Silk, Mixed Media
I promised you an amazing fiber artist from Britain. Now I must deliver. I found Annette Emms purely by serendipity. Stumbling on her blog site, Rowan's Patch, named after her beloved dog and traveling companion, I was captivated by the perfect shoes she makes embellished with silk ribbon and beads along with her immaculate stitching. When I found out those shoes are only about three inches long, and made for native fairies, I was awed! Accompanied by the most gorgeous pictures of her travels around the British Isles, there is no way one can deny that the Muses of Creativity have lived within the well of Annette.
Jane's Flowers, Annette Emms
In addition to her marvelous shoes, Annette builds fiber wall hangings and books. Jane's Flowers was inspired by a slate memorial in a Cornish church. Indeed, much of her inspiration comes from her travels.
Annette teaches and lectures for the Embroiderers Guild, which speaks to the quality of her work. For those of you unaware, Guilds are ancient organizations probably predating 700 CE in Britain and certainly elsewhere, formed to support, apprentice and keep uniform standards of excellence in the various crafts and arts skills. Guild memberships were often by appointment, are jealously guarded, are still governed by ancient law.
“Each time I give a lecture or teach a workshop I come away feeling very fortunate that I can be involved in this wonderful sharing of ideas...I learn so much from my students and it's a joy to be in a position where I can guide a 'hesitant' person..”, says Annette, very in tune with the ancient principles of masters teaching novices.
Indeed, Annette has turned out other artists by inspiration who go on to grand works after attending her lectures, as exampled by one young woman who decided to go to college and study textile art after meeting and listening to Annette. Annette inspires through her articles written for several artisan publications as well.
Annette's Skillywidden book
As Annette and her husband Mike travel, they take incredible photographs. I have encouraged her to publish a book of her photographs anchored by her amazing fiber works!
Mike and Annette Emms with Granddaughter
Here's what she had to say on her work.
DWJ -.When did you begin your fiber work? Who in your life inspired you?
AE - I don't really remember a time when I wasn't interested in creating things with fabric and thread.
As a child I would make garments for my clothes peg dolls. I can remember that I would take a little bag of fabric pieces to stitch on the long train journey to school. Nothings changed, I always have some stitching with me, I can't bear to have still hands.
I had a wonderful teacher when I was 10 years old, Miss Birchley, she showed us how to work traditional stitches and play with colour. At college, my tutor Jan Evans was a great influence on me, she gave me the confidence to experiment and develop my own style.
Puck's Shoes Annette Emms
DWJ -What is the type of work which you feel most drawn to?
AE - Everything I make has to have a story, whether it's a legend or one I've made up, doesn't matter. I love to make books and dimensional pieces, often from a variety of media but they always include a core of fabric and stitch.
I recently made a series of books based on local legends. They have hard covers with secret hiding places, ready to hold treasures relating to the stories. The pages are made from calico and the stories are told with images and text, which I have embroidered, printed or transferred.
This project was such fun. I visited each area where the legend was set and took pictures, sketched and generally got the feel of the place. I felt that this lent authenticity to my work, the Bluebells for example , are the actual flowers that the Fairies danced amongst in 'The legend of the Dragon of Mordiford'.
Princess Badr al-Budur, Annette Emms
DWJ - What areas of your work would you most like to explore in the future? Are there any projects in your sketchbook ready for your hand?
AE - I would very much like to make some pieces for the wall, making books is so time consuming! I have been working on an idea for some interactive wall pieces. You see nothing is simple in my life!
I love the idea that the viewer can discover secrets in my work, for themselves.
A recent visit to west Wales has inspired me, the medieval pilgrimages to St. Davids, the voyages , the Saints , stones and simple churches along the way. . . .
DWJ - Have you considered authoring a book of your work, either as an instructional or as an art book?
AE - That sounds like fun! Yes, I have an idea for a book. I'm not sure what category it would come under though! Briefly, it would be about the many fascinating old parish churches in Great Britain, the people that built them, the countryside around them and the wonderful treasures to be found in and around them. Sounds a bit heavy? Well my idea was to draw the reader into the atmosphere of the place and show them how to use what they find as inspiration for textile art.