A new series of wall hung pieces, created as a celebration of Bottle’s 30 years working as a textile artist who skilfully combines analogue techniques with computer-aided design and digital print. The exhibition represents a…
A new series of wall hung pieces, created as a celebration of Bottle’s 30 years working as a textile artist who skilfully combines analogue techniques with computer-aided design and digital print. The exhibition represents a milestone for the artist, repositioning his practice in a research context unconfined by the constraints of his commercial fashion print designs and allowing a new burst of creativity. This solo show also marks his 30 years as an active maker member of CAA.
Neil Bottle’s recent body of work combines his craft-based textile practice with new digital skills and approaches to making. This new work is filled with intriguing images taken from his archive of family photographs – faces beaming from the past, the pleasure of a fleeting smile, hints of shared experiences and memory. As textile historian Sue Prichard notes in her reflections on his work, written especially for this exhibition:
Neil Bottle recently had an epiphany – after 30 years working as a successful textile practitioner and later as Programme Director of Fashion Textiles at UCA he realized that he wanted, perhaps more importantly, needed to create something for himself. The resulting body of work is therefore a continuation of his digital and craft based practice but now underpinned by the emotional rollercoaster of familial narrative. This new direction has, in his words, taken a psychological as well as physical toll. Researching, developing and creating work for this exhibition has meant long hours sifting, selecting and sometimes discarding the boxes of objects which triggered childhood memories of people and places.
‘All That Remains’ is a curious title for a celebratory exposition that explores and interrogates both the digital and the personal, and I wanted to know more. It is almost ten years since Neil asked me to write about his work and much has happened in the decade that has passed. In my text for ‘TechnoCraft Collection’ I described him as ‘an alchemist, experimenting and mixing paint, print and dyes transforming the two dimensional into a world of pattern, texture and colour’. The alchemy is still there and I’m not surprised that he has added a sophisticated digital tool kit to his practice; an interrogation of process has always driven Neil to explore new ways of making. Whilst his work has always borne the hallmark of his experiences, his love of travel – ‘wanderlust’ is the word he frequently employs – the focus on a deeply personal narrative is unexpected. That this narrative is inextricably bound to the domestic environment also seems at odds with the taste for the exotic, and his frequent trips to India.
Prichard also observes that this ‘long process of self-discovery has taken Neil on a new journey, this time his wanderlust has taken him in a surprising direction. He has travelled back through his past, adding the missing elements from his own memory library in order to complete his family narrative. He has embraced the role of artist, archaeologist, designer, maker and story teller – holding onto and passing on his knowledge through the medium he knows best, textiles.’
These excerpts from Sue Prichard’s critical thoughts on Neil Bottle and ‘All That Remains’ will be available in full from CAA during the exhibition in London 13.09.-19.10.19 and also from Ruthin Craft Centre 19.10.19-12.01.20.
Neil Bottle’s research has been funded by University for the Creative Arts, UCA and by the Ruthin Craft Centre.
Date & Time
Contemporary Applied Arts
6 Paddington Street,