Tina Francis - Hexagon - Photo courtesy Martin Christie
So March flew past in a haze of shows and stitching! I have been exhibiting for the last two weekends at Fashion, Embroidery and Stitch at the NEC and EXCEL. Both shows were fantastic and as I was on an education stand I got to talk about stitch from morn til night!
At the NEC I was opposite Stephanie Redfern who had a really large space this year exhibiting work specifically made for the show. Stephs work is really colourful and the composition is something that can only be learned after years working at your practice. It was good to be opposite her because she exhibits reguarly at RBSA and I had admired her exhibition called Found last year, I had sent her an email but it was great to tell her face to face how much I enjoyed it. Do take some time to read her delightful blog, so interesting and a great way to spend some time with a cuppa and a cake.
Next door to me at NEC was Sally Holman who specialises in quilting and is the author of many books, her landscapes are very popular and her step by step instructions make her a must see at any show. Birmingham Silk Painters did a roaring trade in silk scenes showing people how to paint onto silk, they had some fantastic work on display. It's amazing how quiet people become when they are painting on to silk, it really is a joy to watch.
Every day I ran a mono printing workshop on the Vilene education stand, we made some great samples using the smallest amount of water based acrylic, by combining bondaweb and pelmet vilene we started to form the beginnings of some really textured designs. My workshop was straight after Fran Holmes an artist whose work is beautiful and ethereal, her stand was black and white which really highlighted the work on show it's amazing how an all white exhibit can make you think of colour and movement but that is exactly what she achieved.
Onto Excel the following week it seemed a bit groundhog day-ish but there were many different exhibitors as well as the those from NEC. The Excel show is relatively new and so it's great to see so many people coming along wanting to learn about stitch and textiles. The fantastic Brenda Kiligrew had made the journey south from Redditch and the fashion show was a great hit with everyone, it is fantastic to see designers of the future! My stand was next to the ever chipper Val Hughes a trailblazer of felt construction her teaching manner was something I could not get enough of and hope to put a little bit of the knowledge I gained into my workshops. She has a book out very soon and it is fantastic, step by step instructions written in her approachable style, fantastic images and a great story running through it.
As ever my dear friend and mentor Kim Thittichai was on hand at both shows to chivvy me along, it's great to be invited to run workshops under her guidance but even better just to have a good old laugh together! Kim gave lectures each day (along with a workshop - no stopping her!) about KK Glue and Hot Spots, KK Glue is a very exciting product as it is a washable powder glue. A little goes a long way and I love the muted blended edges it gives to a design.
So a good time was had by all, I'd like to thank my helpers who came and looked after the stand whilst I was running the workshops I really appreciated it!
So what next!!!??? Well from Friday 3rd until Monday 6th I am in an exhibition at Custard Factory which is being run by The Cobalt Blue, it's called Rational Grid and features geometric artists in a wide range of mediums. It's going to be a great exhibition and on Friday evening will be part of the regular Digbeth First Friday happening, so why not come along and see the exhibition as well as what else happens in Digbeth every first Friday. One of my favourite parts of First Friday is Digbeth Dining club which takes place every Friday and sometimes Saturday in Spotlight. A whole range of street food waiting for you to try, I am also looking forward to visiting Centrala for their "I Bring you Flowers" exhibit. After the weekend I will be working on some new designs, sending out orders and generally stitching until May, Craft and Design Month but more of that next time!