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135  Christina Massey

134  Mary Grisey

133  Trina Perry Carlson

132  Anne Kelly

131  Louise Lemieux Bérubé

130  Dorothy McGuinness

129  Penny Mateer

128  Christine Mauersberger

127  Jim Arendt

126  Merce Mitchell

125  Louise Keen

124  Rosemary Claus-Gray

123  Mary Giehl

122  Emily Hermant

121  Robin Wiltse

120  Barbara Klunder

119  Megan Skyvington

118  Rachel Brumer

117  Heike Blohm

116  Shanell Papp

115  Carmella Karijo Rother

114  C. Pazia Mannella

113  Karen Goetzinger

112  Andrew MacDonald

111  Jeanne Williamson

110  Catherine Heard

109  Rosemary Hoffenberg

108  Cathy Breslaw

107  Leslie Pontz

106  Cas Holmes

105  Geri deGruy

104  Suzanne Morlock

103  Barbara De Pirro

102  Kathryn Clark

101  Noelle Hamlyn

100  Judith Mullen

99  Barbara J. Schneider

98  Merill Comeau

97  Beverly Ayling-Smith

96  Barbara Hilts

95  Mackenzie Kelly-Frère

94  Anna Keck

93  Pilar Sans Coover

92  Dolores_Slowinski

91  Leslie Pearson

90  Temma Gentles

89  Tilleke Schwarz

88  Anna Torma

87  Kim Stanford

86  Ingrid Lincoln

85  Anna Hergert

84  Joy Walker

83  Maximo Laura

82  Marie Bergstedt

81  Alice Vander Vennen

80  Xia Gao

79  Leisa Rich

78  Megan Q. Bostic

77  Sayward Johnson

76  Heather Komus

75  Sheila Thompson

74  Kerstin Benier

73  Molly Grundy

72  Nathan Johns

71  Lorena Santin-Andrade

70  Lisa DiQuinzio

69  Nancy Yule

68  Jenine Shereos

67  Bovey Lee

66  Nell Burns

65  Lancelot Coar

64  Elisabetta Balasso

63  Matthew Cox

62  Yulia Brodskaya

61  Lotta Helleberg

60  Kit Vincent

59  Barbara Heller

58  Catherine Dormor

57  Joyce Seagram

56  Yael Brotman

55  David Hanauer

54  Dwayne_Wanner

53  Pat Hertzberg

52  Chris Motley

51  Mary Catherine Newcomb

50  Cybèle Young

49  Vessna Perunovich

48  Fukuko Matsubara

47  Jodi Colella

46  Anastasia Azure

45  Marjolein Dallinga

44  Libby Hague

43  Rita Dijkstra

42  Leanne Shea Rhem

41 Lizz Aston

40  Sandra Gregson

39  Kai Chan

38  Edith Meusnier

37  Lindy Pole

36  Melanie Chikofsky

35  Laurie Lemelin

34  Emily Jan

33  Elisabeth Picard

32  Liz Pead

31  Milena Radeva

30  Rochelle Rubinstein

29  Martha Cole

28  Susan Strachan Johnson

27  Karen Maru

26  Bettina Matzkuhn

25  Valerie Knapp

24  Xiaoging Yan

23  Hilary Rice

22  Birgitta Hallberg

21  Judy Martin

20  Gordana Brelih

19  Mary Karavos

18  Rasma Noreikyte

17  Judith Tinkl

16  Joanne Young

15  Allyn Cantor

14  Pat Burns-Wendland

13  Barbara Wisnoski

12  Robert Davidovitz

11  Amy Bagshaw

10  Jesse Harrod

9  Emma Nishimura

8  June J. Jacobs

7  Dagmar Kovar

6  Ixchel Suarez

5  Cynthia Jackson

4  Lorraine Roy

3  Christine Mockett

2  Amanda McCavour

1  Ulrikka Mokdad


Blue Sky, found and vintage fabric, ribbon, lace, image transfer, hand and machine stitch, 2013, Photo: Anne Kelly


Baroque Ceiling, found and vintage fabric, ribbon, lace, metallic trim, hand and machine stitch, 2013, Photo: Anne Kelly


The Good Earth, found and vintage fabric, ribbon, canvas, trim, hand and machine stitch, 2013, Photo: Anne Kelly


Artist: Anne Kelly, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, UK

Interview 132: Anne exhibited in the 2014 World of Threads Festival in the exhibition Solo Shows & Installations in the Corridor Galleries at out main festival venue Queen Elizabeth Park Community and Cultural Centre in Oakville, Ontario, Canada.

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Interviews published and curated by Gareth Bate & Dawne Rudman.




