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early career
RESUME
Born in Oswestry, Shropshire, England, Alison completed a Foundation Course at Shrewsbury School of Art in 1976 and went on to study Fine Art Embroidery at Goldsmiths College, London qualifying in 1979. She exhibited in Texprint `79 as one of the years 30 most promising graduates.

Artist statement

'Textiles has been my passion for many years. I aim to make a connection with people through my work, to transport them to a place and a moment in time: and to feel the calmness and serenity in each piece. I am inspired by the detail in nature, the patterns, rhythms and textures. I want to create an emotional response to the landscape that is important to me.'

Each piece is a combination of silk painting and freehand machine stitching. The painting creates depth, perspective and richness to the work and combines effectively with stitch to give detail and texture

I started to explore my love of the natural world through the medium of embroidery and found it the perfect vehicle to express the colours, textures and shapes I find so fascinating. I try to combine in my compositions a sense of light and an interesting juxtaposition of colour, shape and texture. I consder myself a fine artist who has colour, line and texture to play with: a painter that uses threads, an artist that draws with a sewing machine.

I work to commission and have exhibited my embroideries in the UK at the Chelsea Flower Show and other venues, in the USA and Australia. Visit my Exhibitions page for more information.

Drawing on the natural world for my inspiration I see colour, detail and texture everywhere I look. I live on the Shropshire / Welsh border, an area that has a rich diversity of scenery. The Shropshire plain stretching for miles with its patchwork of fields, gentle rolling hills, a wealth of woodlands and the drama of mountains and waterfalls further into Wales. Add into this mix of imagery the four seasons, with spring and summer flowers, autumn colours, winter snow and frost and the inspiration for me is endless.

As the years have gone by I have focussed less on my sketchbooks. I used to spend hours on a single drawing; instead I now spend my time stitching.
Photographs are invaluable to me as a record of composition, colour and detail, supported by simple sketches. I cannot work from life, with an electric machine as my drawing tool so photography has become my starting point.

I explore my subject matter directly on to my fabric, drawing and painting with threads. I use a very old (1965 model) basic Bernina sewing machine to 'draw' with, the machine simply makes the stitches while I manoeuvre the silk painted background under the needle.

TEACHING AND LECTURING


I taught textiles at Wrexham College of Art for three years before starting her own studio near Chester in 1982. I have worked and taught in my Garden Studio in Oswestry since 2000.

I have taught courses and given presentations to a wide range of interested groups in many locations and venues for over 30 years. I regularly teach the Embroiderers Guild and other textile groups all over the UK.
Starting in 2013 I have travelled to Australia for a 6 week trip to teach enthusiastic groups who know of my work through my books and website. It has become a regular trip, expanding the number of locations each time and included exhibiting my work and making some wonderful friends. I added New Zealand to my annual trip in 2017.

MACHINE EMBROIDERY BOOKS
My inspiration and subject matter have changed over the years and this is reflected in the series of books I have had published.
Book 1 'Plants and Flowers in Machine Embroidery' published by Batsford in 1990 was launched at Libertys in London. Reprinted in 1997 in paperback.
Book 2 'Machine Embroidered Landscapes' was published by Search Press in January 2002, and so far has sold more than 25,000 copies.
Book 3 'Machine Embroidered Flowers' also published by Search Press in June 2006.
Book 4 'Machine Embroidered Woodlands', published January 2009.
Book 5 'Seascapes' was published in May 2012

Most recent book is 'The Art of Alison Holt' published in 2013, a reprint of 3 books combined (Woodlands, Flowers and Landscapes)

MAGAZINE ARTICLES
2018 Shropshire Living
2017 Be Creative with Workbox
2017 Stitch (UK)
2016 Our Quilting (German Publication published in UK)
2016 Welsh Border Life (UK)
2016 Swedish Embroidery Magazine (Swedish publication)
2015 Textile Fibre Forum (Australian publication)
2013 Embroidery (UK)
2013 Stitch (UK)
2012 The Shropshire Magazine (UK)
2010 Patchwork Professional (German and Dutch publications)
1999 Stitch (UK)
1995 Stitch (UK)

BORDERLAND VISUALS ARTS
I am an active member of the BVA,(Borderland Visual Arts) who hold a successful Open Studios event in June, in Oswestry each year, where you can meet the artists and watch them work. There is always an exhibition by members in Oswestry Library. For more information go to the links page for the BVA website

SOCIETY OF BOTANICAL ARTISTS
I was made an Member of the SBA in Feb 2011. In 2010 I won the Presidents Award for Work in a Media other than watercolour

THE SHROPSHIRE GUILD
The Shropshire Guild of Contemporary Craft was formed in 2001 to promote, display and sell the work of designers and makers of contemporary craft working in Shropshire.I joined the Shropshire Guild of Contemporary Craft in 2008

DVD
In 2007 I was involved in a project with Studio Galli in the making of a DVD, an instructional film about my embroideries and how I work. There is more information on the DVD page. The film was made at The Bakery Studios with Myk Briggs.

