Connections: An Exhibition

Connections: An Exhibition

I’ve just taken down my work from a Made in Whitstable group exhibition at a local arts centre gallery so thought I’d tell you about the felt pieces I had in the exhibition.

Made in Whitstable is a loose affiliation of artists and makers who have a close connection to the town, on the coast in SE England.

With a diverse artistic group it’s not always easy to find a title that everyone is comfortable with. ‘Connections’ seemed to offer enough room for people to work with in their various styles and mediums.

This exhibition was postponed from Easter 2020 so it was great finally to get some work out there, and to catch up (albeit at a distance and in a mask) with people I haven’t seen for a long time.

As I’ve described in previous blogs, this year I’ve been learning from online workshops. I’ve long been interested in both seed heads and shells and these have both continued to feature in my recent work. Reflecting on this, I realise they are all forms of natural protective cases and although it’s not a snappy title, I decided it was a good ‘connections’ theme for me.

This is a picture I made specifically for the exhibition.

Recycling Oyster Shells: Turnstone at the Royal Native Oyster Stores, Whitstable

These photos show the oyster shells laid out, prefelt shells in a single sheet, then cut up and laid onto a background of white Norwegian batt (lower half) and tan Perendale batt (top half). There’s a recycled silk scarf laid over the tan batt layers to give the impression of a pebbled beach in the distance.

Layout for the turnstone, using a combination of merino wool and prefelt; fully felted turnstone and a trial with two birds. I decided to go for just one. I needle felted the turnstone into place then added the eye, beak, legs and a few feather details

I also made some smaller pictures along the shell & seed pod theme

Top left: mussel shell with recycled silk sea, cotton scrim wave foam and prefelt pebbles

Top right: Oyster shell with mixed wool and yarns and fabric barnacles on a recycled silk background

Bottom left: pink shell on a recycled silk beach with cotton scrim wave foam and mixed wool and silk fibre sea

Bottom centre: paper felt shell on recycled silk background

Bottom right: Corriedale, silk and yarn background with multiple-resist circles, hand stitching and a sycamore key

I also had various 3D shapes in the exhibition.

Left – based on a eucalyptus seed pod. I made this in a wonderful workshop by Gladys Paulus in November 2019. I covered that workshop in my first blog for the Felting and Fiber Forum. Various wool batts and mohair locks.

Top right – conker made in two parts (using the stem technique I learned from Gladys). Outer made from Perendale and Norwegian batts, inner is merino wool tops

Bottom right – based on a hazelnut, also made soon after Gladys’s workshop.

Here’s a poppy seed head I made this year after Fiona Duthie’s Fibre + Paper workshop. Mulberry paper is felted into the felt surface. The paper adds structure, folds and pleats well and can be drawn on / painted. I painted this with watercolours. I had to make the top separately so stitched it on. A local craftsman made the base; the pod is held on a piece of dowel attached to the base.

This nigella seed pod is also paper felt but made side-on with pre-felted ropes and thicker wool sections (not prefelted) to allow variable shrinkage (learned from Soosie Jobson). I had a reclaimed jarrah wood and dowel stand made for this.

Another paper felt shape, inspired by shells, with pleats and nobbles made as a result of Fiona Duthie’s workshop

And finally, I included a few plant holders and some earrings.

Here’s my display area – I did put the cards (bottom right) on a small table!

My display area

There were lots of good exhibitors. Here’s a small selection: top left fused glass by Irene Southon; middle left acrylics by Josephine Harvatt; bottom left watercolours by Sarah Louise Dunn showing local sites commissioned by Whitstable Museum to illustrate a map of the town; right, prints by Linda Karlsen. Work by Irene, Josephine, Sarah and Linda (Wearartworks) can all be found on social media like Instagram and Facebook. They and other exhibitors can also be found on Made in Whitstable’s Facebook and Instagram.

The footfall was rather disappointing and I would guess that sales were down on previous years, but it was really good to get some work out on show and to see what other people had been creating.

21 thoughts on “Connections: An Exhibition

  1. What a beautiful, varied exhibition. No doubt that the pandemic is mostly to blame for the disappointing footfall.

    The way you make your shell beach is fascinating and your birds are so true and delicate. Your display of the seed heads on the wooden bases is very eye-catching.

    Love the photo of the clips on the poppy head!

    1. Thanks very much for your kind comments. The clips are fun, sort of reminds me of ladies at the hairdressers with heads covered in rollers or foils. I’m sure Covid is partly responsible for low footfall. Also the very warm weather – people are on the beach rather than in a gallery. I’m in my harbour beach hut at the moment. Sales are going well and I can’t complain about the sunshine!

  2. Beautiful work, Lindsay! I particularly loved the pods, and especially the eucalyptus seed pod. It reminds me of childhood and I swear I could remember the scent immediately when I saw yours 🙂

    1. Thank you, Leonor. Yes, they really do have a distinctive and lovely smell, don’t they. I have one variety in the garden and though its pods are a different shape, the smell is equally delicious.

    1. Thank you, Jo. Yes, I did get very positive feedback.

  3. You have a very keen eye Lindsay for using the silk & fabric to enhance & create just the right backdrop for your life like birds etc. I’m sure your pictures have caused many folk to stop & observe both at the exhibition and now in the hut.

    Your seeds….are fab – in terms of the varied construction, execution and display. They make a lovely collection in their own right. I particularly like your gumnut – I’m jealous, & you have some in your garden….I’m double jealous.

  4. Thank you, Antje, I really appreciate your kind comments. As for the eucalyptus: it was described as a shrub & is now taller than the (2 storey) house. The variety is Silver Dollar which has beautiful leaves but the seed pods are a bit small and non-descript. Maybe I will bring some along when I next see you and set you another challenge!

  5. Lindsay, your body of work is really impressive. You have certainly gotten the beach, sea, shells etc down to a life-like appearance. And I love the seed pods. So fun in a group, they look like friends😆

    1. Thank you, Ruth. Yes, when I got them all in the same place I realised there’s a harmony of colour/tone as well as theme. I had another seed pod, made in a Judit Pocs workshop, that I took to the exhibition but couldn’t display as the bright blue & purple shades, though lovely in themselves, jarred too much against the rest.

    1. Thank you, Karen. They do seem to stand out & attract attention. I’m not sure people know what they’d do with them (compared with a picture) but it’s good to have some bold shapes.

  6. Wow Lindsay you have certainly produced an impressive body of work over the past few years. On first glance at the turnstone, I thought you had actually laid hold of a real (albeit very dead!) one it looks so realistic.

    I think we may have taken the same workshop with Gladys. It was one of the most chilled yet intellectually fulfilling ones I have ever taken. Love all your outcomes that have been influenced by this learning. (gosh how I would love to do her mask one!)

    How on earth did you manage to match your plant holders so perfectly to the plants? They are just Zen-like in my eyes.

    Sorry to hear the footfall was limited, but I suppose it is understandable given what’s happening at this point. I am totally confident that all your beautiful pieces will find appreciating homes once the world returns to normal.

  7. Thank you, Helene. I can assure you I’ve never felted a dead turnstone though you have got me thinking about how it would work!

    Matching the plants and pots is relatively easy as I buy the plants first and make the holders to suit them. Occasionally the plants have to be replaced, but I can usually find something similar.

    Yes, I loved Gladys’s workshop. She is a wonderful teacher and an inspirational felt maker. Up to that point in my feltmaking journey I was mostly self-taught so she has also inspired me to learn more from others rather than trying to reinvent existing wheels. I’d find the prospect of the mask workshop rather daunting but I’d still jump at the chance.

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