Full Bloomby Niamh McCooey
Guest post by Elenaor Edwardes
British Craft: The Miami Edit is currently on show at The New Craftsmen in London. Featuring ten makers, this show is the result of a two-year collaboration with The Crafts Council UK and was previously displayed at Form Miami, a new applied arts fair. Alongside the work of Women’s Hour Craft prize winner Phoebe Cummings and a new collaboration between Sebastian Cox and Sue Paraskeva, viewers will get to see one of Anna Ray’s kaleidoscopic, stitched and stained wall tapestries.
Photograph by Rick Pushinsky
Ray studied Tapestry at Edinburgh College of Art (1994-99), created a number of works for legal firm Wragge Lawrence & Co and became an artist in residence at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show from 2015-16. Last year the artist also took part in the game-changing exhibition Entangled: Threads & Making at Margate’s Turner Contemporary.
Ray's new piece at The New Craftsmen is titled Bloom (Marguerite). Made to resemble the centre of a flower, it is partially intended as an homage to the tapestry Hill For My Friend by Maureen Hodge (1976) which featured a mound of daisies. Made from a mixture of cotton, plywood, polyester, machine and hand stitch, Ray's piece at first appears quite simple, but on closer inspection the evidence of laborious hand-making becomes clear.
Flowers, pixilation and geometric patterns have all been inspirational themes for the artist throughout her career, as have experimenting with different materials and the layering of textures. 'I absorb visual textures and structures from the world around me: surfaces, patterns, networks,' Ray explains. 'My mind is perpetually drawn to these phenomena… I work with my subconscious, handling humble materials: wrapping, cutting, stitching, staining, until I arrive at forms and surfaces that thrill and intrigue me. To me, a textile should have a kind of ambiguity, or should have a mystery about it.'
British Craft: The Miami Edit, 23 January – 22 February 2018
The New Craftsmen, 34 North Row, Mayfair, London W1K 6DG