Going it Alone Together
Most textile artists, whether professional or pursuing for pleasure, will have participated in at least one seminar, workshop or some kind of course as part of their creative journey. I think most of us would agree that courses are educational, fun and generally a good thing for widening horizons and developing creative practice. Some of the most beneficial courses are those that involve regular sessions over a period of time; beneficial not only for improving skills but for the mutual mentoring and friendships that emerge. When the course ends the knowledge remains but the friendships and mutual support often wither.
As a group of participants on a creative development course we were determined not only to keep the knowledge alive but to build on the mutual support and friendships that we had come to value during our time together. So we made the decision to carry on meeting without a tutor but using the expertise within the group; thus our desire to carry on working together, despite our geographical diversity, saw the birth of the Threaded Together textile group. The impetus behind the group was to continue to develop our creativity using what we had learned already rather than to go on learning more techniques.The course we had been following had been a generic, creative development course, focused on building the confidence to follow our own ideas and providing experience in a variety of mixed-media techniques applicable across a range of textile disciplines. We were a pretty diverse participant cohort, some of us having had formal arts-based training whereas most of the others had not, coming to textile arts through a passion for fabric and fibre.
Creating textile art using life experiences and influences, with an emphasis always on innovation and exploration is fundamental for all of us in the group. In addition the environment and the natural world are significant sources of inspiration for all group members.The way these influences come into play in our current practice is evidence of the diversity of the membership.The work we produce ranges from purely abstract, through abstracted manipulations of figurative forms to strongly figurative work with a narrative underpinning. Ideas are developed using colour, form and texture in different ways to tell the story. This is achieved through using manipulated digital imagery, quilting, trapunto, machine embroidery, printing, painting, dyeing, burning and experimenting with fabrics including silks, felt and tweeds. Many of us delight in combining historical techniques with a contemporary interpretation and as with other textile artists some are starting to experience the pleasure of reconnecting with various forms of hand stitching. And we are not only two dimensional! We have members that combine 2D textile work with costume and ceramics.
We have been working collaboratively now for nearly three years and as well as being part of Threaded Together most members continue to be active in other textile and art based groups including Contemporary Quilt. Our somewhat eclectic and diverse skill set contributes to significant expertise across the group. Members enjoy collaborating with each other, gaining from the wealth of different skills and experiences that we each bring to the mix. We have all found that our own work has gained hugely from working together. Our work has been exhibited in galleries, open studios and other exhibitions throughout the country and hangs in a variety of private collections. Excellence has been recognised through winning competitions, selection for juried exhibitions, work featured in magazines and books as well as invitations to teach and speak.