The Amberley Artisan scarf project came about following many suggestions that I photograph my scarves being worn. I started looking for some possible models and realised I had a wonderful community I could call on in my fellow Amberley Artisans. I'm pleased to say they all agreed to participate.
The premise is simple - each Artisan visited my studio to choose the pattern and colours they liked, which I've made into a scarf. I've given them the scarves in return for some pictures I can use. I'm thrilled with the variety of patterns and colours chosen, and it was a privilege to get an insight into their own creative processes. See the results below.
First up in my Amberley Artisan scarf project is Fiona McBryde of Soap Folk. Fiona makes delicious soaps, balms and oils, all certified organic and mostly vegan friendly. They smell heavenly and feel wonderful. Her studio is a treasure cave of curing soaps and I was lucky enough to get a peep at one of her new products (prediction: it's going to be a great success).
Fiona knows her colours, and was determined to choose ones that both suited her and were 'of the moment'. The combination of oxide ends with a turquoise green and rose middle is a triumph. She chose the pattern 'Laskett 2', which was inspired by some outdoor tiles I saw in the amazing Laskett gardens in Herefordshire. I'd never made it up into a scarf before, but am really pleased with the result.
Tom Knowles Jackson will be well known to anyone who watched the first series of "The Great Pottery Throwdown". He's an amazing potter, and has recently developed The Clay Loft nearby as an open access ceramics studio. At the same location, Gallery 1673 @ The Clay Loft offers high quality gallery space.
Tom gets special mention for visiting on the hottest day of the year in July. We had to gather up the samples and head to the kitchen for a cool drink as the studio was like an oven, not really conducive to choosing a wool scarf.
Tom already has one of my scarves, in one of my classic patterns, and wanted something a bit different this time. He's gone for the Big Daisy pattern with mid grey background and yellow flowers, with a bright fern green end. I think he looks great.
Alice Sheppard Fidler is a multi disciplinary artist who has recently returned to university, aiming to complete her MA in Fine Art at UWE this year. I loved seeing her in her studio, surrounded with material from her recent installation FEEDBACK LOOP @studio18stroud.
Alice started with pattern, and wanted something classic that she could wear with lots of different things. She was drawn to the herringbone options and settled for a medium herringbone with plain ends. She likes blues and greys (and was wearing a navy jacket when she visited) so we looked at various examples and samples in my studio before deciding on a pure navy with blue/grey contrast. This is a really flexible option and, as you can see from her picture, works with both blues and browns.
Alison Vickery is another talented artist, working in a variety of media. Favourite subjects include natural landscapes, both near and far, with many of her paintings featuring flowers from her own (beautiful) garden.
Alison was, unsurprisingly, drawn to the more organic patterns in my collection and wanted a scarf that she could wear in the shoulder seasons, especially spring. She chose a multi colour version of the vinca pattern, with alternating stripes of soft yellow, pink and blue on a light grey background. To add a bit of oomph, she chose a stronger pink for one of the ends (which we decided was very similar to some asters flowering in the garden when the pictures were being taken).
Sarah Hardaker is a talented textile designer, creating fabrics, wallpapers and accessories, which are made in the UK and shipped worldwide. As you might expect from someone so successful, she was very disciplined in her choice of pattern and colour. In fact, after narrowing down the main colour choice to blue, she was able to select from the dozen or so available quickly and decisively, a skill she has developed when selecting a limited palette of colourways for her own work.
Sarah chose the concentric circles pattern in medium blue and linen, with vibrant pink ends. I love the way the choice echoes her own work.
Hannah Linfoot paints predominantly in oils, and her subjects include landscapes and still life compositions. I love her bold choice of colour and strong forms.
Hannah started by choosing a pattern as she found that the difficult bit. She prefers straight lines and went for a pattern with a strong shape. Her favourite colours tend towards blues and greens.
