A virtual tour of my textile art exhibition
Welcome to a online version of The World of Jane Austen (Stitched), a textile exhibition of illustrations about the recurring themes in Jane Austen’s work. Below is a video where I will introduce the project, tell you a bit about the artwork and give you a brief tour of the exhibition space. Futher down this page is a gallery of the exhibited works and also links to some of the Jane Austen items in my shop.
Click on the tabs below for more information about the project and artwork.
This exhibition marks a halfway stage in an extended project inspired by the works of Jane Austen and has been put on as part of Portsmouth Bookfest, a city wide book festival. I have been working on this project for about 9 months, researching, designing and making a collection of pieces around the theme.
This series will form a printed book of around 24 illustrations and also a large quilt featuring some of the panels. I am currently halfway through. The 12 completed Theme Illustrations will form half of the book (although some of these shown will be re-worked before they are photographed for print), with a further 12 to be decided.
In June last year I created what I thought was a single piece – a mini quilt featuring the key features of the novel Pride and Prejudice, as an example of my commissioned work. I loved making the piece and when it was completed was compelled to take some of the elements from it to work up into larger illustrations, adding more detail and texture (these turned into the Country Estate and Militia images).
While completing these two larger illustrations I reacquainted myself with Jane Austen’s stories and, head filled with dancing, scandalous elopements and the delights of Bath, I knew I had to continue the project. Instead of illustrating the specific stories I decided to create a series of works on the recurring themes in Jane Austen’s work, and the particular features of the Regency world, such as balls, carriages and bonnets. This is partly because of a personal interest in historical costume and social history, but also because grouping the works together and looking at them at a whole creates a new and intriguing narrative, highlighting the differences between our world and theirs, as well as the themes that were important to the author. I am interested in the things the stories have in common, the types of people, the locations, the occupations and the situations the characters find themselves in.
Most of the themed pieces are inspired not only by the books but also other adaptations and interpretations that have been made since publishing. This includes illustrations from the early printed editions, Illustrated fashion plates from the 1800s, modern versions (such as Alice Pattullo’s Pride and Prejudice) as well as the wide variety of television and film adaptations that have been made.
All of the pieces in this exhibition are made using a specific colour scheme and fabric texture which are all based on one fabric – part of the Tiger Lily collection by Heather Ross.
I found this fabric when I was designing the Pride and Prejudice Book Quilt. It had the modern feel I was looking for, with a floral subject that would fit into the Regency theme. Importantly it also included some of the colours that I knew would be used in the quilt (the yellow, green and dark brown of the country estates) and complemented others (the vibrant red of the Militia’s uniforms).
I decided to base the whole quilt around this fabric and paired the rest of the colours to match. This included a neutral coloured natural cotton, and a range of rich golds, reds and oranges. Notably I have avoided using any cooler blues or purples, which has led to a warm, rich feel to the pieces.
When I decided to continue the project into a series of illustrations, I also kept the colour scheme and went searching for additional fabrics that would fit this tight brief. In addition to the restrictions in colour I also had to find fabric that had a small print (because of the size of the images) or that had an interesting texture that would be picked up when photographed. This texture mainly comes from a range of velvets, double gauzes, and natural cotton and linens that have visible woven threads.
I am pleased with the overall effect of the restricted materials. The colours and prints are modern enough to appeal to a contemporary eye, while the natural fabrics, and gauzes add a pleasing and rustic texture to set the context in history
Illustrations based on the recurring themes in Jane Austen’s work.
Illustrations based on characters from two of the most well known aaptations of Jane Austen’s work.
I have various items for sale based on the exhibition from greetings cards and giclee prints to textile brooches. A few are shown below. Please visit the the Jane Austen section of my shop or click on the categories below.
Some of the original artwork is also for sale, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a catalogue.