Monday, 1 December 2008

textiles now

Last Saturday this lovely book arrived in the post - Textiles Now by Drusilla Cole. I got so excited when I picked it up, thinking 'I can feel it! I can feel it!' and running my fingers across the textures while staring blankly into space. I'm not going to tell you any more about that so you can have the delight too if you get the book yourself or decide to hunt it out it in a bookshop or library. I do have a habit of feeling textures with the tips of my fingers. Sometimes it worries people! But texture is just wonderful, and touch/feeling an under-appreciated sense.

Textiles Now has around 250 pages of contemporary textile art. Gorgeous colour, form and texture in sections - 1 Constructed, 2 Dyed, printed and painted, and 3 Mixed media and stitched.

A couple of my river batiks are in the second section - Source of the Penpont and one with a long title that was abbreviated to De Lank Camel which will mean little to many but confuse North Cornwall folk who'll know it's the name of two major rivers (and yes, I am a little annoyed about the amendment). The full title is De Lank near the Confluence with the Camel. See them on my website here and here, but not here right now as the colours don't fit with those of the cover.

There are also batiks by Isabella Whitworth, Pat Hodson, Dorothy 'Bunny' Bowen, and Betsy Sterling Benjamin, and dyed felt pictures by Helen Melvin amongst other artists work or names I admire or recognise.

The book is not oriented to artists working sustainably or towards sustainability, but there are some included. For instance Helen Melvin's and India Flint's work is with natural dyes and Bunny Bowen has researched soy wax as substitute for paraffin wax in batik. At a stretch my river batiks also fall into the sustainable approach category by utilising whatever was around to apply wax for resist or, as I usually describe it, using scrap, found and home made tools.

It seems right to combine sustainable-approach art alongside - how to describe it? other art that hasn't deliberately incorporated such methods or materials, rather than keep 'eco-art' in an elitist niche. I know organic farmers who think this way... their approach is that it is just a different way of farming (though they obviously think it the better way!). By keeping in with the mainstream those others won't see organic as elitist so shouldn't feel 'threatened' or 'looked down on', and are more likely to be open-minded as to the benefits of organic and negatives of their own practice (and vice versa?). These farmers are good role models for me...

'Textiles Now' is published by Laurence King, where you can also view some pages. But you don't get to feel the cover!

No comments: