Annette Morgan interview: Contemporary quilts
Annette Morgan is a textile artist and a creator of contemporary quilts of some renown. She has won numerous awards for her work and has exhibited worldwide. Her work has been featured in The Quilter, the journal of the Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles, Quilting Arts and Cloth Paper Scissors.
We’re thrilled that Annette has taken some time out of her busy schedule to chat with us about the creation of her quilt textile art.
Serious about textiles
What initially captured your imagination about quilting and textile art?
I have always sewn – it was my father who taught me to knit and sew when I was small and my mum taught me the finer points. I went on to make my own clothes as a poor student nurse and then those of my own children.
It wasn’t until I was in my late thirties that I become serious about textiles (I had dabbled in lots of things until that point and wanted to become proficient in one area) and I started to look at quilt making, having seen a local exhibition in Kings Lynn. I embarked on a City and Guilds Course at Norwich City College, having joined the Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles – the rest as they say is history!
What or who were your early influences and how has your life/upbringing influenced your work?
My parents, plus Jenny Daniels my City and Guilds tutor was always so enthusiastic about textiles and I used to travel home so fired up and just wanting to stitch and stitch!
The process of making
What is your chosen medium and what are your techniques?
I like working within the quilt medium – there is something about how layering and patch working fabrics and quilting changes the texture; it is the stitched texture that I like. I now only buy white or black fabrics and colour them myself by dyeing, screen printing, mono-printing and discharging (removing colour). I mostly stitch by machine as it is quick and I have so many ideas I want to make. Sometimes I then paint over the top of the finished quilt.
It is the process of making that I like, I get a great deal of satisfaction from designing my own fabrics and using them in my work. If my work gets selected for exhibitions, or sold then I regard that as a bonus!
I use other techniques too, where I stitch and then burn through layers to reveal back wadding, then cut up the pieces and sew them back together again, as I did in Beth Chatto’s Bamboo II.
How would you describe your work and where do you think it fits within the sphere of contemporary art?
I create contemporary quilts. My work used to be quite pictorial – I am inspired by the environment around me – but now it has become much more abstract. I take a lot of photos and actually use some of the photos in my work. I regard myself as an artist, as does my husband and family; my husband trained as a painter and was an art teacher for many years and his work is representative of our surroundings.
What currently inspires you and which other artists do you admire and why?
My all time favourite artist is John Piper – he visited East Anglia a lot and I like his painting of the local churches. His work has a lot of texture often made by wax resist techniques and printing.
How has your work developed since you began and how do you see it evolving in the future?
My work is mostly abstract and I quite often like working with simple shapes which I think can be most effective – I am not sure where my work will go in future – it depends where my muse takes me!
A creative textile journey
Do you give talks or run workshops or classes? If so where can readers find information about these?
I give talks and workshops around the UK and abroad, as well as teaching City and Guilds courses in Patchwork and Quilting and Machine Embroidery in Ipswich in Suffolk (we also teach distance learning courses for C&G). I am a qualified teacher and several of my ex-students now teach with me.
How do you go about choosing where to show your work?
It really depends on the time I have to complete my work as to where I show it. I am a founder member of Anglia Textile Works, an exhibiting group, which has been going for about 15 years now. I also try and put at least one piece in the Festival of Quilts at the NEC each year.
A great thrill is when I am asked to display my work for particular exhibitions such The National Quilt Museum in Paducah, USA last year.
Where can readers see your work this year ?
I am having a solo show at the Festival of Quilts in August 2013, where I will be launching a new book based on my current work A Creative Textile Journey – Sticks and Stones.
Included in the show will be some of my husband’s work (Daniel Morgan) and the pieces are based on where we live in Thetford. We are surrounded by Thetford Forest and the local stone is flint and hence the title Sticks and Stones. We live in a little flint pantiled cottage!
The exhibition will also be on show In Wymondham Arts Centre in Norfolk from October 22nd – 27th 2013.