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Ebb & Flow – the textiles show at Hastings Arts Forum

The textiles show at Hastings Arts Forum is now in its third year – and what a symphony of sumptuousness it has become! This year’s theme, Ebb & Flow, invited responses which were not limited to the sea but pondered its wider significance. Twenty one artists rose to the challenge. HOT reporter Cathy Simpson was charmed, delighted and moved by the resulting show.

The first aspect of this show to strike me was the sheer range of responses – from the monumental to the intimate; from sculpture through painting, weaving, collage, embroidery, jewellery… every artist has her own space and identity, but the skillful curation and thoughtful hanging by Claire Buckley ensures a unified totality.

Clare Tyler: Regeneration 1

Clare Tyler: Regeneration 1

We can reasonably expect an exhibition of textiles to be rich in colour and texture, and this one does not disappoint: Ellie Angel’s explorations of her childhood memories of Australia gleam with sonorous autumnal colours; Mary Dawson’s Tree explores the cycle of the seasons in one impressive piece, and Clare Tyler’s machine embroidered images explore the constant flux of all living things.

Christine M’Baye takes lilac and turquoise coloured waves of Varadero, Cuba, as the starting point for her pieces which use patchwork, applique, stitching and quilting to express movement of sky, sea and shoreline. Caroline Sax is inspired by the effects of the constant tidal motion on the structures and objects which inhabit the deep; Jane Clift’s exploration of technique brings together natural rhythms – tides, phases of the moon and the sacred feminine – into a connected whole, somehow reminiscent of the work of Ben Nicholson.

Caroline Sax: Tide & Time (detail)

Caroline Sax: Tide & Time (detail)

Another significant strand of the exhibition is the use of the stitched line in the service of narrative. Sass Tetzlaff’s textile works are illustrations which reflect her wide-ranging interests; Sally Cox uses her machine embroidery as a touchingly brave, moving expression of her bipolar condition, where ‘Ebb’ indicates the darkness and ‘Flow’ her happiness.

Hilary Lewis’s mermaids take the illustrative into three dimensions. Her truly delightful pieces are made using hand dyed fabrics and distressing techniques, free machine embroidery, imagination and – most importantly – a love which shines out from all of them.

Helen Rawlinson has ‘translated the definitions of ebb and flow into figurative images’ in the form of highly expressive hand painted, embellished and machine embroidered silk panels.

Helen Rawlinson

Helen Rawlinson

There are many more works and artists here worthy of mention, and I strongly urge ANYONE to visit this exhibition. It is not just the spectacle, the feast for the senses, but the fact that it is so very accessible. Claire Buckley herself has produced a range of very affordable and truly delightful pieces – ranging upwards from £3.00 for a handmade card, for example. There really is something here for everyone.

To increase the sense of personal engagement and involvement – every day, one of the exhibiting artists will be on hand, producing work and being available to discuss it.

There are several associated workshops which are now fully booked – but there are still places available on Mary Dawson’s workshop, Weaving Stories on 17 October. It is for accompanied children aged 4 – 10, and donations are welcome. Telephone 01424 201636 to secure a place.

Ebb & Flow (the textiles show) Hastings Arts Forum, 36 Marina, St. Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex TN38 0BU. Until 22 October, 11am-5pm daily.Phone 01424 201636.

Hastings Arts Forum website here.


Posted 18:36 Friday, Oct 9, 2015 In: Visual Arts

1 Comment

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  1. Mary Dawson

    Thank you for the lovely write up Hastings online times

    I have enjoyed being part of this show ( my first and I loved doing my TREE)
    There has been an atmostphre of artist support and amazment of our works.

    I would like to say how well it has been organized by Claire, Christine and Terry. To thank the Hastings Arts Forum Trusstees and volunteers for all the hard work they do all the time to keep the space running
    Happy days Mary Dawson

    Comment by Mary Dawson — Thursday, Oct 15, 2015 @ 11:32

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