Saturday, July 02, 2016

Introducing Norma Hopkins, founder member of Textile 21

As a new feature on our blog, we are going to introduce you to our members, old and new. Our first feature is Norma Hopkins, who is one of the founding members, and also chair of Textile 21. Norma is the one who organises us all at our regular monthly meetings, and keeps us all on track! 

Norma's piece 'Shift' for Created in Colour at the Whitaker, Rossendale.
We hope you enjoy learning more about us, please do get in touch if you have any questions, by either commenting or visiting us on our facebook page @textile21 or searching for us on Instagram with the hashtag #textile21.

Colour on perspex.  Experimentation for Light Fantastic.

When did you join Textile 21 and why?

I am a founder member of Textile 21. I had already undertaken a degree in Textiles Fashion, majoring in Embroidery at Manchester Met, then Manchester Polytechnic. I completed this in 1984 with a strong desire to teach, so I took a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (P.G.C.E.) and for the next 7 years, I followed a career teaching drawing, painting and textile art in prison education before teaching at South Trafford Collage.  When I had got my teaching hours into a comfortable place to give me time to produce more of my own work, I took up a place on The South Trafford City & Guild Embroidery course which had an excellent reputation.

When did your interest in design first start and how did that come about? 

I always loved the subject of art at school right from my primary education years. I don’t know where it came from except it must be in my genes somewhere. In junior school, I loved crayons and colouring patterns, these were the lean years after the war, rationing was still in force until I was 10 years old, and people had very little money. Then I had a wonderful inspirational art teacher in secondary school and that began my real interest as I found an aptitude for painting and drawing. At home, where there were no art materials and no knowledge of the subject in my family, making dolls beds from shoe boxes and clothes from scraps of material, became my favourite pastime along with a delight in playing with my mother’s button box.

In those days, the school leaving age was 15; I left with a yearning to go to Art College. However, circumstances at home meant had to go to work to help with the family finances, so my interest in Art became subjugated.

I married and in 1962 I had my first Son, closely followed by a second, so for the next 15 years my life became domesticated as I cared for my family, and helped my husband to achieve a dream to own his own business. Throughout this period, all that was art was forgotten. 

When my children came to be teenagers, and my husband achieved his dream, I began to look at my own desires. I had missed much of my education in my childhood due to ill health but had a fervent desire to return to study and formed a cunning plan to gain a second chance to get a further education and to gain a place at Art College.

Abstract panel.  Experimentation for Light Fantastic.

How would you describe your work? 

I think I am quite painterly now. I love colour and the technique of collage and enjoy the way that in paint, or in the layering of transparent fabrics, passages of colours merge, blend, and shine through each other. My training advocated strong drawing but I have moved away from observational work towards a more conceptual, symbolic representation, though I hope that there is some recognisable substance in the source of the designs. I see myself primarily as an artist who happens to use textiles along with mixed media.

What type of material do you prefer to use?

Experimentation on perspex for Textile 21 exhibition
Light Fantastic, at the World of Glass from 3rd September 2016.
I love transparent materials as they achieve veils of colour that one layer over another allows a glow from beneath, whether it’s in paint such as watercolour or fabric such as chiffon and all the while, sprinkled with the magic of mixed media to enhance depth.

Where does your inspiration come from? 

It comes from an inner quest as I respond to life’s journey. Often, it’s to do with the idea of enclosure, or the tension between restriction and freedom. The motif of the gate or open passage is often present and the play of colour is always important to me in some way.

Lock studies sketchbook work.

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

Found you Norma ... it is wonderful to see pictures of your work and reading a bit about you ... thanks! .. :-)