Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Henry Hussey Reliquaries Exhibition

Henry Hussey: Betrayal
Henry Hussey: Solidarity

British textile artist Henry Hussey works with actress Maxine Peak to inspire Reliquaries 

Henry Hussey’s solo show Reliquaries opens at Gallery 8 in London on Monday 12 July 2016. 

Hussey’s work for Reliquaries is drawn from three key inspirations from the artist’s life. His relationship with his father, death and memory, and a growing political awareness. Within the overall works of Reliquaries, there are two other bodies of work, The Last Breath and Locking Horns.

Hussey describes the making of such artworks as cathartic in that they deal directly and honestly with the complexities of his familial relationships.  Hussey found out that his father had two families, neither of whom knew of each other, and the anger arising from this informed his work to date.  This inspired the body of work Locking Horns.
Henry Hussey: Expulsion

Now the artist has chosen to move on from the catalyst of this anger towards his father and the work in Reliquaries, also addresses the concept of memory and death, and the idea of a fractured, divided England.

Using actors to create live performances of the work Hussey envisions and feed his inspiration.  Most notably, the performances for The Last Breath were enacted by renowned actress Maxine Peake. The sessions with Peake allowed Hussey to capture genuine responses to emotion through drawing, photography and audio recording, paying careful attention to the responses of the face and body to specific emotional intensities. 

Hussey says of Peake “The pathos she can convey is incredible. Maxine not only embodies the spirit of the work, but working with her inspired me to develop new areas of work and inspiration. The growing political comment in some of the works arose directly from our partnership.”

Henry Hussey: Jerusalem

Death and memory play a large part in Hussey’s ‘Reliquaries’ series. Rooted in the artist’s personal history, the artworks explore the ways that memories of a person are fragmented and composite – pieces of a life that are assembled in hindsight. Materials are significant within everything Hussey makes but perhaps none more so than in ‘Reliquaries’, in their allusions to Victorian mourning clothing, jewellery and domestic interior preparation by way of respect and remembrance.

The series of work Locking Horns explores what Hussey describes as his anger toward his father. Using diary-like sections of stitched text that leave no room for misunderstanding in tandem with striking, sometimes quite violent images, pieces such as ‘Eclipse’ and ‘Betrayal’ are powerful and intimate slices of a relationship that speak of power, control and usurpation. 

Another series also titled ‘Reliquaries’, meanwhile, uncovers aspects of death and memory. Again rooted in the artist’s personal history, the artworks explore the ways that memories of a person are fragmented and composite – pieces of a life that are assembled in hindsight. 

Henry Hussey: The North

Working with a range of traditional and contemporary processes such as embroidery and digital printing, his textile-based artworks utilise these materials as emotionally expressive tools. Materials are significant within everything Hussey makes but perhaps none more so than in ‘Reliquaries’, in their allusions to Victorian mourning clothing, jewellery and domestic interior preparation by way of respect and remembrance.

Henry Hussey completed a BA (Hons) at Chelsea College of Art, 2011, followed by an MA in Textiles at the Royal College of Art, 2013. Hussey has exhibited in Hong Kong and nationally in the Bloomberg New Contemporaries exhibition, 2014, and the Royal Academy Summer Show, 2014. The artist is based in Surrey, UK. Henry Hussey is represented by Coates and Scarry, curators of internationally ground-breaking shows and exhibit at Art Context Miami and New York.

Reliquaries is presented by Coates and Scarry at Gallery 8, 8 Duke Street St James, London, 12-30 July 2016.

Text supplied by Damson Communications

More of Henry's work can be found at his website:

Henry Hussey

Monday, July 18, 2016

Textile Nature by Anne Kelly

Plants, flowers, gardens, insects and birds are a rich source of inspiration for artists and designers of all kinds. This beautiful guide demonstrates how to get the most out of your surroundings to create original and unique pieces in textiles.

Beginning with a chapter on drawing from nature, the book demonstrates how to use sketchbooks and create mood boards to explore your local environment and landscape. The author demonstrates how to make small pieces such as folding books based on observational drawing and stitch. Moving on to a section on floral inspiration, the author shows how to use plants and flowers in your work, from using stencilled flower motifs as embellishment to printing with plants onto fabric and making simple relief prints. Finally, the Taking Flight chapter demonstrates how to move into three-dimensions and sculptural work with birds and insects made from cloth.

