Scottish textile artist Gillian Cooper is introducing a new dimension to this year's Festival of Quilts being held 11-14 August at the Birmingham NEC.
Visitors to the show will be able to walk through her exhibition space, virtually rubbing shoulders with the ethereal life-sized figures that she has created in her piece entitled “Unsung Muses”.
The installation, consisting of quilted pieces, floating figures and transparent hangings, celebrates the lives and influence of our female ancestors and forgotten goddesses - the “unsung muses” who have shaped the lives of so many women today. Gillian has incorporated the notion of time passing by creating outlined rather than detailed figures, almost hovering under layers of embellishment and organza; slightly obscured but never forgotten.
“The idea of what is needed to give a shape human form has fascinated me for ages and this was a way of exploring it. How little is required to give an outline a sense of human presence? A number of years ago, I explored the idea by looking at dolls, but I couldn’t get it to work for me. With these figures, I found a stronger connection”, said Gillian.
The figures are pieced from a variety of over-painted and hand-dyed fabrics and incorporate discarded clothes and remnants from earlier projects. Once the figures were pieced, further detail was added using oil sticks and extensive machine quilting.
“I hope that ‘Unsung Muses’ will strike a chord with many of the visitors to the show helping them to reconnect with the fabulous goddesses and winged angels that are part of their own narrative”, said Gillian.
After an early career in accountancy, Gillian studied textiles at Goldsmiths in London. Her first solo exhibition was at The Changing Room in Stirling in 2010, entitled “the 37 steps”, which was based on photographs taken every 37 steps made during the course of one day. Her work has been included in a number of publications including Popular Patchwork and Contemporary Textiles by Janis Jefferies et al. Gillian runs regular workshops and lectures throughout the UK. Her current workshop programme includes Journal Quilts, 3D Paper Piecing and Felt Pictures. She also undertakes commissions in all price ranges. Unsung Muses is available for purchase as a whole piece or in sections. Festival of Quilts 2011 will be held 11th to 14th August, 10am to 5.30pm (closes 5pm Sun), visit www.twistedthread.com
for more information. For further information about Gillian's work, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
, visit www.gilliancooper.co.uk