Carol H.

HISTORY

I was born and grew up in Walton-on-Thames which was then a small riverside village south west of London, the youngest of four children and the daughter of an Orthopaedic Surgeon.   My family had a huge influence on my formative years - among other things, they encouraged and embraced creativity in all its forms.   My eldest brother became a a very successful stage and costume designer and often used to take me to exhibitions, to the cinema and the theatre.   My mother was very fashion conscious and loved fabrics - she could name them all.   My early visits, on the way home from school, to an elderly family friend who made patchwork quilts also triggered off my interest in all types of textiles.   I went to a small primary school and the very early classes on “musical appreciation” started my fascination with the notes and, depending on the time(2/4 4/4, 6/8 for example) the way they fitted into a bar of music.

As a child I loved making things;  knitting, patchwork, dolls house furniture, collaged bags.   My father always encouraged us to make things rather than buy them.   He was also the one that, by example, made me realise that you could achieve most things if you made a commitment and worked little by little relentlessly towards your goal.

At secondary school I loved working with clay and slips, reading, painting (filling these with patterns) and a big part of these years was also taken up with learning to play the flute - my early interest in bars, time, keys and notes was put into practice!

At 19, I worked for author T.H.White on a lecture tour of the USA and following this for his publisher Michael Howard at Jonathan Cape, during which time I also worked with writer Sylvia Townsend Warner on his biography.

Then at 21, I had a totally disastrous marriage.    This put a temporary stop to my creativity, my love of music and reading and making while I had to work full time to bring up my two young daughters.    I was lucky in that the jobs I did were very interesting- working for film director Sidney Lumet in New York, then for lighting designer and theatre producer Richard Pilbrow in his company Theatre Projects following my return to London,  and finally as a producer for Canadian animator and director Richard Williams in his London studio where I met my second husband, animator and director Russell Hall, and we eventually set up our own animation studio Russell Hall Films.

During this period my love of textiles never waned and I continued to take courses whenever I could but it was not until I was nearly 50 that I took inspirational classes with quilt artist Nancy Crow, after which I decided to go back to school!   I enrolled on a foundation course in art and design at West Thames College near London which allowed me to try out working with metal, clay, wood, graphics, drawing and painting as well as textiles and which confirmed my primary love of textiles, particularly constructed textiles.   This lead to a textile design degree at Central St Martins college in London where I specialised in Weave in the final year.   So finally I became a weaver.

PROCESS

My focus now is to try to create beautiful things - things that will in some way enrich people’s lives.   

My weaving work is very time consuming and exacting.   I usually begin a design by working from my own photographs, sometimes ones that were taken many years ago.  After this there are many processes to go through to get to the finished article.   Winding the yarns into skeins ready for dyeing, dyeing gradations, winding them back onto spools from which to make the warps.   Working out the intricate relationships of the warps (often with help from my knowledge of timing in music and animation), then making the warps themselves.   Putting the warps on the loom and threading up the headles and then the joyous part - playing on the loom to come up with the ideas for samples for the final pieces, then going through the same process all over again to actually weave these. 

CONTENT

My preoccupation is my love of gradations of colour, distance, perspective, three dimensions, light changing in the landscape, movement, space, simplicity and beauty.