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The craft&design Selected Awards 2012 - Specialist Judges

craft&design Selected Awards

Pat Robson
Pat Robson
Textiles & Needlecrafts Category

Pat Robson

Having attended Jersey College for Girls from the age of 6 - 18 years and spending 3 years in the 6th form, as my birthday was just 12 days too late to go to college in the UK at the same time as my friends, there was only one career that I wanted to follow and that was something to do with art but my parents would not let me go to Art College. Following what was considered the sensible route, teachers training college I was very lucky to do my course in Eastbourne at a time in the mid to late 60's when we had textile tutors full of new and exciting ideas down from Goldsmiths College. Fate was very kind to me!

Having studied both art and textiles to A level at school , these are the subjects that got me up in the morning, it was at this time that the textiles came to the fore. My mother had been a Haute Couture dressmaker so I had the opportunity from an early age to see and feel beautiful and sumptuous fabrics. I also discovered much later that my paternal grandmother had been a dressmaker so as they say "it must have been in the blood." Whilst at school I always made clothes for myself buying a pice of fabric on a Friday after school and wearing it as a skirt/trousers/dress to go out on Saturday. This was fun but making clothes was not "arty" and exciting enough for me. The work done with the tutors from Goldsmiths at Eastbourne excited and challenged and has shaped my whole future. After teaching for a year in the UK I returned to Jersey and taught in a private school teaching art and bringing in a little of the textile work from 7 to 13 year olds. I then got offered an art teaching job back at Jersey College for Girls where I was able to introduce art textiles to the 6th form and some lower down the school. As this was part time I followed another dream and opened a shop stocking children's clothes, Playtogs, for which I had designed all the clothes and had a troupe of 9 ladies to make them up.

The two worked really well until I had a family, I had to eventually give up both. When my boys started school I went back to teaching with almost constant supply work. I was very fortunate to be contacted by the Head Teacher at Beaulieu School to go on supply there and then to stay on what was a part time job that soon became full time. I was given a very free hand and brought in some art textile work to each year group. This blossomed and soon we had a part time art textiles teacher at the school running GCSE and A level classes. Many of our students have followed the art or textile route and have become very successful in this field.

Many students would have liked to have returned to Jersey to exhibit or set up their own art type business but with only 2 galleries and art not being taken very seriously it was almost impossible. Something had to be done! Together with a second art teacher from Beaulieu School, Elizabeth Le Gal we set up a charity Art in the Frame foundation to help and support art education and up and coming local artists. We are co directors and work purely on a voluntary basis as does everybody at the gallery and for the charity We pay no wages.

Living on a small island caused problems at examination time for the textile students when names like Michael Brennand Wood, Alice Kettle, Richard Box, Jan Beaney, Jean Littlejohn and many others appeared on examination papers. If the students could not get to the UK to see work in galleries we had to bring these artists to the island to run workshops. These workshops were immensely popular with both the students and adults and were done at Beaulieu School.

Together with the Textile teacher Di Richardson and the boys from De la Salle College and two of their art teachers we took art trips away to all parts of Europe, Paris, Provence, Venice, Florence, Rome, Barcelona, Madrid, Prague, Krakow, Istanbul and more . These trips were a rich source of inspiration for future A level work. The students came back with bulging sketch books full of sketches, sample pieces, fabrics and anything that would help with future projects. Moderators visiting the island were always amazed at the variety and depth of work that our two schools produced.

Nine years ago Art in the Frame suddenly got the opportunity of fulfilling a dream when a newly opened gallery became available to take over and at the same time Jersey Tourism started up Tourism Development Fund grants. Within two months of viewing this gallery, with great envy, we had the keys and moved in, The Harbour Gallery was born. During the nine, 2012 will be our tenth year we have tripled in size and added a cafe and creative design studios, there are over one hundred exhibitors at any one time. We recognised the strength of the textile art in Jersey and all the textile artists who wanted fresh inspiration but because of commitments could not get off the island. As a result we started up Jersey Textile Showcase now in its tenth year providing a week of workshops, exhibitions events...lots of learning and fun! Visitors from all over the UK, France, Spain and further a field meet up at The Harbour Gallery, St Aubin for a great week each March.

Judge’s Statement

Reading through the artist statements and the answers to the questions posed by craft&ddesign magazine to the six finalists in the Textiles & Needlecrafts category, as well as looking at all the beautiful and varied work on the websites of these talented textile artists, has reinforced my love of textile art.

The six finalists between them show how exciting the manipulation of materials can be and what extraordinary diverse results can be achieved with a length of thread, piece of fabric or a dye bath.

The use of colour from all six is stunning, from the elegantly sophisticated colours of Nicholas Ozanne, the little jewelled gems from Julie Bull and the colours used by Louise Gardiner flood the senses and make her work so exciting.
I have chosen Louise Gardiner for the Gold Award as in my original comments as to what I would be looking for as a judge I stated excitement in work, originality, uniqueness, colour, line and composition and technical ability, to me Louise has all of these in abundance. I know that her work is labour intensive but it never loses the spontaneity, which makes the viewer feel that it has just all poured out of a very lively mind!

I feel that more than any of the other finalists, Louise who is already  producing fantastic innovative work of a very high standard, will continue to push the boundaries and who knows what wonderful work she will be producing over the next decade as she says, 'doing a Grand Prix with her Bernina'.
I am sure that we will be seeing Louise's name up there with all the UK's most admired and respected textile artists in the future.

Additional Judge�s comments:

Louise Gardiner, I love her work it excites me with its humour, colour, individuality and pushes the boundaries. It oozes individuality and inspiration combined with great technical ability, all I look for in textile art.

Julie Bull, beautiful little gems. I am very attracted to all things Indian and can see the big influence of India in this work especially with the hands on, hand stitching,"feeling" the materials and stories being developed. I like the use of Kantha, using mainly natural scraps of often reclaimed fabric and dyed by Julie. I really enjoyed reading her answers making me feel the love and personal feeling that goes into her work. I love her use of colour.

Nicholas Ozanne, beautiful, beautiful weaving. He is working so hard to produce these beautiful silk pieces, weaving can be a very physical craft. I can understand why he says that his life is in the fabric. I would be interested to see a scarf woven on a bad day!!
I feel that if all goes right for him, comparatively he is just starting up,  he will go a long way with some exciting ideas. I hope that he will be able to get the new loom before too long and perhaps the article on him can be used to get sponsorship.
His use of colourways is very sophisticated.

2012 Judges »

Craft and Design Month May 2012

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