Taking place in the iconic Alexandra Palace, the Knitting & Stitching Show is the biggest textile event in the UK and features some of the top textile artists exhibiting their work. Textile artist Carol Naylor's exhibition A Stitched Timeline will be on display at the Show. She talked to Jessica Edney about her life and work.
What was your journey towards becoming a textile artist like?
I always wanted to be a painter but when I applied to Goldsmiths Art School I didn’t get in. I was then offered a place on what was a new degree in textiles and embroidery. Initially, I struggled, but gradually realized that I could use needle and thread as an alternative way of drawing and painting, and my life changed forever! After graduating I went into teaching and lecturing, discovering and exploring new techniques with my students. In 1997 I decided to go freelance and I’ve never looked back.
Could you tell me about the story behind your latest exhibition?
“A Stitched Timeline” showcases my work from the 70s to the present day. Its been exciting and revealing, looking back, seeing how ideas grew into new pieces, that then led on to another stage. Hand embroidery influenced by the 1970s abstract expressionists, experimental papermaking in the 80s, 1990s architectural embroideries inspired by my travels, and pieces that explored contours lead you towards my contemporary, densely machine stitched land, sea and skyscapes.
What was your favourite part of the process of creating your pieces?
I love drawing and colour more than anything. I have always kept a sketchbook and in these I draw, play, doodle and think. I then start by stitching a few major shapes and lines on my base fabric, and the creative process takes over as I begin to draw with my machine. I never know exactly how each piece will end.
What other projects have you been working on?
I belong to a group of contemporary artists. We have an annual exhibition that is theme led, and I find this an interesting challenge. This year’s theme was Elemental which I explored through watching and trying to record weather conditions. You can see my most recent pieces here.
What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?
My two trusty Bernina 1008s. Not for me the all singing all dancing computerised machines. I need to control the machine, change tensions freely, and fly!
See A Stitched Timeline at the Knitting & Stitching Show, 11 - 14 October 2018 at Alexandra Palace, London, UK.