In my view, Hannah's choice of scarf is just like one of her paintings. The vertical chevron pattern in grey and smokey blue with an extended mustard end reminds me strongly of some of her landscapes of old barns.
Clare Bassett is another great Amberley Artisan, working predominantly as a printmaker, but recently extending her creativity to include jewellery and stained glass work. Her lithographs are often individually hand coloured to add depth and interest.
Clare wanted to push the boundaries of the project by mixing colour block options with stripes of pattern, what a good idea. Although she settled on an accent pattern quite quickly, she spent a long time considering the range of colours to use, and their appropriate proportions. The final scarf, with blocks of cobalt, orange, turquoise and charcoal, and a bit of Holborn pattern at the ends, is slightly oversized and super cosy.
Galina Gardiner is a probably best known for her wonderful paintings of the local cows as they move over the commons and through our villages. She often paints "en plein air" but unfortunately for me, it was not really the right day to take pictures in the middle of the common. We compromised with a different kind of animal (her gorgeous dog!)
Galina loves yellows and browns (highland cattle influence?) and went for the small gingham with a dark blue end for accent. It looks great against the rust jumper she happened to be wearing.
Steve Mansfield of This Art Lark creates extraordinary sculptures from collected driftwood. His work is inspired by close observation of bird life and the natural world. He is pictured here in front of his allotment.
Steve chose the small herringbone pattern with tasselled ends and spent most of his time with me carefully considering the colour options. He worked from my colour swatches, moving them around both in artificial light and against the window to review in natural light. He considered both tone and the colour itself, and looked for colours that would "vibrate" against each other. His final choice of lavender and elderberry shades is warm and rich.
Liz Willis works with both stained glass and paper collage, using strong blocks of colour in both media, so it was no surprise that she chose a colour block scarf.
Yet again I was struck by the parallels between the design and colours chosen and the artist’s own work. Liz chose the standard colour block design, in strong blue, orange and red. Look how well it goes with one of her collages, and even the colours she was wearing.
Rhiannon (@1280ceramics) designs and makes exquisite porcelain jewellery and vessels, but also has two jobs and is going to college part time, so it was difficult to pin her down to choose her scarf!
Rhiannon wanted a blue scarf to match a new coat and leant towards softer, smokier blues and greys. She opted for a pared down approach, and the scarf is predominantly soft blue, with a band of rounded squares pattern near the ends in a darker blue/grey shade. Unsurprisingly, the colours echo the silver and blue colours of much of her work.
Daisy was the last of the Amberley Artisans to choose her scarf.. Like many others, she was hard to tie down as she moved between school runs, day time work, studio work and life in general! And like many of the other Artisans, she has several strings to her bow. A talented painter (she competed recently in the Sky TV series Portrait Artist of the Year), she works predominantly in oils, painting small still lives and portraits. But she is also a trained chef and makes jewellery.
Daisy likes stripes and neutrals with a splash of colour. Daisy designed her own pattern, mixing colour blocks and wide stripes with tassels. The best way of describing the final result is as a liquorice allsort!
Special mention goes to the lovely Susie Hetherington (@susiehetheringtontextiles) as she is the reason we (The Amberley Artisans) look so professional - her hand is behind all our print and social media material. She is amazingly multi talented, now a textile designer and print artist using her own lino-cut and hand drawn prints, but also a graphic designer and brand consultant in a previous life.
Susie was my star pupil in a scarf workshop I ran last Christmas, and created not one but three different patterns which I made up into scarves for her. She was going to a summer celebration this year and wanted something she could use in the cooler evenings. The result is this wrap.
Susie is also a fan of blues and brought the (blue) dress she was going to wear to the celebration to my studio when we were discussing options. But she wanted to move out of her comfort zone, so ended up choosing the arrowhead pattern in strong pink and soft grey as the main body of the wrap with an accent stripe of teal to go with the dark blue ends and tassels. Another brilliant Amberley Artisan choice.
Thanks to her partner Ollie for the wonderful photo.