Local textile artist, Andrea Cryer spoke to 37 of our members on Zoom this week. She is well known for drawing with needle and thread and this interest goes back to her childhood with a father who was a tailor and a mother who was a keen dressmaker.
Andrea studied Art A level at school but went on to follow a career in law after graduating from university. Later in life she mentioned a professional development course at Trowbridge College, an Art Foundation course at Bath College and a Creative Arts degree course at Bath Spa where she studied stitch, knitting, weaving and printing.
Andrea’s final degree project was inspired by a poem her son had written at the age of 8 about his grandmother. Researching she found two beautiful photographs of Grandma Kath one at the age of 18 and a second at the age of 88 which she went on to draw in stitch.
In 2010 Andrea entered a charity arts event entitled the Lions of Bath and she made a cloak for her painted lion using a needle punched cloth with free machined circles, a technique she had learnt whilst following her degree course.
In 2016 Andrea was a finalist in the open textile category of the Hand & Lock International Embroidery Prize with a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. We were shown images of her sketchbook in which she planned out the various areas exploring different techniques and stitches. Whilst the portrait used black thread her frame was more a variety of different layered yellow and gold fabrics densely stitched. Andrea then went on to show us a wonderful selection of stitched projects of various locations in Bath. Toppings, the book shop, a triptych of Gay Street and the King William pub on the corner of Thomas Street.
This last year Andrea joined Tom Croft’s NHS Portraits for Heroes project and she showed us images of Matt, a paramedic and Diane, a nurse whose portraits she had created in stitch.
Finally Andrea talked about her involvement with the 2020 Sky Arts Portrait of the Year programme. Her submission piece was of her and David Hockney and she told us about the day she spent at Battersea Arts Centre in the summer of 2020. She had four hours to complete her work which was of Deborah James, a lady in her late 30’s. It was obviously a challenging and demanding event with numerous interruptions for interviews and camera shots but Andrea was pleased she had taken part. Whilst talking about this event she explained the various stages and techniques she used to create one of these stitched drawings and this sparked off several questions after the talk had finished.
Now for members work!
It has been a couple of months since we showcased members’ work but we have now a wonderful selection to share.
I’ve designed the bag and applique myself. I modified a bag pattern taken from a Japanese quilting book my husband bought me for Christmas. The applique patterns were based on a design we saw on a bag in a shop window in Japan. It’s a cross between a handbag and a shopping bag ….. the sort of shopping bag you use when you go shopping for fabric! It took me a week to make it but it got my brain working and was a really enjoyable project.