Le Mans exposition

My exhibition in Le Mans, France opened this weekend, hosted by the town of Le Mans and facilitated by Atelier de Genevieve. I’m incredibly grateful to Genevieve for organising and curating the exhibition. The layered, peeling paint and crumbling textures on the walls of the Pavilion Monod make a wonderful backdrop to the neutral tones of my work. The exhibition is on until 29th October.

mud cloth

Alice Fox weave strip

At Easter I collected some mud from a tributary of the Severn Estuary, whilst down in Somerset. The tubs of this lovely mud have been sitting patiently in my studio, waiting for me to open them up and play with their wonderful smooth contents. I’ve been weaving away at a long strip for quite some time and this came off the loom last week. Although it was woven on a table loom, once off the loom I manipulated it so that most of it became densely packed, covering the warp in a tapestry weave structure.

Alice Fox Mud Cloth

This morning the strip was coated in the silky estuarine mud. Freshly muddied and still wet it has taken on a ceramic quality. It will dry slowly now and its surface quality will change as it does so. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens to the surface as it changes.

looms

Alice Fox inkle loom

I’m developing some new work in the studio at the moment. I’m experimenting with various weave techniques and enjoying being back at a loom. I have a table loom that was rescued from going in a skip a few years ago. This spends most of its time sitting in my studio looking rather redundant but I’m making good use of it now. I’m preparing a series of samples, on which I will then experiment with other processes. I love the act of actually making a structure that becomes a fabric and I’m aiming to end up with some quite three-dimensional pieces… but that could all change.

I am also playing about with an inkle loom (shown above). When I acquired my Grandmother’s floor loom (currently sitting redundant, but maybe over the winter it will see some action) there came with it a whole load of paraphernalia, much of which I didn’t know what to do with. Sadly, Granny died before my career change and my professional interest in textiles developed so I didn’t get to share this interest with her. She spun wool and wove rugs on the loom I now have and I wish I’d had an opportunity to learn from her experience. I do have some of her rugs though, as well as a couple of her paintings.

One item amongst the box of wooden accessories I realised was an inkle loom and I’ve just been working out how to use it. I bought a book but this still wasn’t very clear and I realise how different it can be to learn something when you are shown what to do rather than trying to understand a written instruction. With the help of various online instructions and a couple of false starts I got the thing warped up and have started to weave on it. I even found Granny’s little heddles, made from some strong yarn, that had sat in amongst other things and I hadn’t realise what they were for. They’re still strong and now in use on the loom.

Alice Fox Inkle loom warped

And as if those two looms aren’t enough, I’ve got a couple of tapestry frames on the go too for more samples.

group gathering

What happens when 10 artists are each given a vintage shirt collar as a starting point to an artwork? If you are any where near Ledbury, Herefordshire this Saturday or until 19th July do go along to the Shell House Gallery and find out. As well as the collar pieces there will be work for sale by the participating artists. You can find out about all the artists here.  If you like words too Ledbury Poetry Festival is on during part of the exhibition period.

invite1

leaf lexicons

Alice Fox Leaf Lexicon (oak) in progress

I’m working on some pieces for an exhibition called Coded: Decoded with Prism this May and Autumn. A Language of Leaves is a series of works loosely based on thoughts about asemic writing and the forms that leaves make when they fall and are arranged on the ground. Asemic writing is that which has no specific meaning or semantic content. It can suggest meaning but is open to the viewers’ interpretation. I’m making a series of ‘lexicons‘ (a catalogue of a languages words) with different leaves.

Alice Fox Leaf Lexicon (scots pine) in progress

looking and links

In the last few weeks I’ve seen some wonderful and inspiring exhibitions.  A trip north took me to Perth where I saw the moving work of Angus McPhee, a man who spent most of his life in a psychiatric hospital choosing not to speak and devoting his energies to weaving structures with grass and other material gathered from the hospital grounds.  There is a touring stage show that tells his story, which sadly I didn’t see (although it is still touring). Through this exhibition I discovered the beautiful work of Joanne B Kaar, who created  replicas of some of Angus’s ‘garments’ for use in the stage show.

Angus McPhee peat creel

In Edinburgh I visited the Dovecot Studios and saw the lovely Fleece to Fibre with its wonderful links to the people who were involved in producing the wool used to weave a tapestry version of Victoria Crowe‘s Large Tree Group.  My favourite bit was actually the back of the large tapestry (still on its frame) where you could see all the hand written labels showing the breed of sheep the wool was from and the person who had spun it.  The whole tapestry was made using natural tones of wool from different breeds of sheep.

Ilana Halperlin We make geology

Also in Edinburgh I visited the National Museum of Scotland to see this intriguing exhibition by Ilana Halperin. Ilana’s use of geological processes to collaborate in making her work was really interesting and there is a lovely guide to the exhibition that you can download from the page I’ve linked to above.

Back home I had my first visit to see Cloth and Memory {2} at Salts Mill.  My friend Hannah is exhibiting in this and used my spinning wheel to spin fibre that she found at the Mill into balls of yarn that are included in the exhibition, so I have had a sneaky insight into a bit of the work before it all went up. There is a lovely film here that shows her spinning the wool in the amazing space where the exhibition is.  Because I live just up the road and the exhibition is one for a couple of months I can take my time with this one and visit as many times as I like: there is a lot to see.  On my initial walk round a coupe of things really caught my eye, including some little interventions on the crumbling walls by Jeanette Appleton. They reminded me of this project by my friend Ruth.

pavement pieces

Alice Fox Pavement Piece #16

I’ve been working on some small textile pieces that are part of the series of works called Gifts from the Pavement.  These compliment the paper based prints that formed the original exhibition.  They are made in the same way, building up layers of rust print, collagraph print (both using found objects from the Saltaire streets) and stitch, but this time on silk.

Alice Fox Pavement Piece #20 detail

Alice Fox Pavement Piece #16 detailAlice Fox Pavement Piece #16 detail 2Alice Fox Pavement Piece #17 detailAlice Fox Pavement Piece #18 detail

These ones have just gone off to the framers and I have a little stack to work on through the holidays.

 

concrete textile

Last week I collected my Beach Ghosts prints from Artlink in Hull and took a little time on my way back to say hello to the Humber Estuary.  I walked briefly on the foreshore almost under the north end of the Humber Bridge.  It isn’t the most glamorous foreshore in the world but there is something about that point where land meets water that is captivating whatever the situation.

Alice Fox Humber bank sketch

I took a brisk walk in the sharp wind, making a few quick scribbly sketches before the biting cold took hold of my fingers.

Alice Fox Humber bank concrete textile 2

The bank here has the most intriguing erosion control.  It has a fluid smooth form and was obviously created using a textile basis filled with concrete that was then hardened.  These bulging shapes still have vestiges of their textile origins but are now solid concrete, complete with zips and woven surface texture.  It reminded me of the innovative stuff some textile designers and artists have done integrating concrete in their work, for example here, here and here.

Alice Fox Humber bank concrete textile 1Alice Fox Humber bank concrete textile 3