Featuring step-by-step projects as well as work from contemporary artists, makers and collaborative groups throughout, this practical and beautiful guide shows how practitioners of all kinds can draw from the natural world for making and inspiration.

At 128 pages, and stacked with full colour photos of work by such artists as: Meredith Woolnough, Cas Holmes, Carol Naylor, Kim Thittichai, Alice Fox, Hillary Fayle, and many more, this is a great book for anyone who has an interest in connecting nature with textiles, and would be a great source book and constant reference guide for any textile artists library.

Textile Nature, along with Anne's previous book in collaboration with Cas Holmes Connected Cloth: Creating Collaborative Textile Projects, can both be bought on Amazon, as well as other reputable outlets. 

Anne Kelly is a textile artist and tutor. She trained in Canada and the UK and now teaches and speaks to guilds and groups. Her work is exhibited widely in solo and group exhibitions, including private collections in the UK and abroad, the Vatican Collection in Rome and at the Textile Museum of Canada in Toronto. She was recently artist-in-residence at Sussex Prairies Garden in West Sussex and exhibited at the international World of Threads Festival and the Prague Patchwork Meeting. She is the co-author of Connected Cloth, also published by Batsford.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Inspirational 11 is Released Today!

Today sees the release of Inspirational 11, which has the theme of Word & Symbol. Twenty Two contemporary artists that range from painters to poets, from needlework to collage, from the aesthetic to the cheeky, all have a place in this issue.

Inspirational 11 comes in at 224 pages with 174 full page, full colour illustrations. Each artist has a segment of this portfolio Inspirational, each giving a description of their work and how they personally work with words and symbols. Then each artist has chosen 6 to 8 images of their work to illustrate their personalised text. 

It was important to me that Inspirational move on from me giving essay crits of artists work, I thought it time that they spoke for themselves through text and imagery, so that is what I have done here. I have pulled back and allowed the artists to be their own voice.

Pulling together such a large and diverse group of artists, isn't easy, and at times I didn't think that I was going to make the deadline in time, but I did, like I always do, and to be fair, you couldn't ask for a more generous, and genuinely friendly bunch of people as those featured in Inspirational 11, I am fortunate indeed.

The list of artists appearing in this new issue of Inspirational are, in order of appearance: 

Alicia Eaton Lewis - mixed media artist
Anatol Knotek - artist and visual poet
Brian Kenny - multimedia artist
Chazalon Respress - fine art painter
China Marks - fiber artist
Dana Frankfort - fine art painter
Emma Parker - fiber artist
Emmanuel Signorino - fine art painter and photographer
Gregory Siff - visual artist, designer, writer, actor
Henry Hussey - fiber artist
Ines Seidel - mixed media artist
Johan Deckmann - text based artist
Jordan Alan Brown - poet and photographer
Laurie Doctor - fine art painter and calligrapher
Lisa Anne Auerbach - fiber artist
Maria Wigley - fiber artist
Mark Hopper - fine art painter
Meg Hitchcock - sacred text collage artist
Peg Grady - fiber artist
Peyton Freiman - visual artist, writer, actor
Sara Impey - fiber artist
Sergio Albiac - fine art painting and collage artist

...and the guy gracing the cover of Inspirational 11? Gregory Siff

I hope that you enjoy this issue of Inspirational. I really enjoyed the journey of putting it together, learnt so much from connection with all of the artists. Wonderful!

Anyway, this issue along with Inspirational 1 through 10, can be bought from the Inspirational page, tag at the top next to HOME, or simply by pressing HERE

Please enjoy.

Monday, July 04, 2016

Sheree Dornan - Living Art

Sheree Dornan: Boro(d) digital print cascade dress

It is always wonderful when art takes a broad stroke, when it transfers itself from one designation to another, one discipline to another, one world view to another. To connect art to a place that seems to others to be outside of itself, outside its natural remit, is to really understand art, to understand its central purpose in our lives.

