Sunday, 15 October 2017


My current project, and in fact the project I have been working on for over a year now, all started with a trip to France, to the Tissutheque textile archive at la Piscine art gallery Roubaix to be precise. Whilst there I came across a collection of beautiful hand-cut katagami; Japanese textile printing stencils. I went home, read up about katagami and found out about the craftsmanship involved in their construction. I was fascinated by the double layers and the network of supporting silk threads laminated between; the damaged examples providing both an insight into their construction but also creative inspiration.

katagami stencils at Tissutheque
Since then I have made another visit to Roubaix to study the stencils in more detail. I also embarked on a period of creative research and experimentation. Originally I didn't intend this to be so extensive or to continue for so long, but such is the case when there is an open ended brief.

More recently I have been experimenting with natural dyeing, printing and mordanting. Applying previous knowledge with exploration of techniques, combining them with other surface effects and generally taking an exploratory approach. I chose to take an impirical approach to sampling, noting down fibre composition,  testing a range of processes, and combinations of process. Whilst I can't claim to have been entirely scientific about it, this approach to the project has given me some structure which I was badly in need of.

dyed fabrics awaiting the next steps
As printed textiles are not my background it has been interesting to explore this area, and whilst I certainly don't feel I am an 'expert' I feel I have developed some competance; even if my enquiries have led to even more 'what if's' than I had before. I suppose this is the very nature of learning, that the more you learn, the more you realise there is to learn. Having some time to use the excellent screen printing workshop at Bradford School of Art has been a great benefit.

modifying dyed fabrics

screen printing through an open screen
Gradually building up layers of process and image my samples are pieces in their own right. Below you can see some of the work I have done most recently, using devore onto previously printed any dyed fabrics.

devore sampling - work in progress
dye, print, stitch and devore onto cotton/silk
multi-layered textile samples

My next steps involve putting the finishing touches to some samples and then working on their presentation for exhibition.

Monday, 14 November 2016

Plodding on

November already... hard to believe but so it is, and a long time since I visited my blog. Sorry patient readers. I have been busy doing things in other places, both on the web and elsewhere. If you want to catch up on what I have done in between you can follow my visual travels on Instagram.

I have been trying to slow things down a bit; finding time for some fun things and some restful things. This stitching of indigo dyed thread on antique printed calico, has been a welcome combination of activity and rest, while I think about plans for next year. Keep an eye on my website for some new workshops to be announced very soon.

Monday, 6 June 2016

Thinking on...

Catching my breath after an incredibly busy week, now seems a good time to pause briefly and reflect on Lasting Impressions. If anything I feel like the experience was slightly unreal. Both the fact that we were given this incredible opportunity and that it happened at all seem like some strange fantasy; did that really just happen? The chance to make a work in the incredible top floor, Spinning Room at Salts Mill was just wonderful and, I expect, once in a lifetime.

©Carolyn Mendelsohn 2016

©Carolyn Mendelsohn 2016
 We had no way of knowing what response we would get from visitors and participants. We were so pleased that people seemed to not only 'get it', but that they really engaged with the work. From the 300+ people of all ages, genders and backgrounds who took part, we had some really thoughtful responses and generous comments. It was also great to see so many of our friends and supporters, thank you!

©Carolyn Mendelsohn 2016
©Carolyn Mendelsohn 2016

©Carolyn Mendelsohn 2016

©Carolyn Mendelsohn 2016
Claire and I have some work to do towards the next stage of the project, and in the short term a lot of porcelain tiles to fire. Keep a look out here and on my other social media for details about what happens next to Lasting Impressions.

Some people to thank for their help and support for Lasting Impressions:

Phil Jackson - photographer
and my dear friend Claire Wellesley-Smith xx

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Lasting Impressions

Our first day of Lasting Impressions at Salts Mill was a great success. We had lots of wonderful responses from participants. If you would like to come and take part we have ongoing performances taking place Sunday and Monday 11-12 | 1-2pm | 3-4pm. We are in the roof space (4th floor). Hope to see you there.

Thursday, 26 May 2016


Claire Wellesley-Smith and I have been busy this week preparing hundreds of small porcelain tiles ready for visitors to Saltaire Arts Trail to leave a 'Lasting Impression'. This weekend, during a series of performances we are inviting people to leave a trace of the clothes they are wearing. In exchange we will be offering visitors the gift of a stitch.

Come and see us in the amazing Roof Space at Salts Mill 28 - 30 May 2016.

Performances each day (28-30 May) between:
11am & 12 noon  |  1pm & 2pm  |  3pm & 4pm

Saturday, 14 May 2016


I was very fortunate this week to travel to Roubaix, France with Bradford School of Art. During my trip I visited the wonderful Tissuthèque textile archive at Musee la Piscine. The archivist, Norah, brought out some wonderful items for us to see. Although it was a brief visit I found it very inspiring and have some further lines of research in mind, but for now that's under wraps while I work on other things. Not long now until Lasting Impressions...

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Not making it

It is a very strange thing to be building up for a big project and to have nothing much to show for it. The Lasting Impressions project I am currently working on with Claire Wellesley-Smith is something very different for me. As a performative work, it will take place and grow in situ at Salts Mill. It is such an exciting opportunity and  I feel really honoured to be able to work on this.

It took me by complete surprise (although it probably shouldn't have) that I have missed the slow build-up of making that I usually associate with a project. I miss the making and I miss the reassurance of a physical object taking shape. It makes me nervous to have nothing in my studio and just lists and invoices in my notebook.

I keep telling myself that the magic will happen in the moment... Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

The Spinning Room

It's a long time since I wrote a post here, mainly because I have been busy planning projects and writing proposals. That doesn't always make for fascinating reading but today one if those projects started to feel much more real.

I am really lucky this year to be creating a new work called 'Lasting Impressions' in partnership with my friend Claire Wellesley-Smith for Saltaire Arts Trail. With the support of Saltaire Inspired and Arts Council England we have been commissioned to make a performative work for the duration of the event (28-30 May 2016). We are very fortunate to be using the wonderful Spinning Room at Salts Mill and today we had our first planning visit.

At 168 metres long it is a truly amazing space with an atmosphere all of it's own. It makes it all the more special that it isn't usually open to the public. This will be an exciting, if slightly daunting project. I will be sharing more here and on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook over the coming weeks.


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