I am an artist printmaker specialising in collagraph. I love the versatility and the freedom to explore and play that this experimental process offers. For this exhibition I have focused on the characters and dress of the Regency era, while evoking the timelessness of human nature and female friendships. I have also reinterpreted some iconic portraits of the time, using viscosity inking techniques to print.
Gill and Rob Silversides
We dreamed of quitting the rat race and turning our passion into our business. It hasn't been easy and wow have we made some mistakes! After eight years we have finally achieved our goal of making our living from our art and we love it! There's nothing more thrilling than hearing the phrase "I have to have that!" because our work is full of feelings and memories and we hear it when someone really connects. Our work tends to draw on features, textures and colours from the places we love. We are pretty lucky living in the South West. Our home and workshop is in Bath, so we enjoy spending time with friends visiting favourite haunts from the Cotswolds to Cornwall.
Jason's portrait of Jane Austen is currently featured in Bath Life magazine!
I learned to quilt with my mother in the 1970s and made glorious but sadly lost things in huge seventies and Laura Ashley prints. I have loved sewing ever since. My work tends to be about pattern and surface decoration. I really love fabric and prints, but I also never met a bead I didn’t like. As I have been quilting for so many years, I have picked up quite a bit of know-how and tips and tricks. As an academic I researched both the sewing and the sewers. I combine both of these in my talks and workshops.
'From frayed cuffs to finery, from milkmaid to countess'
This piece (in the exhibition) comes out of my life-long interest in Laura Ashley plc and the influence the company had on many women developing their self-image in the 1970s and 1980s. In the early days of the company, Laura Ashley offered women a vision of femininity based on a fantasy of a purer and more moral rural life in contrast to the brash chaos of a changing city world which reached some sort of logical conclusion in punk. Ashley herself was horrified by the downgrading of traditional feminine images and responded with her milkmaid or prairie dresses which would have fitted into the nostalgic television drama Little House on the Prairie with no problem. As the company grew and the Ashleys went to live in their chateau in Picardy, her fashion changed. The printed cotton and aprons morphed into garments more suitable for country house living in richer fabric such as velvet, taffeta, cord and tweed. At the same time, the iconic furnishing catalogue became less a swatch book of paper and paint samples, and more a manual for restoring or creating the grandeur of a neo-Classical home. These catalogues could serve as primers for the new money of the Yuppie generation looking for a way to pass the old money taste test. The period representing good taste that Ashley drew her inspiration from was only slightly later than the one in which Jane Austen wrote her novels.
This piece is based on this etiquette manual phase of Laura Ashley, and is designed around the notion of a dressmaker’s sample book to be shown to clients ordering their new gowns for attendance at the Pump Rooms and the Assembly Rooms, who needed to know that they would be displaying taste, elegance and savoir faire in the city’s marriage markets.
Last, but not least... me! There's probably no need to put a bio here for myself... you're already on my website, go take a nosy around :)
I will say, though, that this is my first go at organising an exhibition myself. I wanted to showcase fresh talent, and to give voice to the idea that the Regency period isn't all about Jane Austen, or impeccable manners, or social graces. Some may say that's blasphemy...
In terms of my own gain from this venture, well, I wanted to put myself out there showing my work and sharing my skills with others. So there you go. I hope you enjoy the exhibition :)
P.S. I took Ann's Boro Inspiration Day textile workshop recently. I thoroughly enjoyed it!