We’ve got another weaving and textile interview to share with you! This interview is with Alice Hume who is a woven textile artist based in Portsmouth. Alice has had a very impressive and rewarding textile career, she has created some beautiful commissions and has exhibited her work in a variety of locations including Alexander Palace. You can see all her creative and colourful designs on her Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/vanderhume/

Now let’s get to know Alice!

What was your route to becoming an artist and what inspired you to start weaving?

I always enjoyed art and textiles at school which led me to study textile and fashion design at Winchester School of Art. My aim was to study printed textiles but in my first year we had the opportunity to try weaving and I absolutely loved it. In my second year, I studied weaving at the Swedish School of Textiles with the Erasmus exchange, this was an eye-opener for me and the textile art and looms were incredible and still influence my work now. In 2016 I was offered a studio at Hotwalls in Old Portsmouth and have been a full-time textile artist there ever since.

Credit: Sophie Twining – https://www.sophietwining.com/

Tell me a little bit about your design process.

I gather inspiration from everywhere, walks, travelling, exhibitions, cultures, photographers, artists, books and nature. I then select yarns, colours and textures that reflect these inspirations. Sometimes I sketch my designs and other times I just weave and let the creativity evolve. All my pieces are bespoke and one off. Lately I have been really inspired by photographer Phylis Galembo and Jimmy Nelson who capture indigenous cultures and tribes. The bold colours and shapes really influence my work, and I love combining copper with wrapped tassels of linen, cotton and silk.

What made you want to start your own business and how did you feel when you sold your first woven piece?

I was made redundant from my job at Monsoon in July 2016 and managed to get a studio at Hotwalls within the same month. I took the leap and decided to start my own textile business by teaching weaving workshops and creating and selling my own woven work. I came to Hotwalls Studios having never sold my work before and my first sale was a wall hanging called wild water which sold to a famous fine artist in Australia which was incredible and a real confidence boost.

Do you have a preferred material that you like to use?

I love weaving with natural plant-based materials such as linen, cotton and raffia. I’m also just learning how to spin and can’t wait to spin my own alpaca to weave with. I love combining unusual materials such as patina copper and textiles.

What was the first piece you created?

My first woven piece was back in 2011 on my degree where I created a handwoven sporran on a Harris Loom inspired by Scottish landscapes.

Tell me a little bit about your work that’s been exhibited in Alexandra Palace, Harrington etc.

One of my woven wall hangings was exhibited at Alexandra Palace and Harrington with the embroiderers guild page 17 project. My woven wall hanging was inspired by a book called salt to the sea about refugees. I created a piece that represented the sea in greens, sage and cream with patina copper chunks hanging from the bottom. I am just in the process of creating another woven piece for the embroiderers guild next exhibition with the theme home, so keep an eye out for that later this year.

What’s your favourite piece you have created and why?

My favourite piece I have ever made is my final major project when I was studying at Winchester in 2013. I created a collection called native beards inspired by the culture of the native Americans. Using bright colours and lots of fringing I made two hand-woven clutch bags and and two neck pieces, I still refer back to these pieces for ideas. This collection was a real turning point for me and I really found my creative identity.

What weaving and textile artists inspire you?

Lenore Tawney is a huge inspiration of mine, she was so ahead of her time and I loved how she made weaving conceptual and pushed the boundaries. I didn’t know much about Anni Albers until I attended her exhibition at the Tate last year and it was incredible, I loved the materials she experimented with.

What’s your studio set up like? Which Harris looms do you have?

I’m based at studio 12 at Hotwalls, they are public working studios in 16th century military barrack arches right next to the beach. The spaces are amazing and as they are grade 1 listed buildings all the walls are left natural so I have dried salt on my walls creating really interesting textures. There is a huge window at the front so we have lots of natural light and windows at the sides so you can see into each other’s studio. I have an 8 shaft Harris floor loom which I use to create my woven clutch bags and placemats. Hotwalls Studios – https://hotwallsstudios.co.uk

(Handwoven clutch bag created on our Harris Looms).

Semande – https://www.semande.co.uk/spring-summer-2019/

Do you give talks, run workshops or classes? If so where can readers find more information about these?

I run monthly frame loom weaving and Macrame Pot hanger Workshops in my studio. I also run workshops at festivals, this year I am teaching at wilderness, deer shed, larmer tree and victorious Festival.You can find more information on my craft course page.https://www.craftcourses.com/courses/introduction-to-frame-loom-weaving

What advice would you give to an aspiring textile artist?

Create the things you wish existed, don’t make what you think you should make. Create whatever makes your heart sing and you’ll always be authentic, if you love what you do so will others. It’s so important to develop your own creative identity, really find out what inspires you so you can keep creating and progressing.

How has your work developed since you began and how do you see it evolving in the future?

My Textiles has evolved so much since my studio, by having lots of sales and a variety of commissioned projects it has really boosted my confidence. In October I had a commission to create nine giant woven wool hangings for Allbirds first UK store in Covent Garden. The wall hangings were so much fun to make and were huge, I asked my friend Ami from Lo and Behold Bespoke to help me. You can still see them now on Long Acre in Allbirds Covent Garden store. My aim this year is to create more larger pieces and keep creating work that is out of my comfort zone. http://www.loandbeholdbespoke.com

(Allbirds commissions)

Alex Fountain – https://cinealex.co.uk/

How would you describe your work?

Colour, texture, culture, collaboration and community.

Do you have a creative ritual?

Weaving is very physical and you do tend to hunch over, so I make sure to look after my body and attend yoga. This really helps with my breathing, stretching and posture. It’s also important to have a life work balance, I don’t do any of my work at home, so I can really switch off and feel refreshed when I am in my studio.

Is there an artist that you would like to collaborate with?

I love collaborations and I believe it is so important to work with others to challenge yourself and progress. I am really looking forward to collaborating with fine artist Kate Florence, ceramicist dea clay and fashion brand Semande. These are all separate projects but I am excited to incorporate our individual skills together.

(Some of her pieces from the ‘Runways’ shoot)

Credit: Caroline Opacic – https://carolineopacicphotography.com/

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Upcoming exhibitions featuring new work, Japanese textile and craft festival, 9-13th October 2019 in The Forge, Isle of Dogs, London

You can see more of Alice’s achievements and commissions on her website – www.vanderhume.co.uk

Did you like our interview with Alice? let us know in the comments below.