Janet Haigh self-portrait
Mexican inspired needlepoint
Janet Haigh has been described as one of Europe’s foremost embroiderers combining simple hand worked embroidery with cross-craft techniques. More modestly, on her blog, she says, “I am a freelance designer-maker, applied artist, crafts-woman, whatever you want to call me – I stitch stuff by hand. Fabric, metal, porcelain and paper”. Her stitching is truly experimental and crosses many boundaries both in terms of ideas and materials. She is the author of eight books covering patchwork, cross-stitch and all forms of embroidery and she is a senior Research Fellow at UWE School of Creative Arts in Bristol. In 1981 Janet was awarded the Royal School of Arts Travel Scholarship to Japan, out of which came her book ‘Japanese Inspirations’ and in 2001 she was the winner of the National Garden Embroidery Prize, sponsored by the National Trust. Recently the Arts Council funded ‘The Enamelled Garden’ a fascinating series of sculptures using a variety of techniques including stencilling and scraffitto, to create weather resistant garden pieces on enamelled laser cut steel. Like so many of our designers Janet’s output is not restricted to needlework.
Another Mexican design
Writing about Janet Haigh’s work Howard Jacobson says “That needlework can have its ironies we already know well enough. You can come close to winning a Turner prize by embroidering the horrors of your bedroom. Whereas in Janet Haigh’s case, the art is as much in the doing as in the undermining. This means you never feel Janet Haigh has cheated you of aesthetic. She is an extremely sensual artist, loving colour and texture, thriving on excess and the idea of excess at a time of emotional niggardliness in the visual world. She embodies, too, as the best artists always do, the history of her medium, putting you in touch with all the traditions that have fed her.”
The best way to find out more about Janet’s work and to follow its development is to tune into her blog, janethaigh.wordpress.com which is full of drawings, samplings, ideas and discussions on the wide variety of commissions that are usually on the go simultaneously.