Art is not there to be rarified, to be part of an ever accumulating collection, something to be passed on to future generations to maintain and then pass on again. Art is there to be lived, to be part of the now, it is there to be wrapped around the psyche, to be part of the everyday as much as it is of the special. Which is why art and design connections are particularly special.

Sheree Dornan: Boro(d) digital print on silk

Sheree Dornan: Boro(d) digital print on silk

From fine to design doesn't always work of course, there have been many disasters, many half attempts, many ill-considered ones as well. Often, art was stuck on top of a discipline, as if it were merely a form of signature from a particular artist, that it would somehow give cache to the discipline it was attempting to attach itself to. However, when it works well, when the connection is focused, sympathetic, and understood, then it works exceedingly well. 

The artist and designer Sheree Dornan has certainly succeeded in connecting and combining art and costume. Her beautiful works are so effortlessly interchangeable between fine art on a wall, and fine art on a body. This is no mere decoration of a garment, but is in fact an art piece draped upon a living person.

Sheree Dornan: Boro(d) digital print, detail

Sheree Dornan: Boro(d) digital print, detail

With minimal cutting and no waste Sheree is able to provide elegance and flow to her work. Garments appear to move as if the body that wears them is still part of the artwork, which in many ways they are. To wear a costume by Sheree is very much wearing a piece of artwork by Sheree, the two are connected so organically, that the space between one and the other cannot be seen.

Boro(d) is the name Sheree gives to her featured work. She cleverly uses the borrowed word  and technique of boro, and places it within the larger context of Boro(d), and although indeed borrowed, Sheree has made this technique and process her own.

Sheree Dornan: Boro(d) digital print, detail

Sheree Dornan: Boro(d) digital print, detail

Boro is derived from the Japanese term meaning something that is tattered and/or repaired. It is a word and definition that has many explanations, and many particular and conceptual meanings depending on who you are, and how you want to see it. But it is about the continuation of a piece of cloth, one that is maintained and added to over the years, allowing the integrity of the piece to remain even as it is modified and added to throughout its history, rather like maintaining a family quilt through constant repair.

Sheree produces her borrowed concept of the boro, her boro(d), using a working process that focuses on specialised digital printing techniques onto selected silk base cloths, producing limited edition runs of each print design. 

Sheree Dornan: Boro(d) hand dyed, hand stitched panel

Sheree Dornan: Boro(d) hand dyed, hand stitched panels

She uses mostly rectangular pieces that can be either made into fine art hangings, or suspended, or draped wall panels, or they can be formed into garments by draping them onto a mannequin with minimal cutting and no waste. Each garment becomes, but its very existence and making journey, an individual piece, with no other copy, no short or long runs, just the individual piece in its entirety.

Hand editing is done on each piece with embellishing techniques such as stitching and beading. The hand editing is applied to both the fine art wall panels as it is to the fine art garments, in many ways making it even more apparent that the creative techniques and process is the guiding line between fine art and costume, so that art becomes costume, and costume becomes art. 

Sheree Dornan: Boro(d) installation fashion forms exhibition

Sheree Dornan: Boro(d) mixed media on canvas

This is the defining point in Sheree's work, that combination of art and design, of wearing a garment that has been part of the process of fine art, because it is fine art. Being closely connected to an artwork is always a difficult process for many, but to be mesmerised by wearing a piece of fine art work, to be integral to the canvas, it couldn't get much better than that.

More of Sheree's work can be found at her website: and

Sheree can also be found on social media: twitter, facebook, instagram

She is also one of 35 artists featured in the book Textile Visionaries: Innovation and Sustainability in Textile Design by Bradley Quinn

Please be aware that all of the imagery provided for this article, was indeed provided by Sheree. If you want to reproduce any of the images of her work, please ask her first. Thanks!

Sheree Dornan: Boro(d) panel detail with digital print boro patches

Monday, June 27, 2016

Inspirational 11 - Word & Symbol

Sorry for no news until now regarding Inspirational 11, I have been like an octopus with a tentacle in so many different projects, from writing articles, to promoting artists, to figuring out how new projects are going to work practically. Involved in a really exciting and large-scale one that is slowly coming along, pretty breathless about that, but keeping quiet about it for a little while longer.

