Who's Who: Kirsty Whitlock

This week we managed to catch up with Kirsty Whitlock, who has just won the Embroiderers’ Guild scholarship for 2012 and is from H' home town.  I saw her work in the local paper when visiting the folks and decided that you lovely people should know a bit about her!  

Artist Bio
Kirsty Whitlock graduated in Design Crafts at De Montfort University in 2009, gaining a First Class Honours. Here she established the use of materials and techniques she continues to use in her own practice today, as a Designer/Maker in Mixed Media Textiles.

She is currently based in Hampshire, where she continues to practice and develop an exciting new body of work.

Kirsty aims to push the boundaries of embroidery through the use of materials and application, eager to break the preconception of textiles. She wants to brace the future with works that surprise and inspire.

How did you start with Textile art? 
My degree is where I established the use of embroidery and the materials I continue to use in my practice today. During my final year at university I spent a lot of time exploring paper as a material; combining this with machine stitch I became extremely excited how embroidery had the power to transform a material or surface. I was immediately attracted to the tactile qualities and process of machine embroidery, using this as a drawing tool and a technique for mark making. 

Where do you work?
Working from my home studio I am working to commissions, exhibitions and retail fairs. Nether less I still work part time as a front of house assistant at my local theatre to support my practice.

Your current collection includes 'finishing off' discarded items with textiles, how did this start? 
During my degree I was particularly eager to challenge the preconceptions of embroidery as a ‘limited conservative craft’, so I became interested and curious in sewing on materials and exploring subject matters that were not normally associated with embroidery. I love to re use materials if I can sew on it I will usually work with it!

What are some of your other collections like?
Other collections of my work comment on issues of the economical climate and are corporate culture; I have also recently launched an Interior accessories collection too! Transforming the surface qualities of paper into cloth.

Kirsty, you recently won the Embroiderers’ Guild scholarship, so what are doing with it?
I am currently working on my proposed project titled ‘A stitch in Time (2011).’ The aims for my time on the scholarship are to investigate the relationship between textiles and graphic elements such as typography and ephemera. I want to explore the partnership of digital technology and handcraft, integrating both processes reflecting on the process of change and how digital technology impacts on our society and daily lives.

I am currently exploring the potential of communicating ideas through stitch, print and digital technologies. I intend to explore how textiles can be concerned with and comment on contemporary issues and affairs focusing on last year’s London Riots.

As part of the scholarship I have been invited to display my work on the Guild’s stand at the Knitting and Stitching shows in London and Harrogate at the end of the year. I will be displaying my proposed work at the Guild’s AGM in April 2013.

What does the future have in store for your textile art? 
A personal ambition of mine would be too be involved with a site specific project or commission. In the future I would love to have the opportunity to collaborate with other makers, architects and graphic designers.

Where would you love to see your work hung?
As of yet I have only had to the opportunity of exhibiting my work in a gallery setting so would love to view my work in a open space, It would be great to see my work in a new perspective. The Tate Modern is a dream of mine though!

Kirsty’s work is currently exhibiting at:

Magnificent Stitches
The Embroiderers' Guild Celebrates Embroidery
28 April - 16 June at Guildford House Gallery, Guildford

Magnificent Stitches is a celebration of embroidery, the Embroiderers, Guild, and of course its members. The local Guildford Branch will be featured with a display marking its pearl anniversary - 30 years as an Embroiderers' Guild branch.

And some Forthcoming Exhibitions:

2nd Aug - 27th Oct 2012 at Unit Twelve Gallery, Stafford.

Found: vb. to bring into being; to discover by chance; to come upon by searching; to perceive.
Work from Jennifer Collier, Judith Brown, Lucy Elsie Harvey, Alys Power, Kirsty Whitlock, Iain Perry, Naomi Greaves, Lucy Harding and Tracie Murchison.

The Knitting and Stitching Shows 2012
Alexander Palace, London 11-14th October 2012
and Harrogate International Centre 22-25 November 2012

Well established as THE textile event of the year, The Knitting and Stitching Show is a feast for the eyes to anyone interested in textiles! If you are passionate about stitching, knitting, quilting, crafts or any other form of textiles you're in the right place!

I think we will definitely go and check out her work when we go to the Knitting and Stitching show in October and I love the idea that items can be finished with material.  I am a little obsessed with materials, so I don’t know how Kirsty chooses!

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