Soft Monuments exhibition, KODE, Bergen.

So  I’m trying a new approach to this exhibition , I want to see if  putting the artworks as a gallery sames time and adds clarity. I will edit the photos using my notes from the exhibition as and when I find time. I think that this is the sort of task that I will be able to do from my phone app while I am out and about.

KODE Bergen is spread over several buildings, I thought that KODE contemporary seemed a good starting point. I was delighted with this bonus exhibition that I was not expecting.

First gallery was an exhibition of Norwegian and international artists, work was grouped in rooms with specific themes.

Of particular intrest to me was the gallery face off between Heidi Kennedy Skjeve and Thomas Pihl. these two pieces would look almost identical in a book, but close up couldn’t be more texturally different. Heidi’s work was about surface detail and the gallery information emphasised that it being made of textile was secondary , it is art made of textile rather than a textile art work. Interesting.



Scandinavia 2015 notebook

What an amazing summer I’ve had.

Campervan adventure via France and Germany to Denmark, Sweden, Norway and back. I managed to see several amazing exhibitions,  drink in some amazing landscapes, and pick up some handy textile techniques.

If you click on the link you can see the video I have made of  my notebook!

Not very professionally, and not very exciting but figured it may be useful to learn how to embed videos into my blog – had to start somewhere!

Traces of life exhibition at Dalarnas museum, Sweden

As part of planning for my summer 2015 Scandinavian adventure I was delighted to find out about the Traces of Life exhibition, a collaboration between Textile Study Group in the UK and Swedish group Textil13.


So added Dalarnas museum in Falun in Sweden to the route and was far from disappointed.There are links to a couple of articles about the exhibition that are quite descriptive with some good photos.

My first impressions, noted in my travel journal are; first the generous space -light and airy with natural light filtering through gauzy window coverings. Five rooms with different wall treatments, work wall hung, suspended, or on plinths,  to optimize the presentation of the work.

The Rebozo exhibition at the Fashion and textiles museum was an eye opener. This is the first exhibition dedicated to contemporary textile artists, specifically stitched work in this case, that I have seen, and it was wonderfully exciting and inspiring.

I have the catalogue for the exhibition, it has an artist statement and one example piece of work. it was useful to have some insight whilst looking at the art. It is interesting to see which pieces were chosen for the catalogue compared to the impact the individual works had on me. It was interesting to compare what I read into the actual work before reading the statements, and also just how much more richness there is in seeing the pieces in real life compared to a book or website. I was almost as enthralled with the shadows cast, and slight movement of the fabrics as I was with the beautifully textured surfaces. I also really appreciated that there was enough trust in the general sensibleness of the public, that there were no alarmed barriers and you could peer closely at all the treasures. (I forever embarrasingly set off alarms in UK exhibitions- never with intent to touch, but just to really look closely)

In the first room on the opposite wall to the entrance I couldn’t help but be drawn to ‘Between me and the sky’ by Sian Martin. hung in front of a voile covered window with the ghost shadow of a steeple from the world beyond it hangs jewel like, moving gently with infrequent drafts. It really doesn’t compare with the photos that I had already seen

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mixed media woven textile – silk organza, linen, photo slides.

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This work by Kay Greenlees connects the copper mining community in Falun and the British coal mining industry, Kay investigates through her work, worker exploitation, poverty, death and political manipulation. I found it a very powerful piece, raised thoughts about the generations of miners, treasures, pillars of the earth – miners and minerals, the dark colours spoke to me of the oppressiveness of  govermnents destroying communities.

I really like the book Kay produced – Creating sketchbooks – its been a real treat since coming home to look at her sketch work and that of other artists in the exhibition that she included, really puts things in context.

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Gwen Hedley, what a joy to see her work , her book Drawn to Stitch is fabulous (again it has sketch and development work of several artists in the show)  I love the contrast between the warmth and humour in her Casual Conversation pieces, Gwen paired up with Renee Rudebrant and they reflect some of the exchanges between the two artists, and the observation and execution of Bark Marks , and Restoring – which investigates erosion and represents patterns in old Swedish braids.

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Kerstin Sapire – Beautifully observed and stitched works

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Elisabeth Kalvenes Skallsjo does not use sketches!!! she prefers to work freeform, and very lovely her work is too, very calming with some incredible textures – I think she must be super observant with a remarkable memory.

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Sarah Burgess

Growing within the gallery this thicket of pruning celebrates the extraordinariness of being alive whilst acknowledging fragility and frailty

Burgess is interested in found materials which become objects of myth, metaphors for life and loss. wabi sabi. poetic simple beauty.

Anna Granberg 

These creatures are over a meter lond and suspended so you have to look up at them, the shadows are magnificent and prolific due to multiple lights. The  accompanying headphones played a soundtrack that took you from gentle buzzing insects and fairy piano to sirens and industry to bleak wind and disjointed piano, a post apocalyptic world where leached chemicals and over exploitation of nature takes its toll. The stuff of dark fairytales using reclaimed materials. Loved this. The sound made it a really imersieve experience.

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Alison King

This powerful piece recalls a sermon by James Black at the end of world war 1. I’ve taken a look at her website for some top tips about incorporating paper, image and stitch.


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Sheila Mortlock

A completely different perspective, looking down really felt different, I was big like Alice for a while…

Again some really interesting colour application and stitch marks.

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Jenny Bullen

With the hindsight of seeing the painting Double Brown at ARos this now reminds me very much of a birch tree, though there is nothing in the artist statement to suggest that this is so..

(I am super proud of learning hyperlinks in this blog, now I will endeavour to link to my own posts- like time travel!)


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Jan Miller

I loved this work, simple in some ways, a very carefully considered less is more. I really want to investigate incisions and slash marks, my note book questions –  Different implements will make different cut patterns ; blunt = ripped etc – I can start experimenting with the next project, preparing paper for stitch.


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Kristina Blixt

In her artist statement Kristina says ” ‘Traces of Life’ is such a broad theme, therefore, the images and works have become very diverse.”

I found all her approaches interesting in different ways and although differing in approach they still felt cohesive.

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Nature Skor 2015 –

an intriguing collection of nature, I can imagine thinking about the ancient landscape, walking through Sweden like the ancestors, gathering, this feels totemic, shadows again seem an important part of the piece.


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Beautifully textured felted bust. Stilla Liv? is this a husk of body with life moving on?

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Lovely stitch work and interesting textures

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These took me back to the ancestors,  like cave paintings I saw in France.


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ATV assignment 2 – End of part one – consolidating my folio of drawing – written reflection.

Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary
Feedback at the end of Part One
Consolidating your folio of drawing
This is not an assignment, but your tutor will want to see evidence of your progress in Part One.
Collate your work from Part One into a drawing folio. There is no need to mount or crop any pieces; simply place them in a simple lightweight card folio for protection.
Don’t send your drawing folio to your tutor at this point as you’ll need it to inform the textile and material developments you’ll work on in Part Two. However, you may wish to email up to 10 of your drawings (send scans or clear photos) to your tutor for some brief comments.
Alternatively, if you have your learning log online as a blog, you may wish to place your 10 drawings there for your tutor to view. Email a link to your blog to allow your tutor to give you some brief comments on your progress.
Written reflection
During your work on Part One, you should have made some notes that form a written record
of your decision-making and reflections as you progressed from project to project. Draw your thoughts together by further reflecting on what you’ve learned over the course of the projects.
Write about 250–300 words. Think about what new knowledge you’ve gained and consider what you’ve learned from observing and drawing textiles and other visual sources in this way.
Include this written reflection, clearly labelled, in your  blog.
This folio of work will serve as a point of departure for your future textile development.
There must be some point of departure; a beginning is to develop an awareness of the visual background, so that looking with purpose and intent becomes second nature. This kind of observation takes some time to perfect and entails concentrated and conscious effort but with this increased awareness, familiar surroundings take on a new meaning and interest.
(Howard, 1996, p.14)
I feel sadly really disappointed with the work I have produced and it has been difficult to narrow it down to 10 drawings, I have managed 18 mediocre ones…
I think the main problem is that I have progressed massively with understanding  the task, my knowledge of mark making for a purpose has grown enormously by researching into contemporary practice, and museum visits – particularly the Traces of life exhibition in Dalarnas.
My favourite drawings are probably the oak, yew, and birch drawings. This is good because I did these last!
I will approach the textiles drawings very differently next time. I really loved the research stage and got very engrossed in world textiles, at the time I think I experimented with different mediums and techniques – I know that I should not expect perfection when I am getting used to the drawing process, but I haven’t yet developed the gentleness to myself that I need to develop a more graceful acceptance of the learning journey. The journey is a gift I can embrace, rather than be so concious of some future, unknown , end result.  I’m quite worried about which elements of my drawings will be useful for the next stage of this assignment though, and expect that my view of mark making will change considerably again after this exercise.
The second issue is with subject matter for the plant drawings. When I started the task, choosing to focus on my garden plants for convenience was a cop out. Perhaps I need to choose subject matter that I resonate with. In response to seeing so much amazing textile work over the summer, I have started to apply some thought to what my textile story might be – I feel doubtful that it will be connected with conveniently located plant life!

ARoS – Aahus museum of art vist.

Aahus museum, Denmark

A wonderful educational experience, a visit to Aahus museum encourages interaction and has free wifi and a free phone app with extra information about many of the art works. There are information boards around the galleries, with introductions to art movements and gallery themes that are informative, and not in the slightest bit condescending. The gallery walls have a changing colour palate with no fear of bold combinations.

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Not much textile work evident but some very thought provoking works. I particularly appreciated Botanical portrait by Richard Mortensen and Forest track by Edward Weie, I have been drawing plants for assignment two and these paintings really gave a fresh perspective on marks that represent plant forms.




There is a beautiful painting of Birch trees called Double Brown

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I love the patchwork of paint used to represent the tree bark and have all sorts of ideas about using paper collage, and fabric and stitches to make bark marks.

I was also delighted to find a whole gallery relating to colour.IMG_3177 IMG_3178

Olafur Eliasson  is a name that has cropped up several times in colour studies and experiencing his instalations was delightful.




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I am working out how to make a flikr gallery to upload the rest of the ARoS photos as a future reference source I will put a link here when this is achieved!