Over the past month I have been working on probably the hardest piece of art for me, to date. It represents my humble tribute to an extraordinary man who’s sudden and unexpected death this March has left so many of us in a shocked state of bereavement. It is difficult to categorise what he meant to me personally: friend, mentor, brother….. none of these quite describe his constant presence in my life over the past 30 years. He was there helping and advising me during the pivotal moments in my adulthood. He taught me how to revise for my first degree, introduced me to competitive sport and the hard work required to train for it, helped me through the stress of buying my house by negotiating on my behalf, and found me a business premises to work from when I changed career.
He was also an encouraging if somewhat brutally honest supporter of my art endeavours (if you didn’t really want to know the answer you wouldn’t ask his opinion) always making an effort to attend exhibitions where I had work on show and was the first person to buy one of my knitted paintings.
A high achiever in everything he did, his no nonsense hard work attitude was an inspiration to so many of the people he interacted with, both within the local business community and particularly the national triathlon and cycling communities. As it was originally through cross country running that I met him it seemed most fitting to me to celebrate his sporting achievements in this piece of work as competitive sport was such a major part of his life from runner to triathlete and finally, cyclist. One of his most significant achievements was as holder of the British Ironman record. This 8:15:21 time stood for 13 years until it was broken in 2008. In 2010 he was also national 12 hour cycling time trial champion covering 275.01 miles in the allocated time.
So here it is, I hope he would have approved. Made with love for John, Karen and especially Erica (the yin to his yang). RIP Julian x
“Tribute” hand knitted and stitched in alpaca/merino and silk mohair
My hands are aching from a weekend of Extreme Knitting, finishing a piece of work for the Jersey Textile Showcase at the same time as submitting seven pieces of work for the upcoming “Out of the Blue” exhibition at Rum’s Eg Gallery. Fingers crossed that “Carnevale di Venezia” makes it to Jersey before the submission deadline tomorrow.
hand knitted picture
It’s funny how some pieces of work take much longer to finish (and in the case of this one, start) than others. When I created this water blasted ink life drawing last Summer I knew that it was going to become a knitted piece but it took a bit of courage and a couple of false starts to actually produce it. As much of my recent work has been quite stylised and dare I say it “pretty” I kept shying away from this more obscure and almost abstract image, but at the same time I kept being drawn back to it. So, here it is, a more adventurous picture than the rest in the series but I kinda like it. Hope it grows on you too.
Hand knitted “painting” in a merino/alpaca yarn with mohair and embroidery cotton
I have just returned from a fantastic five days in the beautiful Spa town of Harrogate at the Knit and Stitch Show, the last venue for the UK Hand Knitting Association’s Knitted Textile Awards tour. As at Alexandra Palace, the enthusiasm for the work from the thousands of visitors to our finalist stand was overwhelming.
Clockwise from top left: “Sitting Pretty”, “3 x Three”, “Elise (Sitting)”, “Elise (Sleeping)”, “Frankie”.
We were lucky to have a much larger display space this time which allowed people to stand back and appreciate the work from a distance as well as seeing it up close. The Graduate Category was also, as ever, very well received and listening to the comments being made, was generally accepted as being an exceptionally strong year for up and coming Knitwear Designers.
Top: Open Category display
Bottom: Graduate Category Display
Time now to catch my breath for a few weeks while I contemplate my next body of work. If any of the work I exhibited at Harrogate takes your fancy, it is for sale and can now be found in my online shop.
As we have had a few weeks in between the Knit and Stitch Shows I have been busy making a couple more pictures to add to my Knitted Life series. This piece is a translation into textiles of a warm up drawing of the lovely Frankie from the West Dean Dynamic Life Drawing weekend a few months back, chosen because the seated pose fitted perfectly into this felted cardigan front.
Textile life drawing: cotton and mohair embroidery on a hand knitted background
and the original warm up sketch:
Charcoal on paper
Just back from an exhausting but amazing week at the Ally Pally Knit and Stitch Show where I was exhibiting my knitted life “paintings” after being selected as a finalist in the UK Knitted Textile Awards (Open Category). I have never seen the show so busy, particularly on the Saturday with thousands of textile enthusiasts visiting us at the UK Hand Knitting Association stand. Our visitors made some lovely comments about my work, and I am delighted to say that after a hectic few days of judges wandering around with clipboards and faces that gave nothing away, I won the Silver Award in the Open Category.
Nicky Barfoot’s knitted life “paintings”
The Gold Award in the Open Category was given to the very deserving and talented Sally Spinks with her Random Act of Kindness Series.
Gold Award Winner Sally Spinks with her “Random Acts of Kindness”
We’ve now got a few weeks to catch our breath before repeating the show at Harrogate on 21-24 November.
So here it is, pretty much finished.
Hand knitted in Rowan Felted Tweed DK, with surface embroidery in Rowan Kidsilk Haze and sewing cotton.
Sooo excited! I have just received an E mail telling me that I have been chosen as a finalist for the Knitted Textile Awards (Open Category) with my knitted life paintings. What a lovely way to start my week. Once the news has sunk in a bit, the panic will set in as I try to arrange taking time from work, arranging dog sitters, finding accommodation etc……In the meantime, I think another little dance around the living room is in order 🙂
The final version of the seated pose. I don’t want to give too much away so you’ll have to come to the Knit and Stitch Shows to see the others 😉