A Twisted Thread

Newlands Valley Autumn

Well Autumn has arrived and I’m getting ready for hibernation by cooking things with dumplings and making steamed puddings, foraging for rose hips and getting obsessive about the log stack. This is the most beautiful time in the Lake District with all the bracken, heather and woodland, dressing the fells in rich russety, foxy colours. The lanes are thickly carpeted with yellow, green and orange Persian rugs of fallen leaves. I’ve dragged my pudding filled self up several new mountains  in the past few weeks and there is nothing like emerging from mist onto a sun drenched summit or watching the fog roll away to reveal the golden patchwork below.

Log Stack, Lake District

As usual I’ve left it too long between posts and have way too much to tell you about… now I will have to skim through it all or risk sending you to sleep. The first thing that has happened is that wool has done its usual thing and snuck back in to my life as a “comfortable thing to do in the winter” after I was offered a place on a weaving workshop at the Greystoke Cycle Cafe a few weeks ago ( I may be running a cyanoype workshop there next summer). Weaving seemed like the ideal occupation for me as it is methodical and almost meditative; not mindless exactly but certainly free of the crushing self doubt and inertia that often hits me when I’m trying to be creative…. and you can get a lot done in a day. Our tutor for the day was Jan Beadle of the Wool Clip Collective which I visited a few days later to squeeze balls of wool and ask longingly about looms. Both Jan and the Wool Clip are highly recommended and I have to thank Annie from the lovely Cycle Cafe for giving me the chance to experience a workshop as a participant for the first time, it was a wonderful day.

weaving by Kim Tillyer

I also finally got myself over to see the Great Print Exhibition at Rheged which will be on until November 22nd. Rheged is basically a very smart service station on the A66 and houses the most amazing gallery space. It was exciting that the first thing I saw as I entered the gallery shop was a display of my cushions and cards – although I suppose it would have been more exciting if they hadn’t been there, having been sold! I found my prints in very good company and left feeling happier than I had for a while. Ok, so they hadn’t sold (yet) but they didn’t look out of place and I didn’t feel like a poor relation even though all the other work was pretty stunning.

The Great Print Exhibition Rheged, Cumbria

There they are, on the right of the picture below. As usual I fell in love with loads of pieces that I wish I could have bought but art is so often out of the reach of artists! I must go back and look again before it finishes.

The Great Print Exhibition Rheged, Cumbria

Strangely the momentary confidence boost of seeing my own work in an actual gallery and in a rather nice gallery shop hasn’t lasted long. I am my own worst enemy and have been doing battle with a sulky muse this week. I think I’ve over worked her by flitting from looms to heat presses ( I bought one cheap from a local man who paints brilliant “old masters” and had a Gustav Klimt on his bedroom wall!), needle felting to lino printing. She has left me barely able to lift a pen so I made a decision to concentrate on knitting squares from silky soft alpaca , channelling my inner Miss Marple or Great Grandma Elizabeth, while slowly re-evaluating what I do and why.

The Great Print Exhibition Rheged, Cumbria. Cushions by Kim Tillyer

So this week I was invited to interview for some weekend cover at Keswick Museum and I’m pleased and excited to say I was offered the post, starting in November. Now with two part time jobs I’m just about able to make ends meet (thanks to family and Rupert) and it struck me … that old question… why do I make things and try to create art? If I was well off would I still do it? Would it be different? Does it only feel worth while if it sells? All these questions that are ultimately about self esteem and the fragile/overinflated ego of a creative person! I’ve been sitting here pondering the subject for ages and its time to put the kettle on for comforting tea before smoke comes out of my ears. I will leave you with this question… do you value textiles and fibre art as highly as other craft forms? It’s something that I’ve had cause to think about lately and its always been a question that bothers me…why is an object made from wool perceived as less valuable than one made of clay, its a historical conundrum.

needle felt squirrel

There were a lot of question marks in this post sorry! Please give me a kick up the bum if I don’t write another post soon… its too easy to become a hermit here and live in a world populated by characters of my own invention… Bye for now x ( and bye from me says the squirrel.)

Reading :- ” A Room With a View” EM Forster and Bernat Klein- Textile Designer, Artist, Colourist by Bernat Klein and Lesley Jackson

Listening To :-“If Big Chief Dies” Sycamore Sykes  ( he’s proper famous you know and I said I’d tell everyone to buy a copy!)


2 responses to “A Twisted Thread

  1. For me, something created by a person, is art……whatever materials it’s made of….hope that helps. I love things made by hand……whatever they are, there is something of the maker in them and that makes them special. (Hi Squirrel darling).

    Great news about the job……we all need some money to get by……and I believe you would create even if you had all the money you wanted, I might be wrong, but that’s what it’s like for me.

    More posts please xoxo

  2. So pleased i found you and you came on theweaving day Kim, it was lovely to meet you and your new Cumbrian home looks so inspiring ( I so need a new log pile like that) . Just loved your scarf too! Will be in touch very soon re dates for teaching next ear . . Annie x

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