Featured Artist 2016: Christine Witham
Published: 10 May 2016
We approached Textiles Artist Christine Witham with some questions to find out more about herself, her artistic background and her creative process. This year Christine is not only exhibiting new work, but she is also going to be bringing her experience of working as an Art Therapist at Jersey Sight-Imparement Charity Eyecan to the Open Studios. Christine sent us some photos of some of the beautiful textiles pieces, including some of her intricate jewellery, that will be available for you to admire and purchase at this year's Open Studios. Read on to find out more about the talented Textiles Artist:
"How would you describe yourself as an Artist?
Busy, quite focussed, I have to be because I do lots of different things. But I suppose a good description might be that I am a textile artist/fine hand-embroiderer and that I express my ideas by making unusual textile jewellery.
Have you taken part in Skipton Open Studios before?
I have exhibited with Skipton Open Studios ever since 2010. I think that being involved with SOS sends a message that you are serious about what you do. And I love the opportunity to work with other artists.
How did you first get into Art?
Colour and detail have always interested me and I have always made things. I don’t remember a time when that wasn’t important to me. But I did study textiles at university years ago at a time when Textiles was just emerging as an art form. It was very exciting. Art appreciation really began to mean something to me when I started teaching. I learnt to look. I continue to be amazed by the beautiful things people make all the time.
What inspires you to make art?
Who is your creative inspiration?
For me inspiration usually comes from natural things that I see or materials that I work with, although I did see some beautiful, vintage jewellery on a recent trip to Turkey that made me look twice. Pat Robson at The Harbour Gallery has been a huge inspiration and support to me over the years. Her enthusiasm can motivate me when I am feeling lazy or less than positive.
Why should we visit your Studio?
Greve de Lecq is a brilliant venue and we will be six artists this year, all very different. There’s easy parking and a choice of cafes! I’m planning to show new work, including a response to those Turkish necklaces, together with a selection of smaller items, brooches, earrings and so on. There will be plenty to see. I’m also hoping to offer some creative activities for visiting children.
What have you been doing so far in preparation for this year’s Open Studios?
This year I’m hoping to be working with Eyecan to introduce the Eyecan Artists, to inform visitors of the way serious eye conditions affect artists working and how we are addressing the issue. It’s a serious issue but this event is going to be lots of fun.
Tell me about your work process? Do you have a routine or will you work through the night if inspiration takes hold?
My work for Eyecan, where I am art-therapist and for The Harbour Gallery, where I run regular workshops for children, mean that my time for art is limited. I also have a family, a garden and I like to be sociable. Fine hand work is very time consuming. So since Christmas I have worked for at least a few hours every day. This is my normal working pattern, it suits me. The process is slow. If I’m designing I like to work quietly in daylight, but if I’m stitching I sometimes even have the telly on! I can spend many hours repetitively stitching. I certainly won’t be up all night!
Describe Jersey’s creative scene in 5 words…
Very active, diverse, welcoming, sustainable
What are you artist plans for the next 12 months?
I love all aspects of my work, teaching as much as making. My making year has a pattern. Christmas, Open Studios, exhibitions all need a body of work and I will be happily making for the next 12 months and more."
Visit Christine's Artist Profile to find out her contact details and more information on her Open Studios this year at National Trust for Jersey's Grève de Lecq Barracks, where this year she will be showcasing her work alongside Hugh Knaggs, Joyce Berry, Maria Tarrant, Naomi Renouf and Susan McGarry, on 25th + 26th June between 10:00-5:00PM.