Anne Kelly grew up in Quebec, Canada and has always been inspired by folk and naïve art. Her grandmother was a versatile craftswoman and she remembers being surrounded by her work from an early age. Anne trained at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, Canada in its renowned Fine Art department and then won two consecutive Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation scholarships to travel. She went to London, England and continued her training at Goldsmiths College, which has a wonderful textile tradition. Anne is co-author of Connected Cloth (Batsford 2013), about collaborations in textile art. She is currently writing a solo book 'Textile Nature' due out in 2016, also for Batsford. She also writes for her own and invited blogs and magazines. Anne tutors and teaches fine art and textiles to a variety of groups. She was a featured artist at the Jersey Textile Showcase last year. Anne exhibits and curates group exhibitions in the United Kingdom and abroad. She was artist in residence at Sussex Prairies Garden in West Sussex for the 2014 season. Anne exhibited pieces from her Apron Series at last year's international World of Threads Festival event in Oakville, Ontario, Canada in November 2014. Anne's Website.


Artist Anne Kelly. Photo: Rachel Whiting


Tell us about your work:

I work in fabric collage, creating dense, multilayered pieces using vintage and recycled textiles and stitch. My training as a fine artist influences the collation of my work and I use paper and metallic surfaces in addition to cloth. My imagery is informed by folk and naïve art and outsider artists are a favourite area of research. I am particularly interested in the link between nature and textile art and am writing a book on this subject due out in 2016. Birds have become a central motif and my fundraising for the British Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) charity has developed into some large scale collaborative and installation work. Lately I have been experimenting with new surfaces, using recycled wood off cuts as a base to present my work.


Blue Sky, found and vintage fabric, ribbon, lace, image transfer, hand and machine stitch, 2013, 90 x 80 cm, sewn textile collage. Photo: Anne Kelly


You mention that inspiration comes from your travels, memory and vintage imagery. Talk to us about the inspiration you draw from vintage imagery:

I have always collected vintage natural history books and been inspired by the simple and colourful depiction of plants and birds. I use interesting text and pages from herbals and books on these subjects as backgrounds and elements for my collage work. Recently antique seed packets have entered the mix!


The Good Earth, found and vintage fabric, ribbon, canvas, trim, hand and machine stitch, 2013, 130 x 110 cm, sewn textile collage. Photo: Anne Kelly


From which of your travels have you found the most inspiration?

I love to travel and have been fortunate to have been to many parts of Canada and Europe, as well as further afield. It is always the everyday environments, in towns and the countryside that inspire. Berlin is an amazing city and when I visit I draw, stitch and collect vintage fabric. Public spaces there are everything from cutting edge architecture to Soviet era housing projects and are very inspirational.


Baroque Ceiling, found and vintage fabric, ribbon, lace, metallic trim, hand and machine stitch, 2013, 95 x 85 cm, sewn textile collage. Photo: Anne Kelly


You also draw from your memory. Does this relate to any particular person/s, event/s place/s?

I believe that the thought and intention process is what separates craft from art although this is a blurry line! I work from nature and use memory and the feeling of a place or event to give the pieces depth. In Cock and Pye Fields, I've used an area in central London and its old street names to create an atmospheric piece that reflects current life there, with the new British Museum courtyard as a feature.


Greek Dress Apron, found and vintage fabric, lace, ribbon, vintage embroidery, hand and machine embroidery, 2013, 60 x 90 cm, sewn textile collage. Photo: Anne Kelly


You enjoy working collaboratively. Tell us about a major collaboration that you have worked on.

I've loved working with the artist in residence at our local cancer hospice on a piece Supporting Statements. Patients and caregivers were asked to choose their favourite plant or flower and tell us why they chose it. They then stitched the outline of the plant in red after drawing it onto recycled fabric. The group's work was stitched together and travelled to the international Palliative Care Congress in Harrogate, Yorkshire, UK in March 2014.


Waistcoat Bird Tree, found and vintage textile layers, machine and hand embroidery, 2013, 60 x 60 cm, sewn textile collage. Photo: Anne Kelly


Why did you consider this project a success and what did you take a way from it?

It was a success because of the enjoyment and fulfillment that the patients and caregivers achieved by making the work and the way that it hung together when finished. Their comments added depth to their work for the viewers and participants.


Red Tree, found and vintage textile layers, machine and hand embroidery, ribbon and cross stitch panel, 2014, 115 x 115 cm, sewn textile collage. Photo: Anne Kelly


You do quite a bit of teaching to a variety of age groups and to various skill levels. How does your approach vary between age groups?

