Wednesday, 19 March 2014
Thursday, 13 March 2014
Friday, 7 March 2014
"After distributing collars to the rest of the group I was left with a size 16, pale blue one - by chance rather than through choice. Age & repeated washing has made it beautifully faded and worn so it flops & curls rather gracefully. Last Autumn, my first impression of the collar was of a bird with pointed wing tips.
A few months later and closer inspection of the print on the collar leads to the discovery that it is infact a Van Heusen collar made for the RAF. I guess the pale blue should have been a clue! It appears that these collars were in use until the 1960's by RAF ground crew only. Pilots quickly abandoned the use of these particular collars during World War Two after discovering that they shrank when immersed in sea water. Sadly, when pilots were forced to ditch into the Channel during battle it led to many being tragically strangled by their own collars. It also led to the popularity of British pilots wearing silk scarves as alternative neck wear.
(Charles McCain has a poignant post on the topic HERE)
I'll follow my first impression as my sky blue collar takes flight... "
Thursday, 6 March 2014
Kathleen Murphy: "On a hot & humid day in July 2013 I met with fellow textile artist, Christine Kelly, in the market town of Ludlow, for a catch up and to 'swop' materials. I had the germ of an idea I wanted to share.
The use of vintage or pre-used fabrics is integral to the work of both Christine & I, although the end results can be very different. I had recently been given a bundle of vintage shirt collars and, with Christine responsive to the idea, suggested that we both take a collar and see what we could make from it.
The initial idea gathered momentum; if two of us were agreeable to this idea, why not invite a few more to take part?
By October 2013 I had accrued a group of nine willing textile and mixed media artists from across the UK who agreed to participate and whom, for the most part, I had got to know & engage with through online social media.
Increasingly social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest, for example, have become popular vehicles for artists & makers often working alone in their studios to 'meet', publicise, share & evaluate each others work. If you're reading this then there is a good chance you are already privvy to such practice.
My previous collaborations have been face-to-face in the 'real world' so I thought it would be interesting to collaborate creatively with some of these online friendships by inviting them to transform a shirt collar and thereby become the first Group Gathering project members.
By pure chance, last Autumn also saw the well received publication of 'Connected Cloth; Creating Collaborative Textile Projects' by textile artists Cas Holmes & Anne Kelly, both of whom have a strong online presence. The scent of collaboration was definitely in the air!
The basis of my work often forms around an item or piece of fabric which someone has passed on to me, arriving with a set of parameters which I either work around or use to shape the final piece. It is with great curiosity & delight that I have presented such a set of parameters to this year's Group Gathering artists. "