The end of my ‘chair-ship’

This is the last blog written as chair of the group. Tomorrow I go up to Birnam and report to the members at our AGM. It’s been 3 years since I was asked to take on the post – sometimes it feels like yesterday and sometimes it feels like forever!

I’ve enjoyed the experience and learned a lot from being  the ‘overlooker’ as it were. I’ve been, in turns, frustrated,overwhelmed,impressed and supported by it all.

Frustrated? Not by the group – well very rarely by the group – more by a general lack of perception into the value of textile art today. Want a Creative Scotland grant or a gallery to exhibit in ( or even a gallery to answer an enquiring email) : a newspaper to write a review  or an acceptance that our creations are an art form, not just craft work of a high standard? That’ll not be happening sadly. Wouldn’t it be lovely to think that someone reading this an 10 years time would be amazed that we weren’t considered an equal to fine art?

Overwhelmed by kindness.Kindness in general but the kindness the was expressed when I had my horrible hospitalness. The cards and messages that came from edge members during that time were so comforting and quite kept me going – thank you again.

And I never cease to be impressed by the work that gets selected for the exhibitions we’ve had these past 3 years.From ‘cutting  edge’ to ‘myths and l(edge)nds’ and of course ‘strands of time’ and each selection I swear seems to get better and better.No wonder our comment books are filled with superlative, inspirational  responses. I do believe that, apart from the natural talent we all have, this quality comes from the workshops Jennifer has run and the mentoring that Sarah Burgess gives. We are, as our constitution states continually striving to be at the cutting edge of contemporary Scottish textile art, and I think this shows in the new pieces that we see every selection.

Last, but the crux of this past 3 years,comes support.From Fiona our web designer and John the printer, from the galleries who had faith and gave us galleries to show in, from amazing friends and friends of friends who helped, from every member of edge who gives what they can to keep edge in the forefront of our field and produces the class of work that ‘strands’ was all about, to the wonderful committee members who have made this whole 3 years happen – each one a gem and without them, no edge or not the edge we seek to be.

 

 

 

Mentoring

This, I reckon, is edge’s own Marmite subject, but whether you love or loathe the idea  I am ever hopeful that it will stay open to all members in edge – maybe not every 6 months as we have had for the past two years but as an annual occurrence.

Why should we keep it going? Well, for starters we have got ourselves a cracking tutor in Sarah Burgess. Ideally suited to mentoring the group but not part of it, she’s a member of the textile Study Group, so has the perfect approach to tutoring our group – helping you to find your answers  – it’s a great skill to have. We can only afford her, to be honest, because she is given hospitality by Rose and Ali ( TSG friends as well as edge members), and I for one am extremely grateful to them both.

And then there’s the session itself. Time spent beforehand compiling a brief for her about what it is you want to be doing with your work and ideas is awfully good for you and then spending a day ( Leith Academy is may not be the ultimate venue, but it suffices) in a small group, having an hour to be with Sarah, time to reflect and jot down the ideas and next steps and time too to talk .

What did it do for me last Saturday? I got myself able to separate my new ideas into a decent working list – short, medium and long term plans ( once you learn ‘counselling’ speak it kind of stays, sorry). Sorted.

And for the others – well their comments were as follows…’I have a better sense of direction now’  ‘My imaginative mind was stretched’  It consolidated ideas into a coherent way of moving forward’ Informative and constructive’…and that’s just a sample.

See you at the next one?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then it’s all gone.

Last month the three galleries were buzzing with work, visitors, stewards and cups of coffee. The atmosphere was fantastic and everyone seemed to love the experience.

Last Monday I made a final sweep of the spaces to check that we hadn’t left anything behind. All that was left were these two chairs from gallery one. Not a picture to be seen.

So – to refresh memories and promote the group, I’m compiling an archive – videos / broadcasts / articles / the sound and light installation / slide shows and those involved in the complex story that was ‘Strands of Time’. Even just reading that through makes you realise just how much work was involved and how many people made it all happen.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if ‘Strands of Time’ could be resurrected in another format in another gallery in another city?

Spread the word.DSC00271

Final Call for Strands of Time

We are now on the last 3 days of this fantastic exhibition at Edinburgh Palette, so it is now a case of “snooze and you lose”.

It closes at 6 on Saturday 23rd., the work is collected by the members on Sunday and I do a final sweep on Monday morning and then not a trace should be left – physically any way. I’m sure though that there will be loads of memories and inspirational thoughts to keep this fantastic show of Edge :past, present and future alive and thriving for a long time to come.

There was a heap of work and favours called in to make it work so well but when you stand in any of the 3 rooms and look at just how good it looks and just how good we are as contemporary textile artists, it has all been worth while.

In modern parlance….. go us!

The final image, I think, should be a salutary one. Edge does ‘thought provoking’ as well as beautiful and Moira E Dickson’s trilogy on remembrance, especially the devastation of lives in WW1, says it all.

Moira E's WW1(1)

 

Guess what happens tomorrow?

After what seemed like forever, Strands Of Time opens in Edinburgh Palette tomorrow at 12 o’clock.

It has taken so many days and weeks and months to get to this point but, if and when you visit, you will understand why so much work went into the making of it.

We have, for probably the last time, a show spanning three generations of Scottish textile art at its best. pieces from the sixties that are as fresh as they were avant garde then – and through some of our newest work to the prize-winning students’ who have produced fantastic work.

If the fate of Scottish textile art is in their hands, we can relax.

So, after a week of preparation, I can now put on my best outfit and enjoy tomorrow’s opening.

Shall I see you there?

On being inspired by inspirations

I am working my way through the compilation of the catalogue for Strands Of Time – only two weeks to go folks – and ,and this happens every time, am getting drawn into the written statements . I find that it adds another way to look at a piece and am amazed at the sources of inspiration to make them. For example I now now where Midge Gourlay got the pink and purple colours for her Spanish Horses piece and where Liza Green collected  the spent bullets for her brilliant anti-war piece Spent Forces.

And do you know why Rosemary Campbell uses boats in her work or what inspired one of our student prize winners, Shan Press, to create her final year course work?

No answers given but if you come along to the show – 2 – 23 July, Edinburgh Palette –  you’ll find out . Simply check out the catalogue. Looking forward to seeing you there.Midge Gourlay, Horses

I told you – pink and purple horses!

Strands of the past

The reason for all this hard work from the committee? Well, it’s the fact that we’re tackling three galleries in the one exhibition – our past, present and future. So it’s about time I showed more images – this time, a blast from our past.Girl with Red Lips - Kim Gunn

This is one of Kim Gunn’s from the ‘cutting : edge’ exhibition’- Girl with a pearl earring.