We're always on the look out for something a little bit different and we always keep our eyes open for art in unusual places, so this week our heads were well and truly turned by a unique exhibition of textile art. No... it's not in one of our Somerset galleries. It's actually in Yeovil Hospital and that meant we just had to catch up with artist Rebecca Bruton, to find out more about what she's created there - and to ask her some other juicy questions as well! ;)
Rebecca's passion for textile art is totally infectious, so sit back, relax and have a read of her Four Thoughts... Rebecca's responses to four questions we thought you'd love to know the answers to.
1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and about what inspires you?
Oh yes! :) I'm a textile artist based in Yeovil - and I still can’t quite get used to calling myself that, as it’s only been just over a year since I began turning my hobby into a business. Well actually, it’s always been more than a hobby for me. Textiles is my passion! It was sparked by my grandmother, and her magical treasure trove of fabrics and haberdashery that always fascinated me. After my degree in Fine Art Sculpture and PGCE in Art Education, I wanted to share my passion with others and so I've spent the majority of my working life teaching art and textiles in secondary schools and colleges.
“Becoming a mum two years ago, inspired to me finally commit to making my own creations. I've always taught others to create, so to do it myself is both scary and extraordinarily exciting!"
The techniques I use are appliqué (the layering of fabrics on top of one another) and free motion embroidery (a freehand method of sewing on my machine, that allows me to ‘paint’ with threads).
My first year has been everything I could’ve dreamed of and more, really. I’ve produced multiple private commissions (from portraits and images of pets, to landscapes and my signature ‘word hoops’). I’ve also had the dreamy experience of completing a commission for international toy company ‘Best Years’, as part of an ad campaign and I’ve produced and donated work to DIY SOS - The Big Build, when it took on a project in Bristol.
I still get to enjoy my teaching though, as I'm running a range of evening classes and workshops in Yeovil. Wow! Chatting to you about it all makes me feel I need to pinch myself! It doesn't seem real ;).
2. Ahh - you've achieved so much in a year and we'd love to hear about your exhibition at Yeovil Hospital. How did that come about? Can you share some of the ideas behind it and your hopes for it? Also, where's the most unusual place you've been to yourself, to seek out art?
I'm so excited to have my first ever solo exhibition - and for it to go up at my local hospital, Yeovil District Hospital, is incredibly special.
It's in the outpatients corridor, just inside the main entrance and it actually came about because I got in contact with the hospital about making incubator covers, laundry bags and other textile products - with the textile enterprise I used to run at a local charity. Through this, I met their brilliant arts co-ordinator and the rest, as they say, is history!
The exhibition itself is a collection of 12 pieces of textile art that celebrate the beauty of fruits and vegetables. It's on display until the end of May and is a celebration of healthy eating too, as it'll be up during ‘Nutrition Week’. Each piece has the nutritional information of the fruit or vegetable next to it and I also wanted it to be vibrant and fun!
“I really hope it brings some colour, joy and the odd smile to the face of the patients and staff that see it.
Excitingly, from this I've produced prints of my work for sale. It's the first time I've done this and I'm now in the process of launching a website and online store too. The most exciting thing of all for me is that I'm arranging a date to go into the hospital to spend a day sewing with some of the patients there. I'm so looking forward to that.
As for the most unusual place I’ve been to seek out art... when I was at school, I dragged my mum half way across the country to a public library to see a piece by Alice Kettle! Her work was my textile art first love and now that my work is on display in a public place, it almost feels like everything's come full circle :).
3. Who's your favourite artist or maker? If you could take that person to an exhibition anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
Hmmmm. I’m going to go with Grayson Perry. I love his work because he elevates techniques that are traditionally seen as crafts (like textiles and ceramics) into the realms of fine art and uses these mediums to tackle hard-hitting political issues, with wit and beauty. As for where we'd go, it'd have to be a global tour of art on his pink motorbike because that journey would be wild... and just as enjoyable as the art!
4. Tell us a secret about you or your work that no-one else knows! :)
Wow! This is a hard question and to be honest, I think that’s because I don’t have any secrets. I share everything! :) Having said that, people might not know that the majority of my work is largely upcycled and a huge selection of the prints used in my current exhibition are fabrics that belonged to my nan. I absolutely love vintage and retro prints and try and avoid modern where possible - but then there may be parts of my husband's old jeans or a dress I found in a charity shop in my work too!
“Not many people know that I’m a real upcycler at heart and I think that items with a previous story add real soul and depth to a piece. I just love working with them.
Ooooh - and we LOVE the idea that the story of fabric that's upcycled or reused is poured into any new piece it features in. I wonder what old and new stories Rebecca's art would tell if it could! :) They'd definitely be worth hearing, we know that!
Anyway, if you'd like to keep up to date with all the things Rebecca's getting up to in year two of her textile art adventure, you can follow her here on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter - and her beautiful pieces in Yeovil Hospital will be bringing colour and love to the walls until 31st May. Go Becky! :)