Monthly Archives: January 2012

Anne Kelly – Textiles

This week I talked to Anne Kelly and her work as a textile artist.  Anne whose work is rich, vibrant and highly detailed has been featured in the BBC Homes and Antiques Magazine.  Anne’s work often has a powerful sense of place and memory and she uses that to pulls you into the story of each piece.

Anne Kelly - textiles
My creativity is fueled by a constant flow of new source of inspiration.
I am constantly looking for new sources of inspiration I recently went to Taiwan and found the markets there very inspiring, the colours and richness of materials really excited me.

I find inspiration constantly in the world around me and my work is inspired by botanical, narrative and geographical themes.  I love using vintage fabrics and findings to help to create my pieces, using scrap/sketchbooks of inspirational drawings and fragments of cloth. I also use digital methods and processes and take lots of photographs. I use sketchbooks to document work as it progresses.  I don’t like to be too specific but generally speaking I prefer work based on the natural and observable world to art inspired solely by fantasy or based purely on imagination. The natural world has an infinite variety of imagery and resources. I like the more abstract elements of it as well as the more recognizable

The idea of work and inspiration to me are inseparable, but sometimes one takes over – in my view they are both necessary components of the creative process. The artists I admire most work on some aspect of their craft every day.

Anne kelly - Textiles
I like to have several projects to work on at any one time, and work between them. Currently I am co-authoring a book, and there is always work to do on that! I often ‘cut up’ pieces that aren’t progressing and reshape them into something else. A recent piece ‘Cuttings’ is made up of pieces from previous work.

I was constantly making things from the time I was a small child, So the art school training process seemed a natural Progression. I don’t think you are ever ‘finished’ as an artist – You need to keep learning as you go, otherwise your work becomes stale. I teach and mentor young artists, organize exhibitions and am working on two publications based on my work at the moment so it is inextricable. I love working with other artists and the feedback from them are mutually beneficial. I also love creating individual commissions for special places,  occasions and people. I consult heavily and in depth with the client whilst  retaining my own style and ‘look’. I often produce work in series,  which is  not identical but explores different aspects of the same theme. A recent commission for an American editor looked at scientific imagery and  Darwin.

I believe in order to survive artists have to be adaptable and flexible to survive, sensitive to their economic and ecological environment.
Selling and marketing work  is a huge part of any committed artist’s life – I try to choose venues that enhance and showcase my work well and in this I also like to collaborate with other artists and writers and produce work for charity exhibitions like the Hospice in the Weald in Kent.

Anne Kelly textiles
I am very fortunate to have a piece of work (shown here) in theVatican collection.In April 2010 I was approached by The Archdiocese of Southwark to design and make an embroidered piece as a gift to be presented to Pope Benedict XVI on his visit to London.  It came about through a contact who had seen my work and suggested that I should be consulted. As with all commissioned pieces, it was important to understand which elements were most important and then produce some studies as suggested layouts.

These were pictures of Canterbury and Southwark cathedrals, South London and Kent, and fabrics to represent the multicultural make up of the archdiocese. I looked at the sketchbook work of Pugin in the National Art Library at the Victoria and Albert Museum as he had designed the original cathedral. I was quite daunted to begin with but when I started to sew the piece the work came together. I used a variety of fabrics and techniques, old and new, to complete the work.

The framed textile was presented to the Pope during his visit to a seniors residence in Vauxhall. He took an interest in it before it was whisked away by his security guards! It is now in the Vatican Collection. I would love to see it in situ one day… It was probably the most challenging piece that I had completed to date. It was also photographed and reproduced as a card.

Anne’s work is on show in The Lovers Lights Gallery until February 5th