I always start with a mark making exercise such as drawing or printing. This enables students to 'loosen up' and helps their confidence and skill base. I try not to pre-judge the ability of a certain age group – it is amazing what dexterity and talent five year olds have! The main objective with any age group is to engender a sense of achievement.


Cock and Pye Fields, found and vintage textile layers, machine and hand embroidery, image transfer, 2010, 80 x 80 cm, sewn textile collage. Photo: Anne Kelly


Which level of student do you find the easiest and the hardest to work with and why?

All students bring their own challenges and rewards. My aim is to make each person believe in their own abilities. Their faith in themselves is often eroded in all age groups by poor teaching or a bad experience creatively. The more open the student is to learning, the more they will achieve.


St. James' Park Crows - Dress, found and vintage textile layers, machine and hand embroidery, stencil and paint on canvas, 2009,45 x 55 cm, sewn textile collage. Photo: Anne Kelly


You have also taught abroad. What are the major differences between teaching locally and internationally?

I use the same approach to teaching and working locally and abroad. I've worked with and at the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum in Almonte, near Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. It is a wonderfully restored mill and has a spacious education room. We looked at nature in Canada – the only difference being some of the terminology! 'Cotton' in the UK can refer to thread as well as the fabric for example!


Russell Square, found and vintage textile layers, machine and hand embroidery, 2009, 90 x 90 cm, sewn textile collage. Photo: Anne Kelly


What have been the major challenges you have experienced and how have you overcome these challenges?

I have a super-supportive group of family and friends and I took a hiatus from exhibiting while raising a family. Now grown up, they are wonderful critics and are enjoying my successes with me. I never take it for granted and appreciate being healthy and sharing a positive outlook. I remind myself daily how fortunate I am to be doing what I love.


The Small Hours, found and vintage fabric, upholstery trim, image transfer, hand and machine stitch, 2013, 95 x 80 cm, sewn textile collage. Photo: Anne Kelly


In the interview for the Batsford Publishers' Blog you say: The best thing about working with other people, whether it be artists, curators or students, is the exchange of ideas. We'd be interested to hear more:

I believe that artists should never stop learning, and the exchange of ideas with other artists and makers is a good way to ensure this. I recently had a meeting with my editor at Batsford Books in London. I made a suggestion about the layout for my forthcoming book Textile Nature, and she took it to a new level by building on my ideas. I've recently started working on a wood base and this was as a result of a total accident when I bought wood offcuts for our charity fundraising weekend at Sussex Prairies garden.


Park Life, found and vintage textile layers, machine and hand embroidery, ribbon, 2011, 40 x 40 cm, sewn textile collage, Photo: Anne Kelly


Are there any specific historic, contemporary and/or fibre artists who have influenced your work or inspired you?

I always baulk at this question, as there are so many! A friend recently said 'you have to love stitch to work in it' and I find just the feel and texture of a stitched cloth totally inspiring.

I love the large and folksy hand-stitched pieces of New Brunswick, Canada based artist Anna Torma; the subversive and timely work about women and domesticity of Caren Garfen – she is now stitching on biscuits! I have long admired Alice Kettle's monumental works, always painterly.

Closer to home, Nancy Nicholson's embroidered birds and folk patterns are stunning. I've been fortunate to teach with some wonderful practitioners this year; Kim Thittichai the 'queen' of mixed media and transfer. Also Val Holmes with her painterly and print –influence approach. Alice Fox is an alchemist, blending buried fabric and making dyes from everything around her and of course Cas Holmes who I worked with on 'Connected Cloth'. I am interested in English design and painting from the interwar years and artists who are influenced by that period like Alison Milner a product designer who prints on fabric and other household materials, Melvyn Evans a local printmaker who is inspired by the Kent landscape, Mark Hearld a talented illustrator who uses birds and nature and Maxine Sutton another product designer and owner of ' Blackbird' shop and studio in Margate. A small snippet!


Sophie Bianca, found and vintage textile layers, machine and hand embroidery, 2012, 90 x 90 cm, sewn textile collage. Photo: Anne Kelly


What role do you think fibre art plays in contemporary art and what do you see as the biggest challenge facing fibre artists?

Fibre art is another tool for artists to use. I admire the work of Eva Hesse and Louise Bourgeois, who were trailblazers in using textile work in fine art. The intention of fibre artists is conveyed through the materials that we use – the 'soul' of fibre and its versatility as well as its connection with everyone makes it exciting yet approachable.


