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January February 2021

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from the editor

As we enter the New Year, the January-February 2021 issue opens with a review of some of the textile trends to emerge in recent years, and we highlight those we think will stick around in 2021 – from craftivism and working with natural materials, to our love affair with colour. In place of our usual book reviews, we highlight 20 new textile books being published this year – from embroidery to quilting, methods to mastery, there is something for everyone in our selection.

In between, we’ve packed our pages with some of the brightest, best, most inspirational talent we could find, each of whom is a master of technique. We step inside the walls of Kate Jenkins’ Kemptown studio, which is brimming with bright yarns, 1970s cookbooks and sardine cans – all food for thought in her crocheted artworks. Our cover artist Danielle Clough took up hand embroidery relatively recently, after her embroidered tennis rackets became an internet sensation. Although she lives and works in Cape Town, her embroidery is in demand around the world and she’s been commissioned by clients including Nike, Gucci and Adobe. She reveals why she became obsessed with embroidery.

Techniques like Bargello, last popular in the 1970s, are making a comeback, thanks to a new generation exploring its potential. Cecelia Charlton is one such artist; she uses her training as a painter to create vivid compositions you can’t ignore.

Another artist exploring the potential of  colour and pattern is Jacob Monk. Monk discovered ikat weaving whilst studying textile design and is tipped for the top thanks to his natural ability with colour. The love affair with technique continues: Ealish Wilson takes the age-old tradition of hand-smocking, and combining it with digital print, creates striking three-dimensional textile wall works and sculptures. We talk to the American quilter, Luke Haynes about the practical and artistic allure of quilting as an artform. And we meet Marian Bijenga, the latest artist in our ‘pioneer’ series, also works in three dimensions. Her work is hard to categorise: employing a range of unconventional materials (mud, porcupine quills, fish scales, whale bones, leaves, parchment, flax, sandpaper) she describes her process as ‘drawing in space’. We also pay tribute to another pioneer, Audrey Walker (1928-2020), whose influence on several generations of artists working with textiles is of huge significance to 20th century art textiles. Finally in the fifth and concluding part of her series of articles, textile curator and author Jennifer Harris discusses whether the polarities between art, textiles and craft still remain.