Five Minutes with textile artist Alice Fox


Sand Marks Cloths by Alice Fox
Sand Marks Cloths by Alice Fox

Alice Fox has always been fascinated by the natural world and the detail of organic things.  Her practice brings together recording, collecting and interaction with the landscape and the work that she produces celebrates and carries an essence of what she experiences in the natural world. The work on show in Tide Marks, which is at Lansdown Hall & Gallery in Stroud until 24th May, is the result of her creative relationship with the shoreline. I caught up with her over the weekend to find out more.

When did your interest the coast begin?

Some of it stems from childhood visits to the west coast of Scotland but it became important in my work a couple of years ago while I was Artist in Residence at Spurn Point Nature Reserve in East Yorkshire.

And what is it about the coast that fascinates you?

I think it’s the constant change and the fact that you can see the tiny traces of these changes left on the sand. It’s those details, which are a random mix of the natural and the man-made, that grab me and make their way into my work.

What are you showing at Tide Marks?

There are three different groups of work, all centred on the rust marks made from metal objects that I found on the beach. The first is a series of long cloths made by wrapping fabric around metal objects. They are very simple but the rust marks give detail and variation. The second is a collection of framed paper-based pieces which I have stitched and over-printed and the third a set of small woven works that have metal objects imbedded in the weave and carry rusty stains reminiscent of tide lines.

Tide Line (detail) by Alice Fox
Tide Line (detail) by Alice Fox

Rust is clearly an on-going inspiration. Why?

The thing that first captured my imagination was the way washed-up metal stained the wood or sand around it, sometimes creating amazingly complex marks. What I love about working with these stains is that you never know what will happen; it’s a magical and intriguing process that is also entirely natural and created from found objects.

You have been working on Tide Marks for the last couple of years. Is it an on-going project or have you moved on to other things?

Well I live in Saltaire in West Yorkshire so it is a bit ridiculous having a preoccupation with the sea. Although work gets presented as distinct projects it is all part of a continuum, so there are gradual shifts in what I’m working on all the time. These shifts then become encapsulated into a ‘project’ but it isn’t necessarily a conscious decision to work in a particular way. I have always been fascinated by the landscape and it’s more practical to use the landscape I’m in so I am currently working on more woodland-based things, experimenting with stitching into leaves. It’s early days though and the coast will always be there in the background. Every new idea is informed by the last one.

Tide Marks Books #49 by Alice Fox
Tide Marks Books #49 by Alice Fox

Tide Marks runs at Lansdown Hall & Gallery, Lansdown, Stroud GL5 1BB until Saturday 24th May. Tuesday – Saturday 10.30am – 4.30pm; Sunday 12 noon – 4pm. Closed Mondays except Bank Holidays.

Alice herself will be hosting a free walk and talk in the gallery at 11am on Saturday 10th May.

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