Last week we visited The Spring Knitting & Stitching Show at Olympia, a great event for textile enthusiasts run by our friends at Upper Street Events (who also run New Designers). Like the other Knitting & Stitching Show events it includes great workshops, demos and chances to get involved, competititions, and of course lots of shopping opportunities.
In 2016 the Textile Galleries at the Spring event have increased significantly increased, and so we were delighted that Design-Nation members Michelle House and Nigel Cheney were both there, with stunning displays and a wide range of recent work.
Michelle House is a London-based textile artist whose abstract prints are characterised by bright colours and strong shapes, inspired by a wide range of influences.
Michelle is particularly keen on architecture and at Olympia we saw her Buro Four Thirty by Thirty commission, which celebrates the construction consultancy’s thirtieth anniversary with commissions from thirty artists, an exhibition last year at The National Theatre and a book. Michelle’s four-part work was inspired by the Young Vic theatre on London’s Southbank, which she describes as “an abstract artist’s dream: angles and different surfaces, textured and reflective, all framed within the open doorways and structure of the internal space”.
Alongside this Michelle showed other wall hangings and commissions, including custom-made upholstery for furniture made by Mandie Beuzeval.
Michelle House’s next exhibition will be at SIT Select in Stroud, Gloucestershire, from 30 April – 22 May.
Nigel Cheney divides his time between his family home in the East Midlands and Dublin, where he lectures on textiles and fashion at NCAD, Ireland’s leading art school. His exquisite embroidery and print designs have hitherto been mainly deployed in textile art projects and custom garments, but Nigel is now launching his own range of scarves and wraps. Printed on high quality silk in a wonderful array of subtle colour blends, the designs drawing in his many inspirations: animals and birds, foliage and flowers, chinoiserie and vintage costume.
Nigel describes “the creation of intricate patterns and the layering of colour” as the “backbone” of his work, and he is drawn to story-telling where the main characters are frequently depicted as beautifully drawn dogs, bears and hares. The new body of work is entitled The Forest of Arden, to acknowledge the major Shakespeare anniversary in 2016 (400years since the writer’s death) and the setting of As You Like It, “a place where characters try to relive the golden age”.
Nigel Cheney is currently developing a major new work to commemorate the death of his great grandfather, at the age of only 35 during World War I, which wil be unveiled at our sister gallery The National Centre for Craft & Design in late 2017. The intricately embroidered installation which was started some time ago, references military uniforms, cap badges and flowers of the battlefields of France, amongst many other others.
Liz Cooper, Programme Manager