Her work has spanned almost 2 decades and three different countries
since leaving Edinburgh College of Art in 1990.The motivation behind
Alison’s work comes from being the child of post war parents,
Scottish thriftiness and an avid watcher of Blue Peter! Her need
to re-use, re-develop and re-create can be seen in her wide use
of ordinary materials with extra-ordinary results.
Although her training was initially in Jewellery and silver-smithing,
she has crossed over successfully into the world of textiles, costume
and fashion – evident in her numerous awards (Scottish Fashion
Designer of the Year, Recycling Fashion Designer of the Year and
various awards for Fibre in North America and Australasia).
Alison’s staple ingredient in her work is wire that she reclaims
from old televisions, the older the better. She has found over a
hundred different colours and hues of copper and aluminium wire.
Lately though, due to the rate of development in technology, she
is finding it harder to find the old television sets and has had
to resort to buying various colours of wire! There is always a high
component of re-used materials in her work - whether it is re-using
charity shop finds or sweetie wrappers to get the right colour.
She has become increasingly aware of how wasteful our society is
News from 2011
In July, I curated an exhibition for Wirral Council called "de-junk,
re-junk" at the Birkenhead Park, handing out junk and parts
of my old kitchen to a group of artists, some first time recyclers,
others die-hard eco minded artisans. The success of the show lead
to my application for funding for recycling workshops to tie in
with the 2012 de-junk, re-junk exhibition (now an annual event).
I was awarded 75% of the grant I asked for, enabling 7 workshops
with local artists at The Green Community Shop and Centre in the
The networking event "With These Hands" that I have run
for the last 2 years (at least) has been meeting once a month in
cafes, community centres around Wirral and we get at least 20 people
every time with at least 3 WTH virgins in our midst. I am really
proud of WTH as it has spawned so many projects and has given confidence
to many isolated artists. I feel we are one step closer to having
a network across Wirral that can support all of us who work on our
own. We are open to all artists living or working in Wirral, or
to students, gallery owners, craftspeople, designers etc. We are
a friendly bunch and open to welcoming more folks.
In August, I was teaching during the summer at the Williamson Art
Gallery, as part of the Every Picture Tells a Story and took inpsiration
from Frank Cottrell Boyce's book "Framed". I took quite
a traditional approach studying classis paintings featured in the
book, giving good grounding in still life painting and portrait
painting as well as using collage and 3d construction.
I took part in the Wirral Open Studio Tour and found it to be a
very enjoyable experience, not showing from my studio but sharing
painter Xitina Ferres' wonderful home in Hoylake with Fiona Hardman,
felt maker and wood carver. I am hoping to show closer to home in
2012. We also had a Christmas exhibition together
I took time out from the Oxton Art Fair after participating in
all 9 previous shows (8 annual shows at the Williamson Art Gallery
and 1 at St Saviours Church as part of Secret Gardens of Oxton).
The fair this year had 9 invited exhibitors to fill the spots of
old timers liked me who needed a break.
I particpated in a couple of shows with the Merseyside Jewellers
and Metal Artists Network, Dinner for 8 in September and Sparkle
@ the bluecoat in November
I am currently in the process of contemplating a new move into
a more community project. So more on this in 2012. It is an exciting
if scary step for myself and my new business partner. As well as
this I will be bringing together my community project "Welly
Road Gets the Boot in!"
On a personal level, I will be exhibiting my work in the National
Museums of Liverpool, at the World Museum from mid-December, tying
in with a workshop I will be running in February. I have my work
with one gallery only, The Stables Gallery in Brimstage as in this
current economic climate it is rather hard to sell work so have
tried to limit how much I am producing. I have also cut back on
selling at art/ craft fairs. I am fortunate to have a job as Art
Liaison Officer for 2Bio Ltd so have the freedom to move away from
the more commercial work I have been doing for the last few years
and welcome the challenge of new commissions and projects for 2012.
Art Fair will be in November)
Details of work shown
Top: Electra - made 2008 entirely
from recycled materials, re-enforcing bays, galvanised tying wire,
rods from old suitacases, motorbike parts, lead and floorboards,
only part not recycled were the clouts nails used in the lead shoes.
2007 commissioned to make similar piece for documentary TV producer
Middle: Detail of flower hat - made
of reclaimed wire from old televisions (sold).
Bottom: Odd Hat - reclaimed television
wire, ribbon, lined for comfort.