Maker's Award - Angie Parker
The Guild was delighted to give an award to textile artist Angie Parker at the Digital Craft Festival (https://www.digitalcraftfestival.co.uk/)
We were initially drawn to the work of Angie Parker by her wonderful use of colour. At this moment, with lockdown and Covid, what is desperately needed is cheerfulness, positivity and something to lift your spirits and that is exactly what you get from Angie’s work. It is also very fitting that the inspiration for the Bristol Blanket came from looking at the colourful Bristol houses during lockdown walks. What is so fascinating about Angie’s weaving and the Krokbragd technique that she uses, is how, the closer you move in to look at a rug, the more wonderful and unexpected detail you see. We love too, the fact that she uses reclaimed rug wool and that she donates 10% of profits from the Bristol Blanket to the mental health charity, Mind.
We are thrilled that Angie is taking over our Instagram feed all this week (https://www.instagram.com/glosguild/) – expect lots of gorgeous colour. We also caught up with Angie to find out more about her work, her process and her dream floor on which to place her rugs !
Angie, can you tell us a little bit about your creative journey?
‘I studied rug weaving at Art College in the early 1990's, won floor-covering designer of the year at New Designers after graduating, and then 'ran away with the circus' (worked in costume for theatre and television) for 15 years. During this time I continued to weave with the intention of one day setting up my practice. It was the arrival of my third child that gave me the perfect opportunity to launch Angie Parker Textiles in 2014.
Since then I have sold my handwoven rugs and woven art panels through galleries, contemporary craft shows. I also work privately to commission. I have undertaken numerous projects with other makers and organisations, collaborating with Brintons Carpets in 2017, and teaching weaving in the UK and abroad. I have also mentored other small business owners and am regularly invited to speak on business growth by Crafts Council UK, The Design Trust and Design-Nation.
Small batch production of some of my handwoven designs has made my business more sustainable and enabled me to reach my creative goals.’
Why did you choose weaving?
‘Weaving chose me. I had developed a love of textiles growing up, but the first time I passed a shuttle on a loom and beat down the weft at college my stomach somersaulted with glee. It was clear signal that this was the discipline for me. I also found myself weaving through my lunch breaks. There were few things that kept me away from the canteen back then.’
What came first, rugs or blankets?
‘I was trained in rug weaving, but the logistics of touring the UK with my previous career meant that I scaled my work down using a loom that I could fit in the boot of my car. The blankets weren't in my original business models but came about as a result of the pandemic.’
What aspect of running a creative business have you missed most during the pandemic?
‘I've missed the face to face engagement with customers at shows and seeing the reactions of people when they see my work up close. And I've really missed meeting fellow makers, although we've managed to get around this to some extent with online meetings.’
What can’t you wait to do again from a professional point of view?
‘I can't wait to travel, visit art galleries and have conversations face to face.’
Who or what influences your work?
‘My surroundings have always been the main influence in my work, and the materials I work with. I actively seek bold colour at every opportunity.’
Your colours are so rich and vibrant? Has colour always been an important focus of your life / art?
‘Yes, I've always been drawn to colour subconsciously, but after returning from the UK after living in India in 2006 I became more conscious of its significance in my work. Surrounding myself with colour in my workshop means that I experience the positive effects of colour while weaving, and in turn this feeds into the design and into the lives of the people who buy my work.’
If you could see one of your rugs in any building in the world, which building would it be and why?
‘I'd love to see a piece of my work in The Whitworth Gallery in Manchester. It was one of my favourite places to spend time when I was in sixth form and on Art Foundation, and anytime I visit I can tap into the feelings of hope and optimism I held at this time, at the beginning of my creative journey.’
Which piece of your own work are you most proud of and why?
‘The Fryklos rug comes to mind as technically this is a great example of handwoven Krokbragd, and I love the brave refreshing palette.’
If you could collaborate with anyone, who would that person be and what would you create together?
‘I'd love to collaborate with Morag Myerscough (https://www.moragmyerscough.com/). Can you imagine her statement murals reworked in handwoven rugs and wall-hangings?’
Can you let us know a little bit more about your decision to support MIND with the sale of your Bristol Blanket?
‘Firstly, The Bristol Blanket exists because my business thrived during lock down. Having a period of success at a time when NHS staff and bus drivers etc. were risking their lives at work, and others experiencing redundancy or facing bereavement was uncomfortable for me and marketing woven textiles felt inappropriate. However, knowing that every sale would mean a bigger donation to a charity that was making a difference to people’s lives helped me to overcome this block.
Also, the design of the blanket incorporates the more positive shared experiences of lock down and the strengthened bonds between neighbours and local communities. Its purpose is to bring warmth and joy to the recipient and the donation to MIND is another way to reinforce this message. (I could get more political here, but will resist).’
If you hadn’t become a weaver, what would you have been?
‘Well, it turned out that weaving became a second career after a slight detour into costume, so I might have continued in that industry if I'd not had the courage and the opportunity to follow my original dream.’
Have you got any projects coming up that you can tell us about?
‘Yes and no!
I'm looking to produce my woven designs by the meter this year which is something I've wanted to do for ages.
I've also got a massively exciting, slightly terrifying and huge project coming together behind the scenes, but I'm keeping my cards close to my chest on this for the time being. You'll have to keep in touch if you want to know more by following on the socials or signing up to my newsletter.’
You can find out more about Angie on her website - http://www.angieparkertextiles.com/