Having a huge appreciation And love of flowers and all things vintage, the work of Jan Knibbs has always appealed to me. In fact, why not would garments, jewellery and wearable art with such unique textures and colour combinations not appeal to anyone with an eye for design ?
Being in my second year at Birmingham City University, we have a space of 4 weeks that we must fill with work placements. I instantly knew that I wanted to have a placement with Jan and luckily for me, Jan was more than happy to take me and even offered her beautiful home for me to stay in whilst I was with her. ( check it out at http://cedars-house.co.uk/ It’s turning into a wonderful holiday home in Hereford. )
Being a designer maker allows you to organise your own time work load ( including ALL the admin ). As Jan was not working on a particular project at the time of my placement we first of all took a look at various advertisement opportunity. We looked at various way Jan could get her work in front of people’s faces and researched opportunity’s such as, Folt Bolt, Textile link, Craft and Design Select, Pretty Vintage magazine and Sit & Select to name a few. I would highly recommend that anyone wanting to ‘get out there ‘ with their work takes a look at these as submitting work and choosing their advertisement packages is really easy to do and you never know where it may take you !
This year Jan will be exhibiting at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this August with collaborative ceramic artist Liz Watts (www.lizwatts.co.uk ). I had the joy of meeting this incredibly lovely and extremely chatty lady when she joined us at Jans home for a photo shoot of their works together. It was really lovely to see how two mediums so different such as the hard, glossy ceramics and the soft floating textiles can really compliment each other so well. Obviously I severely lack any kind of photography skills but I will upload the actual photos once they are finalised.
The show will be available to see from 8th August 2015.
Next job was to tackle the studio. Jan is lucky enough to have two studios at her home, one slightly warmer one inside the house and the other, rather chilly one, outside. We put on some heaters and jackets and started sorting through the outside studio. It was a lovely opportunity to be able to look through Jans work since the early times of her ‘poembroidery’, her mohair jumpers through to her most recent works.
I was also able to look through Jans lovely sketch books and mood boards showing her beautiful black and white fashion drawings.
Vintage and up cycling is a huge part of what Jan does and someone very kind donated this beautiful ( and very heavy ) vintage wedding dress to her.
Jan wants to cover it in fabric rose hips and flowers so we started to make a mark on the huge amount of individual flowers that will be needed. We used synthetic fabrics as this allowed us to gently burn the edge making the fabric twist and bend in a more natural way. Careful though, put the fabric too close to the flame and it will discolour. Unfortunately, as there was still lots of other things to do we did not have enough time to complete all of the flowers and it will be an ongoing project for Jan. I will ask Jan to send some pictures once it’s done though as it’s going to look marvellous !
I had a lovely few weeks with Jan including a lovely trip to Bath which I will mention a little later. Take a look at Jans lovely work at www.janknibbs.com
Thank you Jan for your kindness and generosity in welcoming me into your work and home ! looking forward to seeing you again soon !