Roots, Shoots and Leaves
From the Earth Exhibition at the Upstairs Gallery, Berkhamsted
18th July – 5th August.
There is something beautiful about a natural approach to textiles and ‘Eco-dyeing’ to name it in general terms, continues with its resurgence in the textile community. The celebration of natural dyes and printing processes as promoted by From the Earth, artists such as Caroline Bell and Jenny Leslie, the work of India Flint and Fabienne Dorsmann-Rey and Claire Wellesley-Smith’s Batsford-published book Slow Stitch all point towards a different approach to creating and executing ethical practices and thoughtful approaches to textile work.
Last year marked the first exhibition of From the Earth. Set up to encourage ethical textile practices, it was successful in attracting new and established artists to take part. In 2017, a second, smaller exhibition was mounted at the Upstairs Gallery and although without some of the bigger names from the 2016 exhibition, it still produced a striking exhibition.
There was a combination of wall-hung pieces and dimensional work. The wall-hung work included printed, dyed, stitch and woven pieces such as work by Caroline Nixon (below left and middle) and Carole Nicholls (below right).
Jackie Hodgson’s Rust Spray and Rust Tree (detail shown below left and right) demonstrated simple shape and line but made good use of contrasting fabric and stitch. Earth Mother was created from wonderfully rich colours and simply stitched pattern.
More complex patterns could be found in Joanne Bowes’s Hidden (below left). Angela Rossi’s Den for the Gods (below right) brought a splash of colour in her textured paper pulp piece.
The dimensional forms brought a richness to the exhibition. From Ross Belton’s Scrim Bowls which were beautifully formed and stitched and his constructed Nests (below left and middle) to Rita Johnson’s pods (below right), these were all pieces that were displayed beautifully and showed organic forms in an artistic setting.
Caroline Nixon had several pieces in the exhibition and her tailored jacket garnered much praise. Beautifully printed and stitched, this was a definite highlight.
This exhibition runs until 5th August at the Upstairs Gallery.