Well I have lots to show and tell you so this will be a long post. Why not go and grab a cuppa and settle down to enjoy this textile extravaganza!
The Macarthur Textile Expo
Yesterday I visited the Macarthur Textile Expo at Camden Civic Centre. It was a grey, coolish late Autumn day outside but inside was a riot of colour and form and a pleasant buzz of people. There were market stalls where you could buy anything from fat quarters to some really beautiful and unusual fibres; the various guilds had tables showcasing their talents – embroidery, spinning and weaving, knitting and crochet, and quilting. (Sorry if I’ve left anyone out) And there were classes where you could try something and take home what you made. While I was there the spinners and weavers were doing their thing. If I had a criticism at all of the Expo (constructive only becauseI think they did a great job) it would be to more clearly advertise within the Expo what classes were on at what time. I couldn’t see anything.
The Macarthur Textile Challenge
According the website the theme for the challenge was:
‘SEEING YOUR WAY, SEEING OUR WAY’
We all have a pattern. A weave. A past. A present.
Many threads of family history have brought us here.
Sometimes the thread breaks… but we all came from the same garden many years ago.
How can our hands bring together our diverse threads and create a pattern for a future together?
There were so many beautiful, unusual, fun and touching entries. I asked permission to photograph some to show you and was given permission as long as the artist was credited. The standard was extremely high and I wish could show them all but here are some of the entries that caught my fancy. I hope you like them too.
Renaissance by Debby Dewhurst
In her artist’s statement Debby says “‘Renaissance’ symbolises history’s broken lines reborn over time. Changing yet remaining the same.” She continues “Hydrangeas have been a favourite of mine since playing among them in my grandparent’s garden. They are now flourishing in my garden.” I’m afraid the photograph really doesn’t do this piece justice. The 3D effect of the hydrangea petals really doesn’t show but when you stand in front of it, it just makes you want to reach out and touch them.
True Colours by Susan Wilson
Susan says ” This small appliqued, quilted and painted art quilt represents eyes of all colours that look for ‘true colours’ in others. Perhaps our world would be a better place if we could look beyond the obvious to understand others better and see the world from new perspectives.”
Susan has been quilting for 10 years but says that she has been “dabbling” with art quilting for only two. This looks way more sophisticated than “dabbling” to me.
Knit One Purl Two! by Sandie O’Neill
Sandie’s artist’s statement says “It never ceases to amaze me how knitting has the ability to transcend barriers, cultural, language, even age. You may be in a place where you know no one, pull out your knitting, and from across the room there is a nod or a smile and suddenly you are no longer alone. There is a connection through the art of knitting.” The two felt hands are from different cultures and co-operate to create a beautiful intertwining that will become the fabric of something that can be used.
Let’s Talk by Sandie O’Neill
Sandie says that talking sticks have always fascinated her and that “this simple and powerful object empowers people. It provides a safe place to say what is in your heart and be heard without fear of reprisal or humiliation.” I think her talking stick is exquisite.
Memories from Baghdad by Zahra al Mudhaffar
Zahra was born in Iraq and grew up in a large family in Basra, southern Iraq. She moved to Baghdad when she got married and her seven children were born there. While she has travelled extensively outside Iraq – including in Lebanon, Britain, and Spain – over the last 30 years Zahra says ” I will never ever forget my beloved country, Iraq”. She continues “Today I live in Australia with my children and grandchildren and the ties of my past are entangled with my present and future.”
Her applique expresses her love of the land of Iraq with “its golden minarets and domes, the sun shining brightly on that rich country, rich with its history, culture and religions.”
Patched Together by Maria Rofe
Maria says “Our community is like a patchwork quilt. Each person and group has their own identity, symbol, texture and colour. As a group we come together like a rich tapestry, each contributing to the other, fitting side-by-side in harmony”. She goes on to say “… although different, we all hold on to common values such as peace, friendship, loyalty, family, love and respect.”
Scrumbled Garden by Vicki Davenport
Vicki Davenport not only entered a beautiful piece of art but she’s wearing one too. Doesn’t it look fabulous! Vicki says of her piece “This abstract piece looks at the garden from above. There are many diverse threads, weaves and patterns which connect together to form a community of design.” Vicki chose the garden as her interpretation of the challenge theme because “throughout history gardens have drawn us together to admire their beauty, or to be places of solitude and reflection, to celebrate or commemorate occasions of sorrow in both public and family life and are an inevitable part of any community.”
Vicki’s work is made from small knitted or crocheted shapes called “scrumbles” a term coined by Prudence Mapstone the innovator of freeform knitting.
And speaking of Prudence Mapstone…
Prudence gave a short address and formally opened the Macarthur Textile Expo. She also had a stall that showcased her work and where you could buy her amazing books and some really unusually beautiful fibres. The word “cornucopia” comes to mind when I see Prudence’s work – it is so abundant, vibrant and visually stunning.
For those of you who don’t know Prudence and her work please visit her site Knot Just Knitting where you’ll find an explanation of freeform knitting and be able to see some of her really intriguing works.
She has several books available from beginners up. If you’re looking for one try Freeform: serendipitous design techniques for knitting & crochet which describes her techniques as well showing you some of the wonderful things that can be made using the freeform technique. I have to say my photos really don’t do justice to the examples of her work shown here. You can follow her on her blog if you’re interested.
What more could there be?
Well I couldn’t be surrounded by all those beautiful yarns and other goodies and come home empty-handed could I? Well I didn’t. I bought three balls of the Capriccio yarn. I haven’t done any knitting for ages and I just got a pattern for a swirly scarf so I’m knitting furiously at the moment. I did take some photos but for some reason this yarn just doesn’t photograph well. If you want to see it take a look here. The one I bought is number 63.
I also bought this handy pack of small organisers which are perfect for putting needles, pins and bobbins of thread to take to sit and sews.
This post took several hours to put up so I hope that you’ve enjoyed it as much I enjoyed visiting the Expo. I’d love to hear what you think of these challenge entries. If I can find out what won the Challenge I’ll let you know.