Nicola Jarvis, William Morris and me!

Earlier this week I got an email from Nicola Jarvis, my RSN teacher and friend, with a beautiful color stitch drawing and a written list of stitch instructions attached. About 5 months ago she honored me by asking if I would please stitch a crewel work piece for her upcoming show at the William Morris Gallery in London! It took me less than a split second to say yes and I’ve been waiting to tell all of you about it until I had more information to share.

Let’s begin with the drawing. If you’re not familiar with Nicola’s work, you might not know that in addition to being a master embroiderer she is also a fine artist. She creates stunning drawings, some of which are what she calls stitch drawings. As you look at the image below, you may at first think you’re looking at a photo of a piece of crewelwork. On closer examination, you will see that it’s, in fact, a drawing.

Her work isn’t limited to stitch drawings though. As she says on her web site, she makes “intricate autobiographical drawings and prints informed by English embroidery and decoration.”

In 2010 one of her pieces was exhibited at the William Morris Gallery in a show entitled “Inspired by Morris”.

Here, from the Crafts Council Magazine‘s own archives, is more information about that show which was in 2010:

“The William Morris Gallery invited London-based artists to explore the collections and use them as the starting point for their own work. The winning entries will be displayed alongside Morris’ own output so visitors can fully appreciate the ‘dialogue’ between old and new.

The response to the call of entries was impressive, with nearly 150 entrants and well over 300 submissions.

The entries were judged by Grant Gibson, editor of Crafts Magazine, and Mary Greensted, an Arts and Crafts specialist.

The winner, Nicola Jarvis, will have the opportunity to hold at solo show at the Gallery. This is part of the Gallery’s commitment to providing contemporary makers with exhibition space and building up links with today’s ‘art and craft’ community”

Below is the image that won the award and below that, a close up of the drawing so you can better see the incredible detail in the work which was exhibited in that 201o show.

House Sketch

For the past year Nicola has been preparing for her solo show at the William Morris Gallery in 2013. This summer I worked next to her on my embroidery while she worked on the drawing below for the show. It was amazing to watch such a consummate artist at work…and a little humbling!

There are group  of us stitching projects for this show, each one based on a stitch drawing. The finished embroidery pieces will be displayed with the stitch drawings. The canvas and wool for my little part of the show are winging their way by post to me and soon I’ll be starting to stitch this exciting project.

The show begins Saturday June 15, 2013 and Sunday September 22, 2013 at the William Morris Gallery in London. Am I flying over for the opening? Absolutely! Our flights are  booked, our hotel room reserved…all that’s left is for me to get stitching!

14 thoughts on “Nicola Jarvis, William Morris and me!

  1. What a wonderful opportunity, Kathy! I am so happy for you, and can’t wait to see what you do with your piece.

  2. What amazing talent she has! I hope you post progress blogs about the piece! It is absolutely beautiful! I am getting ready to start on a lowly redwork piece. 🙂

  3. Kathy,

    The design you’ll be stitching should give you a real challenge and s-t-r-e-t-c-h your embroidery skills even further! Beautiful work from Nicola – amazing.

  4. What a wonderful honour and opportunity! Congratulations, though I am not surprised that Nicola asked you since your own work is such a high standard! Well done and looking forward to watching your progress. 🙂

  5. What a wonderful honor to be asked to stitch one of Nicola’s pieces. Her work is exquisite as is your stitching. A perfect partnership! Do you know if Nicola will offer her designs up for sale for people to stitch? I would be the first in line to purchase one.

  6. How Wonderful – I note in the events at Rugby there is a day school for Crewel embroidery in the style William Morris 🙂

  7. Congratulations Kathy, how wonderful for you to be asked to join this spectacular opportunity. Nicola’s art work is indeed sublime and I am quite sure you will do it justice with your attention to detail and disinclination to leave in place something not-quite-right. Best of luck.

    I am waiting patiently for the blogging fun to begin on this project.

    • Hi All!

      I can’t wait to start blogging about it either, because that menas I’ll be stitching which is what I am REALLY looking forward to!

      Liebe Grüße,

  8. Just wanted to say, that I first thought that Nicola Jarvis picture was already stitched! The lines of the pencil are so real and “life like”! What a talented artist she is. And so are you, you lucky girl!

    Hugs and Love,

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