Artist in focus – Ailish Henderson


Ailish Henderson shares her view on the world of embroidery - it's the Ailist!

I tend to write a lot about other artists, so for this column I have decided to interview myself, so that you can all get some insight into my practice – the person behind the editor of Mr X Stitch.

Artist Interview – Ailish Henderson

Artist image

Artist Statement

I am a practitioner, researcher and teacher.

My career within the arts started in Painting, quickly incorporating Textiles. I have studied these subjects formally for the last thirteen years.

My current practice is cemented upon researching the connection between Emotional Repair x making – It is my belief founded on evidence based investigations that across creative disciplines, there can be a form of restoration for the author of works, brought about via the act of making, not the outcome itself – Maker: Mended. Thematically this vocalises the embracement of damage through the outworking of ones hands. This evidences itself in both written and practical forms. My largest works are Humanised Sculptures which empathetically portray a personal narrative of amelioration. My recent investigative work sits on the edge of the Textiles genre, creating bridging outcomes which connect familiar fabrics with substances not generally associated with this medium, such as Jesmonite.

I have written for a number of art related publications and currently I serve as Editor in Chief for Mr X Stitch.

I offer lectures / tutoring within the Textiles/Print/Mixed Media fields.

I own my own range of Printed Textiles, sold through Handmade in Britain. This range serves as a timeless catalogue of my work and wearable form of art for the purchaser. I am represented as a designer by Craft Design Studio. I exhibit my work on invitation.

What do you describe your ‘role’ as?

This is a question I really hate…it is difficult to categorize ones’ work under one heading, however….

I currently:

  • Teach and lecture about textiles and related subjects.
  • Develop my own line of Printed Textiles.
  • Editor-in-Chief of Mr X Stitch.
  • Write for magazines on occasion.
Works in progress

What drives you to create?

I have never felt I have had a choice in the matter.  There was never a day in history where I had a career change or suddenly decided to become an artist – I simply am.

I am quite a black and white person, I say it as it is – thus this comes out in my work, even when it may not be exactly obvious to others.

I view my work as more of a visual diary. I can look back at a piece and remember when and why I created it – for example, when developing the concept behind this piece ‘Pistachio Smiles’, I had exact memories to work from; capturing a moment in time.

designer maker pistachio smiles
Pistachio Smiles (2016)

Do you ever work in collaboration with others?

Yes and no.  I find myself inspired by other artists and I do work with Art Galleries and companies on a commission basis; however I have never been involved in a direct artist collaboration.

Last year I was asked by Craft Design House to develop a line of Printed Textiles for The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow to idolise their ‘Leonardo Da Vinci’ exhibition.  So really, that’s where my style of ‘collaboration; fits in at present.

How do you make a living from what you do?

As explained in brief above, I do teach and lecture on a freelance basis.  This means that admittedly whilst it is good money when you get it, it takes time and effort as well as commitment to find it!  It also requires understanding – there will be lots of times with zero money coming in!

I am also building my Printed Textiles Collection – a purchasable line of scarves; with other items available on request.  I will be launching a range of interior products eventually too.

A piece from my ‘Gallery Set’ collection.

I was able to have a photoshoot recently, which really helped to visually vocalise my work to the higher end client. It was an education in itself and really made me appreciate the value of good art photography; really when you think about it, this is the only way most observers are going to get a first glimpse of your work – so it has to capture their attention.

One of my scarves, modelled by myself

Pieces like the one above are available to purchase through Handmade in Britain online

What’s the future?

I hope to produce ranges of interior products soon, branching out from my current lines based around the ‘wearable’ as it were. This should extend the interest surrounding my work.

Fabric ready to make products for interiors

To view more of my portfolio, please do go right ahead and visit my website: www.ailishhenderson.com

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