Textiles Outdoors ?

'Ghost of Summer Past' Sue McLaggan

We are used to sculpture outdoors and even protected photographs; most memorable was ‘Earth from the Air’ outside the Natural History Museum in all weathers.

To take Textiles outdoors requires a little more consideration as to how materials might degrade when exposed to the elements.

 Do we choose materials like plastic which may be resistant to weathering, or do we choose fabrics that will fray, fade or even dissolve?

Net Result

'Net Result' Jackie Smith

In 2006 a Contemporary Quilt group pioneered this at Art in Nature, Wallsworth Hall, Glos and this sparked much interest from visitors and makers alike.

Recycled bottles became fantasy flowers, created bark cloth wrapped itself along tree trunks and branches, fabrics fluttered, frayed, bleached and sang with embellished bells catching the breeze.

Currently two groups, Westhope and New Horizons have work outside at the Stockwood Discovery Centre on the edge of Luton LU1 4LX.

‘Inside Out’ opened in November and you just have time to catch this before it closes on March 6, and see what this hard winter has done.
In some cases, not a lot!

Linda Libby’s Teepee uses natural branches for the structure and  suggests a shelter from the harsh cold, but I would have liked it to be on a grander scale. Nearby Pauline Adam’s Peek a boo Hideaway in bright kite nylon invites investigation from young children in the play area.
Betty Ball’s washing line questions why we use so much electricity in today’s laundry process. On the day I visited the ‘washing’, intricately pieced fabrics were indeed ‘Blowing in the Wind’.
 Ann Allison’s Teatime featured a weathered trellis, an antique cake stand and gauzy curtains, evoking memories of a leisurely tea party in times past.

Ice Flow Curtain

'Ice Flow Curtain' Anne Brammer

Sue McLaggan’s Ghost of Summer Past captures a leaf, bleached and blown to it’s resting place, while Ann Brammer’s Ice Flow Curtain imagines lace trapped in a glacier, but here the contemporary plastic has proved to be totally resilient. The scale of this piece captures what is required outside; other makers did not address this so well.

The HVA Textile group will take on this challenge and you will be able to see our response in the grounds of Mill Green Museum in May and June 2012. We will also have work in the Gallery inside the Mill.


The next meeting of the Textiles Group is being held at 7.30pm on the 22nd March.  Email textiles@hvaf.org.uk for further details.