Image: Abigail Booth, Forest + Found. Photographer: Alun Callender.
As part of our Winter of Making series, we asked one of our favourite makers, the artist Abigail Booth of Forest + Found to tell us about her work and what making means to her in the run up to Christmas. Booth’s patchworked and painted canvases explore the psycho-natural surface of the constructed, textile image.
What are you making right now?
I’m busy working on a new series of quilted pieces to be shown next year. It is really refreshing to have something to get my teeth into as lockdown has postponed and cancelled so many projects I was meant to be a part of. At the moment my focus is on two new large quilted paintings. They are pieced from a mixture of found and reclaimed fabrics that are dyed and painted with natural pigments including ochres from the South of France (sourced while on a trip teaching for Selvedge at Chateau Dumas several years ago) and madder root grown on my old allotment in London. The studio at the moment is part science lab and part sewing room as I have many experiments in pigments on the go, whilst also machine piecing and hand stitching finished sections of painted and dyed canvas.
Does making form part of your Christmas preparation?
I absolutely love the run up to Christmas and making is a huge part of that. Every year I try to make Christmas presents for friends and family. Last year I made everyone a ragdoll angel for their tree using up scraps from the studio. I am most excited this year for making a Christmas cake. It will be the first time that I will have ever made one. I have an inherited recipe from my Grandpa who was a pastry chef, which I am particularly excited to perfect. I often try to revive his recipes at Christmas time to give as gifts to our wider family in memory of him. His Ginger Cake is exceptional, and I always make it in early December to tempt our taste buds with festive spices.
If you were to recommend one of your products as a gift what would it be?
My partner Max and I have just launched a collection of small works and editions for sale through our website. The pieces were made throughout the last lockdown back in the spring and summer of this year and finished over the last six weeks in our new Somerset studio. Each work was made solely from the material we had immediately to hand in our old London studio, resulting in a body of previously unexplored and familiar forms on a much smaller scale. 10% of the proceeds of each sale in the run up to Christmas will be donated to the Crafts Council's LET'S CRAFT appeal.
Is there a maker you would recommend to our readers as they prepare their Christmas shopping list?
I absolutely love the work of Suzanna James Knitwear, who I met when we exhibited next to each other many years ago. She is such an inspirational knitwear designer whose craft is so deeply rooted in ethical practices and supporting women at the very source of textile production. I have long hankered after one of her beautiful berets, and her Chloe Jumpers in grey and pink are definitely at the top of my Christmas list.
Which product from the Selvedge website would you recommend putting under your tree?
I would have to choose the beautiful Kopou from the Enajori Collection by 7weaves in madder pink. I have spent the last month investigating the myriad of pigments held within a single madder root, and have slowly fallen in love with the beautiful blushing shades of this native plant of India. A woven stole embodying the essence of this plant would make me very happy on Christmas Day and would be a piece to be cherished over a lifetime.
For more information visit www.forest-and-found.com