Chain reaction textile group – annual exhibition

Sept 2015

I have been a member of textile group Chain Reaction for a year and autumn is the time for their annual exhibition at Snape Maltings. The exhibition is self-funded an is a chance to sell artwork. The exhibition space also includes a “shop” area where items of craftwork (i.e. scarves, cards, cushions, artwork prints, packs of fibre and fabric) can be sold. 

I exhibited some work which was pre-OCA course – stitched (appliqué) pictures, as well as work from/my final assignment of Textiles 1: A creative approach. This was inspired the the theme of depression and in particular the poem “black daffodils” by Tom Pow.

 

Above is a photo of my appliqué lobster picture, and below some images of my appliqué picture of 3 herrings.

I also exhibited a semi-abstract stitched/appliqué representation of tress at Needham Lake (below)

Below is a photo of the corner of the exhibition in which my “Black Daffodil” work was displayed.

 

When I joined Chain Reaction, the “hanging committee” for this years Snape exhibition had already been decided. I was reasonably happy with the way my “black daffodil” work was displayed, although I did not like that the vase was tilted. My idea was that the viewer would get an “inkling” of the inside being patterned and need to walk over and peer inside to view the detail (increasing mystery and intrigue).

In general, I felt that some of the work in the exhibition space was too crowded. There was no theme to the exhibition, with individuals presenting unrelated work in different media, so with a packed exhibition space, there was inevitably some conflict of colour and style.

The exhibition was not very successful commercially this year – just one piece of artwork was sold. I discovered that for many members of the group, the shop this was a way of covering the financial cost of the exhibition through sales of small craft items. I wondered whether the sale of artworks could have been improved by engaging more with visitors, and/or by selecting a different time of the year for the exhibition (there had been lots of textile exhibitions throughout the summer in this gallery before us). Maybe the prices were too high?

This was my first experience of exhibiting, setting prices and putting my work for sale. It was an interesting exercise, and a learning experience. I think if I was to do it again I would want to be more cognisant of costs at the outset. Not just for hosting the exhibition, but also commission fees, and the cost of travelling to and from the venue.

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