Last week I wrote a little about teaching at the 2019 Harrogate Knitting & Stitching Show, but in this post I want to share with you some of the aspects of the show that I enjoyed as a visitor.
There are of course many traders and demonstrators at the show, but individual artists also have stands. This year, several had themes around women’s identity. I was particularly struck by these life-sized felted figures by Catherine Kaufman (The Woolly Queen). The central figure below is ‘Miss Haversham’, the character from Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations who was jilted at the altar and continues to wear her wedding clothes into old age.
.Behind her you can see on the left ‘Rapunzel’ with her long hair and on the right ‘The Three Fates’.
Catherine studied Fine Art at Lancaster as a mature student and currently makes her art alongside working full-time in the hospitality industry. These pieces are dry-felted as Catherine likes to build up layers in a sculptural way. The three-dimensional aspect of her work is clearly visible on the back of the figure just glimpsed in the photo above and shown in more detail below. This is ‘Undine’ (the name of a mythical water nymph).
You can find Catherine on Facebook and Instagram as ‘woollyqueen’.
Another eye-catching exhibit was ‘Unfinished’ by Danish artist Sisse Fog Odgaard, who made a series of six full-sized life-rafts from two thousand pieces of unfinished or abandoned knitted pieces that she had collected.
The pieces of knitting were stitched onto a backing of discarded parachute fabric and the joins bound with cord. The finished pieces were stunning. Here is a closer look at the blue one.
This is the red one, glowing in the winter sunlight.
The artist’s purpose was to encourage people to think differently about UFOs (Un-Finished Objects) and so-called ‘failures’ and instead to use them as a springboard to new ideas and inspiration. As she says ‘What if shedding light on our failures could inspire new thoughts and ideas instead of shame?’
You can find out more about this artist at: http://www.sissefogodgaard.dk
And finally to another recycling, re-purposing story. I enjoyed shopping at the stand of ‘The Cone Exchange’ who specialise in rescuing and re-using textile items which might otherwise be thrown away. This year, I bought two packs of fabric for a total of £5.00.
If you have read my blog before you may know that I love the excitement and randomness of a ‘lucky bag’ of fabric (see here for example). Just look at what I got in the first bag…
…and in the second…
As well as raising funds through selling items like the fabrics, The Cone Exchange (which is a Bettys and Tayl’s* community project also teaches about recycling and environmental awareness and also provides work placement opportunities for young people with additional learning needs (a subject close to my heart as I was for six years a teacher of 16-19 year-olds in an SEN provision). *Betty’s is the famous cafe in Harrogate and Taylors is a supplier of excellent tea.
You can find out more about The Cone Exchange at: http://www.coneexchange.org
Thank you for reading my blog. I would like to wish you a very Happy Christmas!