Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Experimental Textiles at the NEC 17th - 20th March

Visitors to the show looking through the girls workbooks.

I was hoping to post this before Easter - but my get up and go seemed to get up and wander off. I always forget how the big shows take it out of you.
However, I am here now.

Fashion, Embroidery and Stitch is my favourite show. It is just bonkers and has something for everyone. It is always good to meet up with visitors and friends from all over the country in some cases - all over the world. 

I had two sets of students exhibiting this year. My ExTex 4 girls (Experimental Textiles 4) had their end of year show and the previous years group were exhibiting on the IDC stand. They have formed a group - Out of Line. More of that further down this post.

The ExTex 4 end of year show.

Having work in a show and stewarding the exhibition is a wonderful opportunity for the students. Being able to speak to the visitors about techniques and skills they have learned on the course makes a huge difference to their confidence. It helps them realise just how much they DO know. The students can choose to make a finished piece of work for the show - or continue with samples, building up their portfolio. As the course is not accredited - we have a lot of freedom. I can work with the students individually and we don't have to tick boxes.

It all starts with a Journey.

I teach the Journey exercise all over the world, well Europe, Australia and New Zealand. I devised it in 1996 and have been teaching it in some form or other regularly ever since then, it is also featured in my book Experimental Textiles.

Some of the Journeys and the design work that comes from them.

A selection of samples on display - lots for the girls to talk about.

A small selection of their 3D work was on show. These were silk paper vessels.

The end of year show was very well received and the girls were really pleased with the response from the visitors to the show. If you were one of the many visitors that stopped to chat - thank you.

We have recruited all but one of the 10 places for the 2016/17 course which starts in June.

This will be the last course of Experimental Textiles in this form.


The previous years course - ExTex 3, had an extra 5 weekend sessions with me from July 2015 to March 2016. It was more of a finishing off course. Talking about professional practice, how and where to exhibit and getting some work finished. We call this course ExTeXra!!! There will be another one - the last one, from June 2016 to January 2017. Only ExTex students can do the course.

So the ExTex 3 group have formed Out of Line - so appropriate . . . in SO many ways!!
Brenda from IDC where I teach Experimental Textiles, gave the Out of Line group some space on her stand to exhibit. They put it to good use.

There was fabulous selection of work from Out of Line, from 3 D pieces  to mounted and framed work. Mostly worked in hand stitch - but there was some machine stitch. I must admit to being an advocate of hand stitch, however the groups can choose to use any form of stitch they like, or not to stitch at all.


As you can see, the work is varied, I always encourage personal development so students develop their own style. Inspiration for these works came from varied sources - a cruise to Iceland, pebble prints, interpretation of rock strata and much more besides.

It was great to see all the work together and for the girls to be in charge of hanging the work and setting up the stand. I think it is harder for me to let them go, than for the them to leave.

A separate mention for Mary's amazing Turkish Coat.

A detail of the front and side taken when Mary was still constructing the coat at college.

The out side of the coat is intricately pieced with hand dyed fabrics. The lining is hand dyed silk decorated with cracking from using a flour and water resist. These photos don't do it justice - it is a remarkable piece of work.


So - that's it for the minute. I am teaching Transforming Transfer this weekend at The Bridge in Brighton (there are 2 places) and then off to Excel for the Stitching, Sewing and Hobbycraft Show next week.

Watch this space.


Hello Diana, not long now, Jill it was good but far too short, 
and Hello Tod - I will ring soon. Love to you all

x x x

1 comment:

  1. Definately too short, next time maybe.... Great write up of the show, should it it all over again! Xxx