Orientation by Six and Friends

10 September 2012

A couple of posts ago I said that Birmingham was the centre of the universe (and for any readers from across the pond, I didn't mean Birmingham Alabama!)

Well, the axis has shifted - just a bit - to Redditch to be precise a few miles south of Birmingham. Redditch, or to be strictly correct, Bordesley Abbey and Forge Mill Needle Museum, is now the centre of the universe.

And why, I hear you cry, should the whole time/space continuum thingy be turned on its head?   Simple, dear reader, simple, because Bordesley Abbey and Forge Mill Needle Museum is hosting the fabulous 'Orientation' exhibition by Six and Friends.

If you have been concentrating you might know that these ladies have been working on the Orientation Exhibition for some time, and (when they are not eating - goodness you would be forgiven for thinking that theirs is a foodie blog) they have charted the various progress of their work on the Six and Friends blog.

So I rocked up on Saturday (which it turns out was probably the last glorious saturday of summer) to have a look.  Some of the artists were there and it was so nice to catch up with Hilary Beattie and Steph Redfern - last seen at FoQ, meet the fabulous Annabel Rainbow and Edwina McKinnon for the first time in the flesh (though through the delights of the blogosphere they both felt like old friends) and see Linda Kemshall again, who I have not seen for a while.

Some members were absent - Catherine Nicholls had flown back to Canada and Laura Kemshall had other things on her mind (and can duly be forgiven for being a bit of a party pooper in the circumstances!!! )  I am not sure why Ineke was not there.

And I have to say I was blown away - by the work, by the setting and by the generous way the artists were prepared to talk about their work and share tips and ideas.

Detail from The Keeper of  The Keys by Laura kemshall.
Stephanie Redfern's enormous piece dominated the end of the room.  It wasn't made to fit the space, but you would be forgiven for thinking that it was.

I love Steph's technique of layering up paper.  She used rag paper as the white 'framing' background for each element of the panel.

.Detail from Steph's piece is shown below. 

Linda's orchids were hung together.  The brickwork really complements the pieces and it will be interesting to see what they look like in other venues, for the exhibition will be travelling - the Bramble Patch and the Minerva Centre next year.

This piece is one of three by Annabel Rainbow, a real textile heroine.  She had created little haiku poems for each of her three pieces.

"In my old home
Which I forsook
Leaves are turning red"  

Another piece by Annabel.  This one said

"Pine needles on high
reflecting the  sunshine's warmth
Whispering of life"

"A small dragonfly
 this way,that way, this way, that
and it passes by"


 Above  - Ineke's Red Kites, drawn and printed using thickened procion dyes on vintage linen.

Catherine's stunning tree peonies (I think).  This reminds me of a magnolia tree in a garden in Dorset - the flowers were like vast pink hankies hanging off the tree.

 Edwina's pieces were influenced by sushi.

Hilary Beattie had produced a stunning triptych using the most vibrant blue backgrounds.

 And if I didn;t know better I would say that they were not discussing art, but the ultimate brownie recipe.

Above, a beautiful hanging by Edwina using Korean patchwork known as Pojagi.  You can do a class at the museum later this month to learn about this.

 And finally a lovely collection of work in progress from Marie Roper, one of the Six and Friends who sadly died earlier this year.

 So, if you are anywhere near the Midlands, can I be so bold as to suggest that you pop along.  You will not be disappointed.


  1. Fabulous exhibition wasn't it? I was there on Saturday too and it was lovely to meet and re-meet the artists. Such a nice setting too. Ineke is on holiday by the way.

  2. Maggi - thanks for stopping by.

    I loved it. And it was made even more special having the artists there to share their work. And it was like meeting old friends, though I have never met Edwina or Annabel before!

    Was there any chance that we bumped into each other but did not realise? I think I left about 3pm.

    Hilary G


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