Industrial Abstract

Alice Fox Fabric of the Building Green Wall & Wall ii

Fabric of the Building gets another airing from this Saturday.  It is showing at The Beetroot Tree, Draycott, Derbyshire as part of Industrial Abstract.  I’m really please to be showing this work again.  It was my final degree project and most of it has been tucked away at home since I graduated.  It includes works on thick industrial felt, paper and digital projection.  There are elements of print, embossing, manipulation, natural dye, and hand stitch. I’m looking forward to installing it in a different space and getting those animated stitches covering a wall in the gallery.

The exhibition is on from 20th April to 8th June and there will be a ‘meet the artist’ event at the gallery on Saturday 4th May.

>focus

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It’s decision time this week at college. We have to decide which of last semester’s projects we want to take forward and develop into our final collections. There were various points during last semester when I switched my views on which was ‘the’ project but I’ve now decided.

I’m taking forward the green architecture one, currently called Greening Surfaces. This is very much inspired by contemporary architecture but focusing specifically on sustainability and actually a personal disappontment of mine that contemporary architecture, despite often being stunning visually and having many improving credentials on the sustainability stakes, doesn’t have more actual greenness. If every new building had a green surface (a wall, a roof, even parts of a wall) it would:

make for a more dynamic, living, exciting built environment;
improve habitats in urban areas; increase biodiversity; link up fragmented habitats…


In semester 1 my visual and textile development centred around grid structures, repeated units, greening of surfaces (literally and not so), exploring materials that are used on and in buildings.

One reason for choosing this project over the beachcombing theme was that this one was less resolved and therefore has further to go. It is more of a challenge. I can see myself adopting the way of working I developed in the beachcombing project once I finish my degree. That project had a very personal angle to it and I will come back to it. The one I’m taking forward now is less personal and so I have to find a way into making it so, making a closer connection.

(Image: this evening’s sky)

>greening surfaces

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I’ve done lots of stitching this week and just don’t want to stop! I’m so enjoying it. The industrial felt that I’ve managed to get hold of has made all the difference to this Green Solutions project. It is wonderful to sew into. I struggled for a while transferring my ideas from the paper based work that I’d so enjoyed to textile processes. This project is very much about materials and bringing the right ones together: Right in the sense of sustainably produced and sourced ones and in terms of the ‘look’ they have and the combinations of hard and soft.


When I visited the Knit and Stitch Show a couple of weeks ago (sadly a very brief visit this year due to all sorts of snowy adventures!) I made my customary visit to the Habu Textiles stand. This is not done lightly: Their yarns are breathtakingly beautiful but the price reflects this!

I chose this very dark brown linen and this lovely blue wool with stainless steel(!), both with my green solutions project in mind.


My colour palette has grown fairly organically from the one that I constructed at the beginning of term and is really dictated now by the use of copper in its polished form and in its verdigris form.


I’ve cut the industrial felt into blocks, little repeated units, onto which I’ve stitched and embellished and added various experiments.



Monday’s crit has been cancelled so we now just have to have everything ready, finished and presented for Friday. This means a week of pulling things together, neatening up, mounting and updating. I started a little of this yesterday and was pleased with how things are starting to come together. I do still have small bits of making to finish though so I really must concentrate on those and then I can turn my attendion to the presentation of it all.

>light and shadows

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I did some mark making yesterday that followed on from some of the sketches and paper experiments I’d done on my Green architecture project, but it was all wrong. The lines were too dirty, messy, not clean and precise enough. Suddenly I felt constricted by working on a small scale too. I’m comfortable working at sketch book size usually, perhaps a bit too comfortable. I was relying on things I know work… but this time they didn’t.


So I left it all alone and came back to it today. I haven’t started working on a bigger scale yet, that’s to come, but I did play about with some of what I’d done that I wasn’t happy with, adding layers of tracing paper that take elements from the layer below and add something to them.


I also took some photos of some of my sketchbook pages held against the light:


Current listening: The Unthanks, Here’s The Tender Coming

>zero carbon

>I’ve been longing to draw. I’ve been stuck, unable to get started. I know that when I’m away, on holiday or visiting somewhere new I can really draw and its part of the way I experience a new place. But I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve made a resolution to draw regularly at home. I’ve tried all sorts: leaving sketch books around the house, putting aside a certain time each day. But somehow it doesn’t happen, it hasn’t become part of my daily routine in the way that I’d like to. I can go to an exhibition like the one I visited last week and get all fired up and then the rest of life gets in the way.

Anyway, yesterday I had a small break through and got going with drawing for one of my college projects – Hooray! Perhaps I have to accept that it is only when I am faced with or immersed in a specific project that I can really spend the time drawing that I want to.


I visited ‘one of the UK’s greenest buildings‘ at Harlow Carr, near Harrogate. It is a shame that my journey there wasn’t zero carbon like the building!



Once I’d spent time exploring the building and drawing bits of it from all sorts of different angles I had a brisk walk round the garden, visiting some of my favourite parts. I came across this installation by Alex Metcalf that I’d not seen before. There are a number of headphones dangling from this lovely tree and when you put them on you can hear the noise of what is going on inside the tree!


Its hard to grasp that the electronic kind of noises you hear through the head set are actually generated by the tree and I suppose its been magnified significantly so you can actually hear it, thus elevating the sound to something quite removed from what you imagine a tree might sound like.


What would you image the inside of a tree might sound like?

Current listening: The insides of a tree? Actually the insides of a computer!