Friday, 18 May 2012

Karen Nicol

I had the most fantastic guest lecturer the other day called Karen Nicol, she is a mixed media textile artist who has worked in fashion, interiors and galleries. She has designed cushions for the Pope when he visited England last year, and also designed various other things for royal families around the world!! So we were very lucky to have her. She was quite an interesting speaker but I admit my main interest was all the work she had brought with her, which we were allowed to touch and drool over. I was particularly struck with her 'portfolio' which was like no other portfolio I had ever seen. It was all handmade with huge fabric 'pages' and pinned onto every white space were all kinds of techniques, experiments, cast offs and ideas- absolutely fascinating! I would have taken photos but I'm not sure I would have been allowed so I am afraid you will have to make do with images I find on the Internet.

Her current passion seems to be making fantastic embroidered animals, which are made out of all kinds of materials and shown in galleries everywhere. They are reasonably 2D and presented in perspex glass boxes about 4 inches thick. She brought a polar bear with her to show us, which was made out of a textured silk and then embroidered on using the Irish machine. They are quite big too, some being about 2 metres tall!!


She also brought with her some huge skirt-like pieces which she had made for her first real gallery space. Having just stepped slightly out of the fashion world, she wanted to continue with her passion for fashion in another way, and came up with these bespoke pieces which showed off her amazing talent. (Sorry about the quality of the images- to see the original ones visit Karen's web page which I have linked to at the top)

The detail is astounding and it was one of the best lectures I think I've ever had!! At the end she very sneakily mentioned her new book, 'Embellished, New Vintage', which I now have on order and looks fabulous!! Here it is on Amazon, if you are interested.

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