Amanda Cook – from fiddle fingers to artist in residence
Before starting her talk Amanda changed into a beautifully embroidered dress and full length velvet cloak which we later found out to be her wedding outfit.
As a child Amanda loved to fiddle with things. She told us she has always been addicted to fabrics and threads and above all, she loved stories. Amanda saw an end of year diploma show and decided she wanted to follow an art foundation course and introduced her love of textiles into her work. After a life changing event, Amanda’s love of stitch helped through difficult times and enabled her to gain understanding by weaving stories into their creation.
Amanda brought along a wonderful selection of quilts and clothes which she had made over the years and during lockdown. She held each up in turn telling us the story behind its creation. Her wedding dress had been made from some old curtains and the lining of the cloak was a patchwork of silk which Amanda had bought during a visit to India. I was particularly amused by the story behind an apron and Amanda read the text which she had embroidered onto the ties. Always searching for unusual items to include in her work, Amanda appliqued lost property onto a skirt and decorated another with labels inferring, “don’t label me”. As time went by Amanda created many items of interest and in 2021 she was asked if she would like to display them in an exhibition.
Prior to leaving her job, Amanda was asked if she would like to become an artist in residence. Jumping at the opportunity to spend a year researching and creating, she decided her theme would be based on trees. Amanda showed us her sketchbook and a beautifully embroidered dress and jacket. This jacket had been made from two school coats and it was embroidered with flowers and insects. The cuffs on each sleeve had been embroidered and the embroidery on a cumber bund represented the forest floor.
In addition to her textile creations, Amanda also runs the Overton Framing Studio.
Amanda, thank you so much for sharing your stories with us. Many of them are very personal so I have not included them but we were truly inspired by all your creations and are grateful for having the opportunity of seeing them.
Amanda’s 2021 exhibition: https://marlborough.news/news/textile-exhibition-asks-the-question-who-am-i/
Amanda’s 2022 artist in residence write up: https://www.marlboroughcollege.org/2022/12/artist-at-marlborough-amanda-cook/
Overton Framing Studio: https://www.overtonframingstudio.co.uk/
Report by Ros
Photos by Ros