Fiona Rutherford, Textile Artist

Fiona's Blog

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August 14, 2008

Prospect Exhibition: Colours of Australia

ProspectExhibition: Tapestry 2008 Installation

Swag Bag
Return to Oz
I was one of a number of lucky devils to receive a Prospect Bursary through Designed & Made. My bursary helped me go to Australia to take part in Tapestry 2008.
The Designed & Made Gallery at Live Theatre, Newcastle hosted an exhibition of the work of all sixteen bursary winners that opened last Friday evening. The bursaries were used for a wide range of creative reasons but the emphasis was on “time out”, experiment and research. The exhibition wasn’t so much about the finished object but more about the process of development.
It was a great evening. We thought everyone had gone on holiday but so many people turned up we could hardly move.
It has been a good opportunity for me to revisit my time in Australia and start to go over what I brought back. After 3 months the books and catalogues I had to abandon at the Canberra check-in desk, because my luggage was overweight, arrived here this week. Joy! Even better they arrived in my own Aussie swag bag.

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple

August 6, 2008


Here’s another side to my life.

Since the beginning of this year I’ve been working with textile artist Jenny Burns and a group of knitting mad women from Newcastle to create a 3-D knitted installation. From washing lines and exploding dustbins to tap dancers and midwives we are knitting the story of their lives.

Knitting isn’t a hip new thing for these women. They’ve been doing it all their lives for family and friends and now they’re doing it for themselves. Here’s a small sample of what they have made and there’s plenty more to come. We have just started on a bicycle for the midwife, Audrey, who used to cycle round London on her rounds.

Incidentally these women are aged between 70 and 92 years old.


July 23, 2008

Gallery wall at Tate Britain

Giant furniture at the South Bank

Graffiti paradise in the underpasses at South Bank

Children in the water sculpture outside the Hayward Gallery, South Bank.

Hadrian’s Wall ouside the British Museum

Flowering lampost in Bedford Square

Spectrum exhibition at Contemporary Applied Arts. London


My exhibition, Spectrum, opened at C.A.A. in London last Thursday 17th July. I was exhibiting my work alongside Ptolemy Mann, Preeti Gilani, Alpa Mistry and Asta Barrington and the gallery was awash with colour. In a time when restrained colour tones seem to prevail it felt like a joyful chorus who refuse to be quiet.
After the exhibition opened I spent a day walking around some of my favourite haunts in London. I’ve taken so many photographs from my wanderings in Australia and Japan that often I forget to look at what is familiar to me in my own country. I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw in this creative mad house of a city.
In the peace of Bedford Square near the British Museum architure students had created a swirling, sculptural structure that flowered beautifully round a lampost.
The next major exhibition at the British Museum is Hadrian and I was stopped in my tracks by a huge photograph of Hadrians Wall outside the Museum. The wilds of Northumberland, so familiar to me, had come to the centre of London.
I love walking by the Thames along the South Bank from Waterloo to Tate Britain. The city opens out by the water and all life is here. The river is the heart. Music, art, theatre and film thrive along this route.
There are some ugly, grey areas of concrete but these have brought to life by street artists and skateboarders and cyclists rattle through her all the time.
I particularly loved the joy of the children running in and out of the water sculpture. It didn’t matter that it wasn’t a very hot day or how would they get dry?
I finished up at Tate Britain where I wanted to see the Cy Twombly exhibition. Most of his paintings are monumental but I loved his small poems of the sea best. The gallery walls are covered in artists names, philosophies and ideas. Chance is my favourite.

This for a friend of mine in Tokyo. I have got to know and love something of Japan in his company but I have never been able to return the favour.

contemporary applied arts exhibition

July 15, 2008

Spectrum 17th July to 9th August

It’s a few years since I last exhibited at C.A.A., in Percy Street, so it’s good to be returning as part of this colourful textile exhibition. The gallery is a lovely light space and I think it’s going to take the colour burst well.

It’s good to focus on my work again as a lot of my time has been taken up recently by the creatively challenging 3-d knitting project I’m doing with women in Newcastle. But that is for another blog.

I’m looking forward to a few days in London catching up with people and places and hoping it doesn’t rain….

Back Home

May 27, 2008

Floor talk at the exhibition 

Thank you to all at Number 12!
Post Tapestry 2008

It’s difficult to return to “normal” after such an eventful time in Australia. I think Susan Maffei said it best:
“Congratulations to Valerie on such a successful event. We applaud your efforts and hard work….Hope it will not be another 20 years for another event like this one to happen again.
Love the passion of it all.”
You can read more about her comments and coverage of Tapestry 2008 at where Belinda Jessup has done a great job capturing the people and events.
I would like to add my thanks to Valerie and her family who were my generous hosts during my stay in Canberra. 
Thank you also to Arts Council England and Designed & Made who funded my trip.
I was a reluctant blogger at the start but I think I’ve just about got the hang of this. It’s the end of one phase but there is still plenty more ahead to come out of it all.