‘Textile Travels’ is arriving!

I am very excited and proud to announce the arrival of ‘Textile Travels’ , my fourth title for Batsford Books on the 1st October. In these challenging times it is wonderful to have a new book to celebrate.

The book is as the Batsford advance information says:

An evocative exploration of how travel – local and far away – can inform, inspire and enhance textile art.

Travel has always featured heavily in textile art, from artists’ ‘travelling sketchbooks’ to large-scale installations mapping coastal erosion or the effects of climate change. In this book, renowned textile artist Anne Kelly shows how to capture your travels, past and present, in stitch, with practical techniques sitting alongside inspiring images.

She begins the book by discussing maps in textile art, including their iconography as well as incorporating actual maps into textile work. She then goes on to explore the influence of different cultures from across the globe on textile art.

From India and Peru to Scotland and Scandinavia, the book shows how to harness traditional techniques, fabrics, motifs and colours for use in your own work. The chapter ‘Stopping Places’ captures the moments in time on a journey that can be distilled, remembered and documented to create stitched postcards, sketchbooks and other pieces. The final chapter, ‘Space and the Imagination’, explores the possibilities of space travel as a source of inspiration, and covers inner space too, with artists mapping their own emotional journeys.

Including a wealth of practical tricks and techniques as well as exquisite photography of both Anne’s own work and that of other leading textile artists, this fascinating book will inspire all textile artists, embroiderers and makers to use past travels to influence their work.’

I’m really pleased to have a ‘face to face’ (socially distanced of course) book signing arranged with the lovely people at Pincushion Pantiles, in Tunbridge Wells, where I live. It’s on Saturday the 3rd of October from 2-4 pm and you can preorder your copy on their website or send me a message.

I’m also hoping to do a launch day chat on Instagram, you can follow my account for announcements and details. There have been very positive reviews in both Embroidery and the Quilter magazines – current editions.

It has been wonderful to see the response to the Artists Support Pledge work I have been highlighting on social media. All the work under £ 200 on my website is eligible and I have been busy visiting the post office sending packages all over the world!

I was heartened also by the response to the Textile Artist ‘Stitch Club’ workshop that I gave last month. The work was really superb and there were a wide range of interpretations of the theme which was great to see.

I am returning to my work for Kent Adult Education online this month and hoping that a few socially distanced workshops (for details of forthcoming planned classes see here) will proceed. I’m doing some studio chats on Zoom which is really fun and a good option for groups who aren’t able to meet at the present uncertain time. Contact me for details and stay well and safe everyone !

‘Indian Gardens Bag’ off to a new home shortly…

Summer Stories

We are experiencing a heatwave here in parts of the UK and I was fortunate to get away last week for a short family visit in the south west and to Cornwall. It was lovely after working straight through lockdown and being very busy to see some new scenery and have a break.

I made a sketchbook cover for a ‘Rockpool’ themed book – it is filling up with sketches and collections of plants and rocks (small ones!). So many colours and textures and so inspiring in the south west of England. It features in my new book – there are several pieces inspired by my teaching tour last year, which seems like an age ago. I was delighted to receive my preview copy of ‘Textile Travels’ (Batsford) which is due to be published at the beginning of October.

Title page, ‘Textile Travels’

I have been busy creating work for various forthcoming exhibitions and participating in the wonderful ‘Artist Support Pledge’ scheme. I was a late adopter but it is great to see people enjoying it and also being able to donate 10% of my sales to my local food bank. As I reached the first target of sales, I was able to purchase this lovely little piece by David Cass.

Matchbox artwork by David Cass

Whilst I was travelling back from the southwest I popped in briefly to the lovely Cowslip Workshops, where all being well I am due to teach next year. Jo as always was welcoming even though extremely busy and it was great to see her new studio.

Then it was home to my Shed Studio, which has just been refurbished and is looking very smart.

Shed Studio

I am developing several online workshops, details to follow and looking forward to my ‘Stitch Club’ workshop for Textileartist.org, for the week of the 24th of August ‘Mapping Your Journey’. I had such amazing feedback from the community stitch challenge and am still receiving images of work inspired by the sessions like this lovely one from Jude @hearth_felt on Instagram.

This was my holiday stitching, also based on the ‘Tree of Life’ theme:

I am also continuing with the Artist Support Pledge and selling pieces online and from my shop, like this little folding book, recently sold.

detail of folding book

Finally I was delighted to discover that my piece ‘Stay at Home’ has been shortlisted for the final round of judging for the Vliseleine Fine Art Textile Award.

Park Walks

Walking in our local Grosvenor and Hilbert recreation ground

I have been inspired throughout the lockdown by our local park and my regular walks there. On one recent walk I collected some plants that had fallen onto the path and used them to screen print on linen remnants.

These were then used as backgrounds for embroideries of local birds – a series called ‘Park Birds’…

‘Park Birds’ in the studio and in progress. I like to hand stitch using a mixture of perle and stranded cotton. I made the outline for these birds using a neutral colour and then filled in with more colourful shades.

When finished with the hand stitching I overstitched the pieces using my signature Bernina stitch on my vintage machine. I’ve been selling the pieces as part of the commendable https://www.instagram.com/artistsupportpledge and am enjoying seeing the little birds flying off to new homes!

I am also pleased with the revamped Crafts Council Directory site and have been updating my page. I update my courses on this site regularly under the ‘News’ page. I am teaching a new 8 week course for Kent Adult Education online in the autumn. In October, I’m hoping to be at the lovely Cowslip Workshops too – some spaces still available.

Finally, I am delighted to be a judge for the inaugural KDS Fibre and Textile Award at the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum in Canada, where my exhibition ‘Stitched – a Homecoming’ took place in the spring of 2019.

Moving Online

Welcome to my Blogger followers – I have moved my blog here…

The current pandemic has made many self employed artists look at our work model and by necessity adapt our practice as the artistic landscape changes around us. Speaking of landscape, I never get tired of the view from my office – into town across the treetops.

It has been a very busy few weeks. The great innovation of the Textile Artist Community Stitch Challenge was a wonderful experience to be involved in. The work that the members produced was astounding and such a great variety. It was lovely to be able to chat with participants and answer questions. 

I was also delighted to produce a short online video for West Dean College about making a ‘Folk Art Tree’ and am looking forward to tutoring there when life returns to some kind of normal! 

I have managed to complete some projects in the studio, like this garden stitch table (above) and my Quaratine Quilt (below) in my newly redecorated office.

Back to the online activity…

I was interviewed for a lovely piece by Katie from Arnolds Attic – you can see the video and subscribe to her channel.

I am also looking forward to seeing a feature on my practice in the latest edition of the ‘Stitchers Journal’, written by Caroline Zoob and Jane Audas.

Redecorating my office gave me chance to look through some sketchbook work (it is great to have a dedicated shelf for them now).

I am very excited to be a part of a wonderful exhibition ‘Isolated Observations’ to raise funds for the charity for childhood bereavement, Winstons Wish. When approached to make new work for it, I decided to make pieces about particularly our dreams in the current lockdown which have been vivid and unsettling.

I have enjoyed some time in the studio printing and making new work for my online shop, selling small folding books. I have sold quite a few and have just restocked with a series of small books and objects. All my sales during this period include a 10% donation to our local food bank.

I am enjoying the time at home but missing my teaching ‘in real life’. I am trying to reschedule as much of this year’s programme as possible as the situation develops. I am offering an online course as a substitute in some cases where practical and practicable. Updates are here.

Studio shot, June 2020