It’s sad to say that as a group, we’re not particularly brilliant at blogging, but Claire publishes a regular monthly blog - ‘Her Quiet Materials’ - through her website. To take a look or to sign up for the blog, visit www.clairebenn.com
A Sense of Place Exhibition 2017
Firstly, thank you all for visiting the exhibition at the Menier Gallery, it was great to see so many friends and meet new visitors. We had lots of positive feedback and were really pleased how wonderful our work looked hanging together on the gallery walls.
2018 has got off to a positive start and we are writing with an update from two of the group's members. Claire Benn has started writing a monthly blog on Fine Art Textiles and Susie will continue to post updates on her blog page. Please sign up below to their mailing lists
ViewSeven: "A Sense of Place" exhibition next week 5-9December at The Menier Gallery, London
ViewSeven is a group of artists dedicated to the making of art textiles. This exhibition explores responses to different environments and landscapes, and encompasses a wide range of media from raw earth pigments, plant dyes and fibre reactive dyes, with stitch being ever present.
Whilst the works are textile based, this simply means that the starting point is a piece of cloth and in that respect, the work is no different to that of a painter whose starting point is canvas – a piece of cloth. Art textiles are also great for interiors as their softness absorbs sound and provide a gentler feel to the harder, reflective qualities of framed work. Ultimately, ViewSeven’s shared aim is to create great art for contemporary living – art people can live with and enjoy.
My studio is located five steps across the courtyard from the barn where we live, with views across open countryside, the North Downs and Leith Hill. It's a long, thin space (12x3m) with 3 worktables and a wet area at one end. This shot shows 'In the Fullness of Time 4' in the process of being hand stitched. Being in the studio is a joy; I'm surrounded by images and items that give me pleasure. It's quiet (unless I'm playing music) and I can lose myself in the work. The cat often joins me, curling up in his felt nest to sleep - which is better than having him walk over the piece I'm stitching, or flopping down on it to be stroked!
Through the slit windows, the view across the field changes constantly according to the time of year, the time of day and the light; a never-ending source of contemplation and inspiration. In the summer the wildflower meadow is in full bloom and as the flowers die back, birds come to feast; noisy groups of Goldfinches love the Common Knapweed. In winter, flocks of Redwings arrive for a well-earned rest from their migration, and forage the field for seeds. Sometimes the North Downs disappear behind low clouds, as if a veil has been pulled over them. The 'long view' is something I love, but can be a distraction as it's easy to become lost in contemplation; nothing is static, just like my hands.
Claire Higgott, Susie, Claudia and Daline had a fabulous 3 day trip North to visit the Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield that won the Art Fund Museum of the Year Award where the Kettles Yard collection was on temporary display alongside Barbara Hepworth's work, then we drove over the stunning Peak District Moors to visit the Whitworth Gallery in Manchester and see the beautiful new extension that was shortlisted for the architectural Stirling Prize. The following day we spent watching Anthony Gormley's figures emerge from the ebbing tide at his 'Another Place' installation on an almost empty Crosby beach with a backdrop windmills out at sea, the Liverpool docks and the Welsh Mountains in the distance. A trip with plenty of inspiration and all in fabulous sunshine!
If you are reading this you have arrived at ViewSeven’s shiny new website. We hope you like it though it goes without saying that websites are never finished and this one will evolve over time as we tinker with it.
Who are we? We are seven artist makers connected by threads. Over the years we have variously been each other’s student, tutor, mentor or colleague but always friends and since 2013 we have also been an exhibiting group called ViewSeven.
Our specific interests vary widely but the common thread – pun absolutely intended - has been, and continues to be, all things textile. We hope you will explore the new gallery pages which offer a taster of our individual work with links to our personal websites and some sneaky peaks at our studios which are as varied as our work.
Our blog will develop wider themes and explore many of the threads that draw us together like a visit to an exhibition or retreat but also individual stories and sketchbooks.