Textile Artist Alison Corfield

I fell into conversation with Alison Corfield whilst visiting Kirkcudbright last month (click here to see my post about the visit).  My attention was caught by this beautiful piece of work in her home:


It is a machine-embroidered piece set around a large tubular clear glass vase which is placed in a window, so the light coming in illuminates it. There are echoes between the piece and the landscape beyond:


I enquired about the piece and discovered that Alison herself had made it. She describes herself as an embroiderer and mixed-media textile artist. Like me, she had come in to a new experience of embroidery via a City & Guilds Embroidery course and she is now a full-time maker.  She told me that she sells everything that she can make and is working to capacity – quite an achievement!

Later in the day I went to the Art Gallery at the Mill on the Fleet at Gatehouse of Fleet in order to take a look at some more of Alison’s work. There was another example of a semi-transparent vessel in front of a window in the gallery:

Vessel by Alison Corfield

Alison makes pictures, like this one, entitled ‘Lace’ which makes use of antique lace and includes machine embroidery and dyes:

'Lace' by Alison Corfield

And this one, entitled  ‘The Lochan’ which includes paper, fabric, dyes and free-machine embroidery:

'The Lochan' by Alison Corfield

A sumptuous collection of notebooks with richly embroidered covers was on offer:

Book covers by Alison Corfield.jpg

In the same rich jewel colours,there were these pretty floral brooches:

Brooches by Alison Corfield.jpg

And finally, some unusual pendants which included embroidery within.

Pendants by Alison Corfield.jpg

Permission was granted by the artist and the gallery to include photographs of Alison Corfield’s work in this blog post.  You can see more of Alison’s work here.

The Art Gallery is well worth a visit if you are in Dumfries and Galloway. It is situated in a water mill which was built in 1788 , and today you can still see the water wheel which once powered the machinery that spun cotton. You can find out more about the mill here. Next to the gallery is a cafe serving delicious food and above it is a large second-hand bookshop. We were there on a hot sunny day and enjoyed salads on the terrace to the accompaniment of the sound of the river flowing by.  See these photos here to get the idea!



‘Borders, Boundaries & Beyond’ at Old Low Lights, North Shields

This week  I went to an exhibition by three artists, Gillian Arkley, Chris Dixon and Rose Stanley, who show work together as a group entitled, intriguingly…


This is a touring exhibition which has already appeared at the Scottish Quilting Show in March 2017 and the Stitching, Sewing and Hobbycrafts show at Harrogate in May.  I saw it at Old Low Light in North Shields, on a bright summer evening.


The Old Low Light, which was once a lighthouse is right on the Fish Quay in North Shields, and from the building there are beautiful views out to sea.


Within the building are references to its historical past, such as the enlarged nautical map on the ground floor.


A project called ‘Flow’ is being carried on in the building which allows young people with Additional Needs to create art-work for sale – I loved this chair:


The textile exhibition which I had come to see is up on the second floor of the building, in a light and airy gallery. It is entitled ‘Borders, Boundaries and Beyond’. It was fascinating to see how the three artists had played with these ideas in the work they were showing. Here in the North-East we are border people, living near to Scotland. This hasn’t always been harmonious and the border ‘reivers’ (both Scots and English) who used to make raids on properties in the border area between the thirteenth and seventeenth centuries, appeared in the show.

Chris Dixon (2)

We also live on edge of the land, at the border with the ocean, and a beautiful piece in the exhibition full of rich blues and purples celebrated some of the castles set on the north-east coastline.

One textile piece in the exhibition ‘Margins’ by Gillian Arkley, was an installation of letters and tiny fabric books set inside a print-tray. This had resonances for me, as my first job was in publishing and I remember going to a course at the London College of Printing and being shown how the hot metal cast type was selected by the printer from just such a tray and then how each individual letter was set into each line, so a page could be printed. The installation was considering borders in print and the gaps between letters and words – I loved it.

Margins by Gillian Arkley.JPG

Different again were the witty fabric dolls on display.  One, ‘The Boarder’ (clever pun) by Rose Stanley particularly caught my eye. Here was a twelve-year old (called Peaches Abigail Blenkinsop) is off to boarding school, complete with her own doll, a trunk, magazine and the tiniest scaled-down chocolate bar!

The Boarder,  by Rose Stanley.jpg


The artists: Gillian Arkley, Chris Dixon and Rose Stanley  share their sketchbooks as part of the exhibit. This is such a generous thing to do, providing much pleasure and interest for the visitors, to see the creative process at work.

This exhibition is full of delights. See it if you can. It opened on 1 June and it runs until the 2 July 2017 at Old Low Lights, Clifford’s Fort, Fish Quay, North Shields NE30 1JA. The Gallery is open from 10am until 5pm every day.