Guest post by Eleanor Edwardes
Tapestry weaver Jilly Edwards 'is not', she posits, merely 'a maker of woolly pictures'. Though her tapestry designs are initially worked out through painting and drawing in sketchbooks, once woven they take on a life of their own – abstract shapes, bright colours and painterly mark-making combine with texture and fibre to become something that exceeds the sum of its parts.
Edwards works mainly with natural fibres like wool, cotton and linen and often weaves using a loom constructed from scaffolding poles. She has exhibited at The National Centre for Craft & Design (Lincolnshire), Ruthin Craft Centre, the Whitworth Art Gallery (Manchester) and Gallery Gallery in Japan. After studying at Edinburgh School of Art, she was inspired to weave as a child when she was given a miniature loom to create dolls’ rugs, and later when a teacher encouraged her to ‘weave her paintings’. More recently, her work is inspired by journeys she takes on a daily basis.
'My inspiration has been journeying, whether around the world or to my favourite beach, hillside or just a walk to the corner shop. I always travel with sketchbooks, journals and reading books... As I travel I have to record these responses in quick gestural marks, whether of colour, shapes, textures or words so when I return to the studio I have an ‘aide memoire’ to help embellish my ideas.'
One such tapestry will be on display as part of this year’s Collect exhibition and art fair, the 14th edition of this gathering of 40 galleries from around the world. ‘In-between the Spaces’ is a chronicle depicting Edwards’ last year in 13 sections (each representing a four-week period), taking us on a journey through her ‘woven diary’.
Collect 2018, until 25 February 2018
Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Road, London, SW3 4RY