Anyway, it is time to release the first article about the coming Inspirational 11. This Inspirational is going to take the same route as Inspirational 10, as in a portfolio of artists that run on a theme. The last issue had the theme of eight years of The Textile Blog, and starred all of the contemporary artists that have been featured over that period. Inspirational 11 has the theme of Word & Symbol and stars the work of contemporary artists that use words and symbols as an integral, or significant part of their work. 

I have been so lucky to be able to get such a rich cross section of contemporary artists for this issue. There are fine art painters, textile artists, mixed media artists, all of the highest caliber. the full list of artists that have agreed to be featured is as follows:

Alicia Eaton Lewis, Anatol Knotek, Brian Kenny, Chazalon Respress, China Marks, Dana Frankfort, Emmanuel Signorino, Emma Parker, Gregory Siff, Henry Hussey, Ines Seidel, Laurie Doctor, Lisa Anne Auerbach, Maria Wigley, Mark Hopper, Meg Hitchcock, Peg Grady, Peyton Freiman, Pokras Lampas, Sara Impey, Sergio Albiac.

The release date for Inspirational 11 is set for July 11. Information regarding Inspirational 11, as well as all the other issues of Inspirational, can of course be found at The Textile Blog site, as well as on social media, links to which can be found to the right of this article.

That is all for now. I hope you enjoy your week ahead, and thanks for your patience.

john x

Monday, June 20, 2016

Claire Louise Mather - Nature and Textiles

Claire Louise Mather: Springtime, detail

Textile artists and nature so often seem to go hand in hand. It is not always the case that textile artists have nature as their primary inspiration, but more often than not you will find the connection there, it is a connection of intent. 

There is something about the physicality of textile work that seems to draw artists time and again to the natural world as canvas. Sky, earth, ocean, and all the permutations between, have fascinated and continue to fascinate textile artists. 

There are so many interpretations and projections of the natural world, all of which are valid, intriguing, adding always to the burgeoning vocabulary that is contemporary textile art.

Claire Louise Mather

Claire Louise Mather: Memories of March

One of those contemporary textile artists who have the natural world as a central pillar to their creativity, is Claire Louise Mather. Claire uses a combination of photography, collage, and textiles in her work in order to reflect on her own observations of nature. 

She is intrigued by all aspects of the natural environment, from the slow cycle of seasons, the constantly changing weather patterns, the slow grinding down of surfaces, all are part of the environment that she wishes to be part of, and in taking part, to also project back through her work, and out into the world of the viewer.

Claire Louise Mather: April Dawn

Claire often visits and revisits familiar spots in the environment in order to record and enjoy the changes that so often go unnoticed in the natural world. It is these changes that in many respects show us that we are alive, show us that movements are always cyclical, that birth is part of decay, and decay is part of rebirth.

This is an artist that has photography as an integral part of her initial work. She uses the camera as an ongoing sketchbook, detailing experiences of surfaces, textures, landscapes both large and small, all of the details that go eventually to make up her compositions.

Claire herself says that her work is "an exploration of drawing with stitch," one of constant experiencing of surfaces and textures. Texture, colour, and pattern are always visible in the artists work, and it is a combination that has no real end as each new composition is a new exploration, a new discovery of an always changing landscape. And that of course has to be the most exciting in its appeal to the artist, a landscape that both unfolds and renews within a constant cycle, giving an endless scenario of change and familiarity. 

Claire Louise Mather

Claire Louise Mather: Yorkshire, detail

With that in mind, enjoy the work of Claire as she both works through her fascination with, and intrigue over, the natural environments that she so effortlessly makes her own.

More of Claire's work can be found at her comprehensive website:

All of the imagery of Claire's work shown in this article were generously supplied by the artist. If you want to use the imagery elsewhere please ask her before doing so. Thanks.

Claire Louise Mather: View From Long Lane

Monday, June 06, 2016

Tamar Branitzky - Artist and Designer

Illustration: Tamar Branitzky. Textile art

There is a space in textiles, as in other disciplines, where art and design can play an interactive game. The singular subjectivity of fine art and the general practical requirements of design may seem to be poles apart, but anyone who has worked in both fields will know how the two share more than they sometimes wish to admit. 

