1. Craft Celebrity Post No. 2: Julie Arkell

    Julie Arkell’s work is wonderfully whimsical.  Commonly referred to as a “folk artist” her papier mache embroidered creations are unrivalled in their uniqueness.  Everything is made by hand (no machines!) in her London studio and adorned with ribbons, buttons and anything else she can find.  Importantly, every one is completely different.  She hand embroiderers their clothes and with the help of her mum knits trimmings for them.  

    Born in London in 1955 she has now exhibited all over the country.  She currently has an exhibition at the Bluecoat in Liverpool which is well worth a visit!

    Her creatures are often humanoid animals.  They seem to tell a story and have such a sense of fun about them.  The papier mache effect of them often makes them look vintage and as if they have their own histories.

    As of yet she still doesn’t have a website, I feel this makes her more elusive and mysterious.

    “I love to make things with materials which have ‘seen life’; embroidering
    words and stories onto old cloth, stitching into books and paper, repairing, darning,
    making dolls, toys, jewellery and objects of eccentricity.”

    I have always loved to make things using accessible materials like paper, glue, cardboard, fabric and wool, which relate to my papermache pieces. I am able to make pieces that express my feelings, thoughts and ideas, bringing past and present together.”

  2. For a while I’ve been wanting to start a series of weekly/bi-weekly posts on craft celebrities, and it seems fitting to start with Holly Levell!  

    Holly is an up an coming craft celebrity who graduated from my course (BA Textile Crafts at the University of Huddersfield) last year.  Since then she has exploded on the craft scene.  From exhibiting at l’aiguille en fete in Paris to being featured on the cover of Embroidery magazine she’s set to go far.  

    Holly is inspired by everyday life.  She uses her unique and brightly coloured perspective to bring everyday objects into the limelight.  In her current project, Supermarket Stitch, she sees the sentimentality in food.  Her cheerful soft sculpture packaging speaks to our nostalgic fondness for brands that we see everywhere.  She softens the lines of the every day world to make them more whimsical.

    "I never thought about it until I began this work but we all have sentimental memories and a certain fondness for the foods and products that surround us in our lives.  A bottle of Heinz Tomato ketchup in the middle of our table at home has become as much a staple pieve of furniture as the table and chairs we sit at."

    Follow Holly’s tumblr at www.hollylevell.com


  3. Crafting Celebrities

    So!  In the wake of a craft conference I went to on Monday and the new and exciting (WOW) World of Wool exhibition in Cumbria I thought I’d start a series of posts focusing on craft celebrities!  Seeing as I keep referring to people as craft celebrities to people not so familiar with the craft world.

    So I thought I’d create a Craft Celebrities 101 of people/groups at the fore front of the crafting world right now!

    (I’ll also soon do a series of posts about both the artists at the conference and exhibiting at WOW)

    So far I’m thinking Freddie Robbins, Donna Wilson, Samantha Bryan, Jamie Chalmers, Betsy Greer, Marianne Jorgensen, Rachael Matthews, Rosanna Hawksley, Fine Cell Work, Jennifer Marsh (Fibre Arts Collective), Sarah Corbett (Craftivist Collective), Julie Arkell, 1Knit London, Abbie Hoffman, Michael Brennan Wood etc

    Can anyone think of any others I should definitely include?

    And what would people think to Tracey Emin being included?