Wednesday, 28 November 2012

How I fell in love with a gold rhino

The internet is a funny ol' place isn't it? One day you're sat around with The Stitchettes, planning the Embroidering the Truth exhibition and the next, you're helping out Mr X Stitch at the Stitch & Craft show in the Olympia in London.

For those of you not in the know Mr X Stitch is the place you need to go to if you're looking for anything vaguely contemporary when it comes to stitching/embroidering. Every day there's a new post up featuring the latest person to be at the forefront of cool stitchiness and it's the place to go if you're looking for something a little bit different, a little bit inspirational and, if you happen to be looking on a Saturday, something that might make your head spin a little bit.

Mr X is also the man behind Push: Stitchery which is an almost painfully cool book showcasing those right at the edge of art - you know, pushing things on and moving things forward. I know there are many that would love it as a Christmas present.

And if you still don't know him, you may well have seen him without realising when he appeared on Kirstie's Handmade Britain, pitting his beautiful cross-stitched silhouette of Whitby Abbey up against her appliqued cushion in the Great Yorkshire Show. (He was robbed let me tell you.)

We had such a great time last year, that when Mr X Stitch said he needed some volunteers for the Knitting & Stitching show in Harrogate, myself and another Stitchette pootled across from Preston and Hull to hang out with the coolest stitchy person I know.

This time the exhibition was biggerer and betterer than ever before. This stall featured Art with a capital Ar and as Mr X becomes more well known on the scene, he has access to cooler pieces of work than ever before and some of the pieces in the exhibition are by artists featured in the Push: Stitchery book.

For instance. What better way to grab people's attention as they walk in than with this piece:

Yes. That would be cross stitch. On a car door.

It is the phenomenal work of Severija Incirauskaite-Kriauneviciene who not only has an unpronouncable name but has a ridiculous wealth of talent.

There were so many pictures taken of this door just in the 1 day that I was at the show - it must be popping up on blogs and social media sites all over the place and I hope I see more and more of her in the future.

But he didn't just stop at car doors. Why have just a car door when you could have an actual wooden door as well?

I was transfixed by this piece of total beauty from Manchester based artist Sarah Greaves - I spent a huge amount of time encouraging people to look behind the door as people were assuming that this was in some way stuck on the door and couldn't comprehend that this is 100% embroidery on wood - there are wee tiny little holes in there that she has made.

My head cannot get around it.

I should also mention at this point that I fell in love with a piece. And I really mean fell in love with. I couldn't leave him alone and stood jealously beside him any opportunity I got, sneering at those who pretended to like him when they couldn't conjure up a fraction of my feelings towards him.

Meet Humphrey.

Please note this is not his real name, merely the name I gave him. His show name is Gold Rhino and he is the work of Zoe Williams, a person, who I'm pretty sure if I ever met I would swoon away, overcome by the waves of talent that must emanate from her body.

Believe it or not, this is needle felting. No. I can't believe it either. I've seen people do a bit of needle felting and it looks fun - stabbing things very hard with a needle is the kind of craft I could get on board with - but never in all my days would I have thought that something as stunningly beautiful as this could be produced.

I swear I actually miss him now that I'm back home. Who needs a deer head?

These are just three of the artists with pieces on display at the show and I fear I have lost many of you already so I will stop gushing here. But if you were interested in some of the other pieces that were on display you can go here for a full list.

It was a day for enjoying people. For sitting or standing and chatting to people about a shared love - that of stitchiness. It was great to watch people being amazed by the car door or standing back to admire the various pieces and stopping to have a chat about how blown away they were by what they were seeing and all the idea they now had in their head floating about.

Places like the Knitting & Stitching show can tend towards the traditional shall we say and it felt good to be a very minor part of something new and a bit different.

So here's to Mr X Stitch and all those people who continue to be at the Stitchy edge of things, bringing a little bit of magic to common folk like me.


  1. You really ought to have a crack at needlefelting. It is so much fun and quite cheap to try out. I love needlefelting onto fabric or knitting and felted fabric.

    I didn't make it into the actual exhibition bit, for which I am very sad. We only had three hours there because all the disabled parking was taken and the nearest place I could use my blue badge was in parking permit area that only gives a maximum of three hours. To be honest I was shattered after three hours so it worked out ok, but I was still sad to miss all the cool stuff.

    I have to say I thought the Show was much better than last time I went. There was more balance between the crafts and there were fewer old fashioned type stands. I think the arts and crafts movement is definitely getting cooler at this show!

  2. I've always fancied a spot of needlepoint, this might just inspire me to go and by some supplies!

    Thank Rhino is majestic. Lovely post and looks like it was a lovely event too! x


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