Creative individuals who straddle art and design are actually relatively large in number, I myself have a design degree, as well as fine art training and sensibilities, and find it relatively easy to move between the two, understanding and empathising with the two different outlooks on creativity.

The artist and designer Tamar Branitzky is just that, an artist and a designer. Her work straddles the two worlds, with some of her output being aimed specifically at the fine art world, and some specifically at the design world. 

Illustration: Tamar Branitzky. BO1 fabric

Illustration: Tamar Branitzky. BO1 fabric

Interestingly, her work, both for art and design, are not instantaneously separated by look and feel. Tamar manages to a lot of crossing and weaving between the subjective and the practical, with elements of fine art coming out in her design work, and design principles being encased in her fine art work. To me that seems like the best of possible outcomes, to have an element of practicality within fine art, and a level of sensitivity within design work is what we definitely need more of!

Tamar's initial inspiration for both fine art and design, often comes from the natural environment around her. She is particularly interested in the stages of life as seen amongst flora, particularly flowers themselves, being intrigued at the processes to be found between blooming, decomposition, disintegration. She collects flowers and branches, readily combining them with free-hand drawing.

Illustration. Tamar Branitzky in her studio

Illustration: Tamar Branitzky. Sketchbook

Tamar is keen to make representations in her work, to show contrast and to show passage, to detail the effect the travel of time can have over an object, such as the bloom of a flower. The detail of colour, tone, and texture that happens as part of the passage of flower from bloom to husk is an integral part of her work, and can readily be seen on many of the textile surfaces that she produces.

As far as her fine art work is concerned, she uses a range of materials, including fabrics, papers, old books, maps, stamps, watercolour drawings, and real organic materials. The combinations of the materials used give Tamar such a broad scope. The flexibility and delicacy between paper and fabric for example, inspires a near magical relationship that gives Tamar endless possibilities.

Illustration: Tamar Branitzky in the studio
Illustration: Tamar Branitzky. Textile Biennale, Eretz Israel Museum

Tamar has also processed and developed her own fabric techniques, which she has called BO1. BO1 fabrics are handmade artistic surfaces created using a unique chemical process. The fabrics are made up of a combination of chiffon, silk, and cotton, and can be used as a variety of fashion and interior accessories, from scarves and clothing, to lampshades, upholstery, and co.

Tamar produces textile work, whether for fine art or design, in such beautiful combinations, where colour, tone, and texture play with and against each other in ever differing compositions. All is unique, all is beautifully complex, and as with nature, Tamar's supreme inspiration, all is forever changing.

Illustration: Tamar Branitzky. Wearable art scarf

Illustration: Tamar Branitzky, 2015

More of Tamar's work can be found at her comprehensive website:, as well as on etsy: She can also be seen and followed on pinterest:, and  instagram:

All photographs of Tamar's work were provided by: Roy Mizrachi, Gilad bar Shalev, Eretz Israel Museum.

Please also be aware that all imagery was kindly supplied by Tamar. If you wish to reproduce any of the photos please ask her for permission first. Thanks!

Illustration: Tamar Branitzky. Textile art

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Inspirational 10 is now on sale

Just to let you know that Inspirational 10 is now on sale. This issue is a little different from the other Inspirationals as I have taken the opportunity of celebrating 8 years of The Textile Blog. In that 8 years I have been able to feature a whole range of contemporary artists, and I thought that it would be a great idea to be able to revisit them through the context of Inspirational. Therefore, 45 artists have been brought together for Inspirational 10, all showing a selection of new work, as well as a summary of where they are presently on their creative path. Not much writing from me in this issue, apart from an introductory, I have left the artists and their work to speak for themselves.

