Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Craftivists (formerly Claremont Studios), 48 Kings Rd

Knitted Memories create works of beauty

Knit Your Memories Together is a project run by The Craftimation Factory funded by Hastings Borough Council and Unltd, that brought together people aged 50+ to create textile work using memories and reminiscence.  Sessions were led by Janey Moffat Lalöe in a variety of settings including Leolyn Care Home, open sessions held at The Old Chemist, and with a group of machine knitters led by local artist Lorna Hamilton Brown MBE. HOT’s Xaverine Bates went to the exhibition to experience it for herself.

Spoon lampshade

Spoon lampshade made by Hastings Furniture Service

Entering the newly transformed Craftivists space at 48 Kings Road, formerly Claremont Studios, is a wonder to behold. The entrance is filled with beautifully upcycled furniture and household ornaments, lovingly crafted by Hastings Furniture Service. Walking through, whilst avoiding the urge to buy the contents of the entire shop, I find an exquisite exhibition in the space towards the back of the shop.

The range of talents amongst participants is outstanding and the work includes the use of techniques such as free machine embroidery, creating stencils from photographs and printing onto a variety of fabrics including silk and linen.  Most of the pieces contain a personal history behind them which is both moving and poignant.

The stunning work includes two cushion covers made by Avril Collier’s father, Leslie Mattocks (1912- 1978), who was a plumber and pipe fitter and worked at the BP Refinery on the Isle of Grain from the time it opened in the fifties until he had to be retired early after a series of heart attacks and a stroke.  He was a Bandsman with the Somerset Light Infantry during WW2 and was stationed in Gibraltar.  It was following his stroke, four  years prior to his death, that Avril’s mother had to guide him in learning how to use his right hand again and it was she who introduced him to rug making.   He made several rugs, which are still in use, and these two cushion covers which were a present for Avril.

Heather Harding

Heather Harding

A sumptuous organza dress by Heather Harding, called ‘Memories Are Made Of This”, is comprised of a collection of photographs, cards and mementoes from family and friends, mainly from her early years in London; items of jewellery from her grandmother and her father’s tie pins are on the back.

“1966 – Mods, Music Fashion & Friends.  Memories of being 16” 2014, (textile with ink jet print, acrylic and cotton yarn) and her dolls, including “Party Girl”, “Pirate Couple” & “Punk Couple” (2012) were made by by Jean Parham. She makes unique knitted accessories which she sells at craft fairs and is planning to open an online shop.  She recently took part in the “Follow the Herring” event , helping to co-ordinate local Women’s Institute members to create two yarn bombing panels which were exhibited on the Stade earlier this year.  She knits her dolls for fun and has loads more planned.

When Sally Wynn looked at her family history, she was struck by the strength of the women in her family, so she took the theme of ‘Mothers and Daughters’.  Her starting point was a red negligee bought by her grandmother for the trousseau for her second wedding.  It cost her 45 guineas in 1953. There is also a separate picture of the artist as a Brownie about 8 years old; it was done in a ‘poster’ type format, light and dark and in purple and white, embroidered  using Kantha embroidery, a type of running stitch.

Lorna Hamilton Brown

Lorna Hamilton Brown

Lorna Hamilton-Brown’s piece is a length of machine knitting, emblazoned with quotes from other knitters as to how they started machine knitting. One quote states, “The Russian classes were cancelled, so I signed up for machine knitting classes instead.” The piece cascades from the very machine it was made on, merging the mechanical with the ephemeral.

Finally, Miranda Innes says, “Life speeds past at such a pace that there is no time to look back. The four all too short sessions of trawling our memories to create something visual and tactile was an extraordinary journey. Reading old letters, finding forgotten photographs, making a structured narrative out of an erratic history was a joyful and emotional exercise in personal archaeology full of surprises and revelations.” Looking into the past, she saw for the first time how valiantly her parents tried to unite their family through her mother’s letters typed to us at school in the UK on her old Olivetti. Her beautiful Indian sari coat is a holiday from delving into family complexities, and simply celebrates the people she met, the wild textiles they produce, the gods they enjoy and the general air of subversion, all of which have made her visits to Rajasthan such a bright kaleidoscope of impressions.

Knit Your Memories Together

Knit Your Memories Together

During the exhibition period there have also been a number of textile workshops running, including a Textile Taster Day during which people were able to come along and learn new techniques such as using dissolvable fabric.  Silk painting, textile portraits and workshops for young people including teen textiles and T shirt decorating suitable for children aged 2-16 were also available.

The exhibition runs until 31 October at Craftivists, run by Hastings Furniture Service, 48 Kings Rd, St Leonards-on-Sea, where you can find a range of gorgeous upcycled furniture & items to glorify your home.

For further information about the exhibition, please contact, call 07535 279444, follow them on Facebook or see their website.


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Posted 09:40 Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 In: Community Arts

Also in: Community Arts

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