I liked how the handknitted word "courage" cast its shadows...

Freddie Robbins - Be Afraid

Freddie Robbins - Courage

I loved the bright colours and graphic style of Martin Maloney's embroidered piece. This was embroidered in Afghanistan using one of Martin's collages as the design...

Martin Maloney - Red Velvet (detail)

Molly Kent's weaving had a dramatic quality...

Molly Kent - Stuck in Limbo


Alice Kettle's distinctive style of hand and machine stitch was in evidence here...

Alice Kettle - Lady With A Bowl

The exhibition closed in January but you can get a flavour of it here.

Saturday 11 March 2023

Annie Montgomerie - Hand Me Downs - Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Annie Montgomerie - Giraffe

Annie Montgomerie's anthropomorphic creatures capture a sense of nostalgic childhood when children played hide and seek, skipped along the pavement, explored the woods whilst wearing hand me downs from their siblings and couldn't keep their socks up.

Annie Montgomerie - Toftly the Dog

Annie Montgomerie
- Urshalla the Cat

Cats, dogs, foxes, alpacas, bears and more appear in her collection and often have a special "loved" toy with them. 


Annie Montgomerie - Alpacas, Bombom the bear, Locka & Eztree the foxes

Her making starts with the face which she creates from muslin and glue until she has a hard outer shell whilst the body and clothes of her creatures are made from vintage finds. Annie says, "I use muslin, 100% wool felt, ‘up-cycled’ wool garments, velvet, leather, cotton, moleskin and blankets for wall hangings and figures. I then stitch on curious little things I find including vintage buttons, charms and jewellery."

Annie Montgomerie - Agny the Sun Bear

Annie Montgomerie - Blip the Mouse

They are skillfully made and spookily realistic. I found them rather unsettling but fascinating.

Annie Montgomerie - Fizzle the Owl

Annie Mongomery - Pidge the Pigeon

The Hand Me Downs exhibition has closed now but was at the wonderful Yorkshire Sculpture Park which is always a great day out.

Sunday 5 March 2023

New Liberty Print Necklaces Available in my Folksy Shop

Liberty Print Fabric Necklaces

This is just to let you know that I've restocked my Folksy shop with some new Liberty print fabric necklaces.  You can find them here.  

Liberty fabrics

And here's a closer look at the fabrics I've used.  There's traditional, geometric, floral, bold, graphic, whimsical, bright - in fact something for everyone!  There's a bit more detail about the prints over on Folksy.  I was particularly pleased to find the Pattern Map fabric below.  Who doesn't love a nice map - particularly one illustrated like this.

Pattern Map Fabric and Necklaces

All the necklaces are made with Tana Lawn which is a beautiful soft cotton that feels great against the skin.  You can tie the necklaces with a bow or a knot and vary the length from choker to mid chest depending on what you're wearing.  They can even be carefully handwashed.  What's not to love!

Liberty Print Fabric Necklaces

Do hop over to Folksy and take a look...

Liberty Print Fabric Necklace in Pietra Dura Print