All of the artists featured in order of appearance are: Deb Lacativa, Lisa Hochstein, Valerie Goodwin, Cathy Kleeman, Peggy Brown, Nelda Warkentin, Cynthia Corbin, Carol Taylor, Altoon Sultan, Gerrie Congdon, Pat Dolan, Denise Linet, Helene Davis, Pat Pauly, Deborah Gregory, Ellin Larimer, Wen Redmond, Terry Jarrard-Dimond, Brenda Smith, Domine Nash, Linda McCurry, Erin Wilson, Nancy Clearwater Herman, Diane Savona, India Flint, Rayna Gillman, Jette Clover, Marlene Cohen, Judith Plotner, Karen Stiehl Osborn, Jeanne Raffer Beck, Clare Plug, Andrea Vail, Mitchell Manuel, Stanley Bulbach, Martin Ebrey, Kirsty Wallace, Anthony Stevens, Dennis Potter, Barbara Tomecak, Mary Mazziotti, David Lasry, Roxanne Lasky, Giulia Gazza, Jennifer Gaye.

Inspirational 10 can be purchased, along with all other issues of Inspirational on the Inspirational page above. 

I hope that you enjoy this special and help me celebrate 8 years of The Textile Blog.

Have yourself a wonderful day.

john x

Monday, April 25, 2016

Inspirational 10 - a Textile Blog Celebration

There has been some great progress as far as linking Inspirational 10 with the celebration of eight years of The Textile Blog. After some thought, I came up with the idea of using the next issue of Inspirational as a portfolio of all the contemporary artists that I have featured over the eight years of The Textile Blog, featuring work that they are producing now, and getting them to say a little something about where their perspective as an artist is currently. In a way it is perhaps a fitting celebration of what The Textile Blog has become, a vehicle in which to feature and highlight the work of contemporary creativity.

So, I have contacted all of the artists that have been featured on The Textile Blog, from way back in 2009, to a month or so ago in 2016. Bit of a daunting task, contacting and recontacting fifty artists from all corners of the planet, but I have done it and I am heartened by the enthusiasm and generous support from all those corners of the planet, aren't creative individuals the best!

Anyway, in no order of appearance, these are the artists that have agreed to be part of the next issue of Inspirational: Altoon Sultan, Andrea Vail, Anthony Stevens, Barbara Tomecak, Brenda H Smith, Carol Taylor, Catherine Kleeman, Clare Plug, Cynthia Corbin, David Lasry, Deborah Gregory, Deborah Lacativa, Denise Linet, Dennis Potter, Diane Savona, Dominie Nash, Ellin Larimer, Erin Wilson, Gerrie Congdon, Giulia Gazza, India Flint, Jennifer Gaye, Judith Plotner, Karen Stiehl Osborn, Kirsty Wallace, Linda McCurry, Lisa Hochstein, Marlene Cohen, Martin Ebrey, Mary Mazziotti, Mitch Manuel, Nancy Clearwater Herman, Nelda Warkentin, Pat Dolan, Pat Pauly, Peggy Brown, Rayna Gillman, Roxanne Lasky, Stanley Bulbach, Terry Jarrard-Dimond, Valerie Goodwin, Wen Redmond.

There are still a handful of artists that I am waiting to hear from, but the majority are on board with this project. Many of the artists are sending in new, never before shown work, which is wonderful.

This special issue of Inspirational now has a fixed release date of May 9, which I am really looking forward to. 

Thanks again for all of your support over these last eight years. All support, whether major or minor, is always warmly appreciated, and it makes a difference.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Inspirational 10 - A Celebration of Textile/Fiber Art

Here we are again with another start to an Inspirational issue. This one is going to be different than that of the others that have gone before it. It is a celebration of sorts, as this issue will also coincide with the eighth anniversary of The Textile Blog, and I wanted to do something special for that, eight years being a near lifetime for a blog.

Therefore, I have decided to make issue 10 of Inspirational, a portfolio issue dedicated entirely to the best of contemporary textile/fiber artists. I have a number of artists that I would like to include in this issue, but would love to hear from you with suggestions on who you think might be good to include in this special. I am open to any suggestions, as long as they are within the textile/fiber world.

It seems like a good idea to me to do this special. The Textile Blog has been good to me, it has introduced me to many online friends and connections that I would never have had without it, and although it has been hard work, it has been worth it.

Inspirational 10 will be a bumper issue, as I want to get as many and as varied a group of artists as possible. It will be coming out on May 2, but more details can always be found at The Textile Blog.

Thanks for your support and patience over the first nine issues of Inspirational, and thank you all for your continued support of The Textile Blog. I hope that in some way Inspirational 10 will be my personal thanks for that support.

john x