Taiwan Night Market, found and vintage textile layers, machine and hand embroidery, ribbon, 2011, 90 x 90 cm, sewn textile collage, Photo: Anne Kelly

Home Country, found and vintage textile layers, machine and hand embroidery, ribbon and paint, 2012, 65 x 55 cm, sewn textile collage. Photo: Anne Kelly


You have also co-authored a book, Connected Cloth: Creating Collaborative Textile Projects. Tell us about that:

Cas Holmes and I had been working and exhibiting together after a chance encounter at West Dean College and we had both wanted to document our collaboration in a book. We felt that a book about working with artists, community groups, museums and in education could appeal to a wide audience. We were commissioned by Batsford Books to put together a proposal that was happily accepted.


Anne Kelly working in her studio Photo: Rachel Whiting

Anne Kelly Seed Bird Map, in box in studio Photo: Rachel Whiting


What was the biggest challenge for you in writing this book.

Naturally when two artists work together there are bound to be different approaches and visions, but I think we managed to choose complementary topics and put together a good variety of imagery and subject matter for our readers. Although our work can at times reflect similar subject matter, we both use unique techniques and methods to making our individual pieces. The work is also complementary but quite different as stand alone artists. The book has helped to raise both of our profiles.


Anne Kelly work in progress Emboidered Bird Series Photo: Rachel Whiting


You are working on another book. Tell us a little about that:

I was very flattered to be asked to submit a proposal for a solo book and was determined to consider the subject that would reflect my current work and interests in the most interesting way. The new book Textile Nature is due out in 2016 and will focus on the recurrent theme of nature in textiles – a huge area that could fill many books. I am focusing on aspects that relate to textile artists and how they adapt it in their work. It is a huge challenge and responsibility but I am enjoying working with some wonderful artists and makers in the process.


Your work is in the Vatican Collection in Rome. How did that come about?

I was commissioned by the archdiocese of Southwark, London, England to create a piece for the visit of Pope Benedict XVI. It was daunting but I managed to include my favourite themes – a bird, nature and pattern in it. My work had been seen in previous exhibitions and we tried to create a piece that would reflect the multicultural identity of the diocese.


Anne Kelly's studio. Photo: Rachel Whiting


What interests you about the World of Threads Festival?

I love the way in which artists from all over the world come together to create themed galleries and explore new ideas in the exhibitions.


You have been accepted into the World of Threads Festival 2014. What was your motivation for submitting your work for consideration?

I had created a series of work 'Aprons', which are autobiographical and wanted them to be seen in my home country! I was delighted to be offered a solo gallery space.


Supporting Statements, detail, community collaboration with patients and caregivers from Hospice in the Weald, Kent, UK, hand stitched embroidery on recycled textile base, 2014, stitched textiles. Photo: Anne Kelly


Tell us a little about the commission Red Gables Cottage:

My largest commission to date has been Red Gables Cottage for a family in Australia, who had seen my work on my website and admired the textural qualities of it. The large three-paneled piece incorporates pictures of their house, their pets and family memorabilia as well as maps and favourite plants and flowers. I used a combination of stenciling, collage, applique and hand and machine stitching. The family were delighted 'it is the most fabulous piece of art, and in my opinion, so much better that a painting. It has such depth and detail and the textural component just draws you in and has you exploring the many and varied elements. We love it and hang it proudly. It is an heirloom in the making.'


Norfolk Weeds at Shed Gallery (with Cas Holmes and Gill Newson), found and vintage textile layers, machine and hand embroidery, 2010, sewn textile collage. Photo: Anne Kelly


You are in the middle of an Artist in Residence program at Sussex Prairies. How is that going?

I am loving the residency and enjoying watching the progress of our collaborative piece A Natural History of the Garden. I'm particularly relishing the teaching aspect of the project and meeting visitors to the garden. It is fascinating watching the life of the garden and how much work is involved. I am making new work based on the plants and atmosphere of the garden.


Is there a particular art related book/s that you refer to on a regular basis or from which you draw inspiration?

I love reading and am inspired by all books – one that I keep returning to is a French book 'The Art of Embroidery' by Francoise Tellier Loumagne.

I use Constance Howard's Book of Stitches: The Practical and Inspirational Guide for All Embroiderers for teaching.

A small book from the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford 'English Embroideries' is inspirational.

My friend Sarah Salway, a writer and poet has recently given me 'Nests and Eggs' another vintage book which will come in very handy!


Nature Blocks, stitched textile and paint on wood block, 2014, textile and wood picture. Photo: Anne Kelly


Do you have any upcoming shows?

The Harbour Gallery, Jersey, Channel Island, March 2015
Prague Patchwork Meeting with Cas Holmes, April 2015




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Interviews published by Gareth Bate & Dawne Rudman.


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