When I was studying for my degree, one of my favourite modules was Cultural Perspectives in Textiles. For the first time since GCSE art, we were told to forget about concepts and justification of our ideas. Instead we were to toss away our art theory books and celebrate colour, pattern and texture. The more decorative, the better.
I looked forward to my Cultural Perspectives lectures every week, because I was free to do what I always enjoyed the most - make something just because it looked pretty. Here are some of my pieces from the module.
I made this piece using traditional Indian Kantha stitching. Kantha is based entirely on running stitch, and was orignally used to layer old saris together to create blankets. This piece uses border designs, beading and cutting-away.
Shisha is mirror work - using embroidery thread, you make a decorative surround to hold the mirror firmly in place. The best Shisha work holds the mirror so firmly that it's impossible to remove without cutting the fabric or thread. It is notoriously tricky! My first few attempts were disasterous, but when it finally clicked I was quite addicted.
Tree of Life
This is a traditional Indian motif. The piece is acrylic on canvas and incorporates block printing with acrylic paint, beads and sequins.
This piece was inspired by Hindu wedding ceremonies. I'm not normally a fan of weddings, but Hindu weddings are so vibrant and colourful that you can't help being swept up in them. During the module I found myself buying Asian wedding magazines just for the gorgeous images! The title "Vivaah" was hurriedly slapped on it when it went into an exhibition in 2009 - it means "marriage" in Hindi.
There are more samples like this scattered around the walls of my sewing room - I do enjoy having a bit of colour to inspire me while I'm working.