SEWING MACHINES
I am often asked for advice on sewing machines, I use a Bernina, the one I use in my studio is a 740 and was made in 1965. I also have a Bernina 1020 and a 1008, which is the most basic model, perfect for free-hand machine embroidery. For more information about their machines go to the links page and click on Bernina Sewing Machines.

VIDEO DIARY? TV
I made a Video Diary for the BBC 'Country File' which was on TV in January 2007 and repeated in July the same year. It featured many pieces of my work. I was interviewed about how I gather inspiration from the wonderful and varied landscape around the Oswestry area here on the Shropshire/Welsh border. Toby, my dog was the star of the show.

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CV

Selected Exhibitions: including every year from 1995 to present day
RHS Chelsea Flower Show, London

2018
Royal Academy of Arts - Summer Exhibition
Stitch - Daniel Raphael Gallery, London
2017
Willow Gallery Summer Exhibition, Oswestry, Shropshire
Summer Exhibition, M1 Gallery, Greenwich, London
2016
Embroiderers Guild Capability Brown Festival
Landscapes and Gardens, Chirk Castle, Wrexham
Artrix, Bromsgrove
Knitting and Stitching Show, Alexandra Palace, London
Knitting and Stitching Show, Harrogate
Ellesmere Art Exhibition, Ellesmere College, Shropshire
Willow Gallery Summer Exhibition, Oswestry, Shropshire
Summer Exhibition, M1 Gallery, Greenwich, London

2015
Craft in Focus at RHS Garden, Wisley
Ellesmere Art Exhibition, Ellesmere College, Shropshire
Summer Exhibition, M1 Gallery, Greenwich, London
Willow Gallery Summer Exhibition, Oswestry, Shropshire
Fire Station Gallery, Melbourne, Australia
Textile Prague, Slovansky dum, Na Prikope 22, Prague

2014
Craft in Focus at RHS Wisley
Ellesmere Art Exhibition, Ellesmere College, Shropshire
Willow Gallery Summer Exhibition, Oswestry, Shropshire

2013
Quilt Expo en Beaujolais, Nr Lyon, France
Ellesmere Art Exhibition, Ellesmere College, Shropshire
Food For Thought Exhibition Mid Wales Arts Centre, Newtown
Feature International Artist, The Tasmanian Craft Fair, Aus.

2012
The Society of Botanical Artists Open Exhibition, London
Ellesmere Art Exhibition, Ellesmere College, Shropshire
Drawn to Craft, Bilston Craft Gallery, West Mids
Florum Annual Exhibition, Sevenoaks, Kent

2011
The Society of Botanical Artists Open Exhibition, London
Fine Art Open Competition, Weston Park, Shropshire
Fabrication, Willow Gallery, Oswestry, Shropshire,
Florum Annual Exhibition, Sevenoaks, Kent

2010
Galerie Buzhashi, Dorking
Contemporary Textile Fair, Teddington
The Society of Botanical Artists Open Exhibition, London
(Presidents Award for Best work in another media)
Art in Action, Waterperry, Oxford
Guest Artist at Church Stretton Arts Festival, Shropshire
Feature Artist, European Patchwork Meeting, Alsace, France
Florum Annual Exhibition Sevenoaks, Kent
Autumn Art Fair, Teddington

2009
Contemporary Textile Fair, Teddington
The Society of Botanical Artists Open Exhibition, London
Y Capel Summer Exhibition, Llangollen
Y Capel Winter Exhibition, Llangollen
Landmarks Arts Fair, Teddington
The Summer Exhibition, Oswestry Heritage Centre
Florum Annual Exhibition Sevenoaks, Kent

2008
Contemporary Textile Fair, Teddington
Art in Action, Waterperry Oxford
Nature in Art, Nr. Gloucester 'Flower Power'

2007 Art in Action, Waterperry, Oxford

2006
Art in Action, Waterperry, Oxford
Nature in Art, Nr. Gloucester, Group Show

2002 BVA 'Yellow', Theatre Clwyd, Mold
2001 The Summer Exhibition, Oswestry Heritage Centre.
1999 Shropshire Open, Gateway Gallery, Shrewsbury
1997 Art in Action,Waterperry, Oxford
1996 Art in Action,Waterperry, Oxford
1995 Art in Action, Waterperry, Oxford
1987 Northern College of Music, Manchester, Christmas Show
1986 Nevertheless Gallery, St. Louis, USA
1985 Marple Bridge Gallery, Cheshire
1982 Group Show, Craft Alliance. St. Louis, USA
1979 Design Council of Great Britain, Texprint '79, London