This year’s Knitting and Stitching Show at the Alexandra Palace was a treat. Not only did I get to meet some fantastic new crafters, I also managed to have some fascinating discussions with some amazing people.
Over the next few weeks I shall feature some of the new talent I saw featured at the show, from new students to established artists, but for now I shall share with you my thoughts about this year’s show.
I was blessed with the company of Ellen Schinderman for two of my three days at the show this year. We had a great time checking out the action and running excitedly over to each other with news of new finds, and it was great to be able to introduce her to so many other great people like my good friend Elena Hall, Design Coordinator for Fine Cell Work. Schinders is a legend, a brilliant artist and I’m honoured to have spent such a fine time in her company.
One thing I learned this year is that were it not for the Knitting & Stitching show, I fear the contemporary embroidery and needlecraft movement would have ground to a halt years ago. I had the pleasure of meeting Andrew Salmon, the Director of Twisted Thread, the show organisers, and it was illuminating to realise how much effort he and his amazing team put into the curation of the event. Over the years they have encouraged new textile artists to take part in the show and have consistently collated a good range of knitters and stitchers whose work has educated and inspired people about what is possible.
Each show features a wide range of artists and the curation takes place without hanging on a particular theme. It’s something that is taken for granted now, but the variety and scope of the stitched work on show is what sets this show apart from its peers, and is what keeps people coming back for more.
As well as the artwork, the show provides a great opportunity for the various Guilds and independent art collective groups to showcase their works. I’d like to give a nod to the ladies representing the Japanese Embroidery Guild, who were really enthusiastic about their craft and were really keen to encourage people to participate. From Batik to lacemaking, it seems there’s a Guild for everyone, so if you have a particular favourite, why not find out where your local Guild branch is.
In many ways, the marketplace element of the show, filling the main hall with more knitting and stitching accoutrements can distract you from the sheer number of artisan stalls in the show – certainly if you only have one day to visit, the chances are you’ll never see it all. On my third day at the show I managed to have a good meander round the marketplace – I spent quite some time drooling over the Bernina 830 sewing machine and managed to get hold of the most rock and roll pair of scissors I’ve ever seen.
As you know, this is a stichy blog, so I’m just going to make quick reference to a couple of knitters and we can move on. First up is Amy Trigger Holroyd from Keep & Share, who is a stitch hacking genius. I was so impressed with her work and her whole ethos that I even bought a crochet kit from her (gasp!).
Another fantastic knitter was Deryn Relph whose reupholstered knitted chair deservedly won a textile award at the show. It was so vibrant and cool, and Deryn is a lovely person. And finally a big shout out to Lauren and the Stitch London gang. I’ll say more about then when I report back from the aftershow party that Perri Lewis and I hosted… 🙂
All in all the show was another great success. If you get a chance to visit it at Dublin or Harrogate I would thoroughly recommend it. And if you didn’t make it this time, be sure to put it in your calendar for next year!
The Cutting (& Stitching) Edge is brought to you in association with Embroidery As Art, the inspirational stitched art blog from the legendary Jenny Hart.