In her own words Alice Hume give us an insight into the development of her first solo exhibition at Aspex Gallery in Portsmouth…
How I developed my first Solo Exhibition at Aspex Gallery – Alice Hume
In September I received an email from Aspex Gallery asking if I would be interested in doing a solo exhibition over Christmas 2017 and into the new year. I jumped at the chance and was so excited as this meant it was my first ever solo exhibition.
They wanted a nomadic/scandi focus so I started selecting existing pieces that fit in with the theme. I worked closely with the crafts coordinator Linsey and we had a few meetings prior to the exhibition to get ideas and how many pieces I would need to fill the cabinets and wall space. In total we decided on around 20 but these could all be different size pieces. I would also need an exhibition title and running theme.
Since having my studio at the Hotwalls my work has very much been influenced by the sea and the beautiful copper sculptures near the Square Tower. Naturally I wanted to incorporate this in some way to the exhibition. I already had one piece called ‘Wild Water’ that was made for a Dunkirk refugee charity and had a water colour palette. It was also featured in a zine made by koumis and kettle that featured artists from all over the world on their interpretation of Water, all profits from this also went to the Dunkirk refugee charity. Read more about it here – http://www.koumisandkettle.co.uk/journal/kolymbao/
Following the theme of water and refugees I discovered a historical fiction book by Ruta Sepetys called Salt to the Sea about the Wilhelm Gustloff. It’s about history’s worst maritime disaster that killed hundreds of innocent civilians and refugees. It was worse than the Titanic and lots of people have never heard of it including myself. I felt I wanted to raise awareness of this tragic event and chose the name for the exhibition as Wild Water after my first water wall hanging.
After deciding on my theme and name I cracked on and started making more pieces. I wanted there to be lots of variety but still have a running theme. Copper and colour were a common feature, I used lots of greens, creams and textured yarns. The collection was interior, so I created copper ring dishes, woven coasters and different sized hangings.
Linsey the craft coordinator came up with the idea of having a loom on display with a sample so people can understand the long process. I also suggested a larger loom on display where people could have a go themselves.
Aspex and I decided to combine the preview night with the EMERGENCY 2017 Exhibition; this meant there was going to be an announcement of the winner too and would attract more visitors. As the deadline was drawing closer I was both excited and nervous. It being my first solo exhibition and in such a well-known Gallery was quite a bit of pressure. However I was excited to show how weaving can be contemporary with my unusual combination of textiles and copper, which I hoped would inspire others.
On the 6th December the exhibition was up, I decided to let Linsey display my pieces and she did an incredible job. I especially love the jars with plants, pine cones and driftwood which compliment my work so well. Just before the exhibition one of the volunteers from Aspex, Jess came to my studio and did a one to one interview. Read about it here – https://aspex.org.uk/news/posts/revealing-the-creative-process-qa-with-maker-alice-hume/
The feedback from my exhibition was lovely and every week more and more people had a go on my interactive loom. My exhibition was also in the evening news paper and I also got to go on That’s Solent TV.
In January I contacted the author Ruta Sepetys to let her know that her incredible book inspired my exhibition. She’s a Lithuanian American who’s currently doing a book tour so I was really taken back when she replied with a lovely email about my textile work.