CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Kent Life today CLICK HERE

Meet textile artist Anne Kelly

PUBLISHED: 08:19 28 December 2014 | UPDATED: 08:19 28 December 2014

Artist Anne Kelly

Artist Anne Kelly

Manu Palomeque 07977074797

The renowned Tunbridge Wells-based artist reveals her fascination with cloth and her inspiration from the natural world

Anne Kelly’s studio could 
well be mistaken for a Wendy House. As Anne herself says: “It does resemble a small, weatherboarded building with windows.”

The studio is in fact an outbuilding in 
her garden, with recent renovations to 
give power, heat and water.

Close to her house near Tunbridge Wells, it is ideal for her art and for teaching.

Originally from Canada, where she trained as a fine artist, Anne also studied 
at Goldsmith’s College, having previously worked for three years as a gallery assistant. When she first came to England she was based in Kent with relatives and this is where she can be found now.

“Kent is a great county to live and work in, as it is near London and the main airports and transport routes. You can live in a lively town like Tunbridge Wells and 
be out in the countryside in a few minutes. Kent has such a diverse landscape.”

Indeed it is the natural world that forms Anne’s basic inspiration: “It is all around 
us and there is so much to look at.” Anne has also been working with the RSPB and enthuses about the birds in her garden.

Anne trained as a print-maker and photographer, but her epiphany came when she started teaching craft and realised she could combine mixed media and textiles. It is the tactile quality of this art form that she finds so appealing.

I asked Anne if it is the image or the materials which form the prime focus? 
“It’s probably the image,” she says. 
“I work in themes, so I try to match 
the colour to the theme of the piece and 
it can depend on my source materials: 
you are constrained by what you collect.”

Many of the textiles are given to Anne, but she will also collect choice items from charity shops and car boot sales. Most 
are second hand or found and many 
are domestic textiles such as teacloths, handkerchiefs, table clothes and serviettes.

Anne prefers heavy linen, cotton or a wool blend, but old linen is her favourite. She doesn’t dye the cloth but adds colour 
in with bits of fabric; some domestic 
cloths have lace which also works well.

“I love the tactile qualities of cloth and that you can work in layers; textiles lend themselves to this. I also like recycling. Things have a history, like people who 
look for notes in the margins of second-hand books.”

A new project will inevitably start with drawings, sketches and research. Anne is an avid user of the library. She works on more than one piece at a time, as she often works in series, explaining: “I think it is good practise to work that way, as you always have something to turn to if problems arise.”

The works come in a variety of sizes, depending on where it is going to be seen. “Larger, free-hanging works for exhibition can be as large as one metre long and I also do small pieces for selling exhibitions, and everything in between. My largest work 
to date was a commission for a family in Australia; that measured two metres long.”

Size, scale and deadline all influence how long it takes to create a work. “The work looks labour intensive but often 
takes less time than may appear as it is done mainly with machine stitching. It’s tricky to say: perhaps three days, but I may go away and come back,” Anne tells me.

Her work day starts at 10am and might 
go on until 10 hours later. “It’s the thought process, the planning that takes time.”

Anne admires self-trained practitioners, but also suggests that formal art training 
is important as it can provide a stimulating environment that is also supportive.

Anne is looking forward to appearing 
at the Prague Patchwork meeting in April, 
but before that you can see examples of her work at Tunbridge Wells Hospital until 
February and in the South East Open Studios this summer. n

Get in touch

Anne Kelly has a web blog at annekellytextiles.blogspot.co.uk, which includes details of the teaching and classes you might like to take.

Contact Anne on acegkelly@googlemail.com 
or 07759 600521.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Kent Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Kent Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Kent Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from People

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

While some of us call nettles and dandelions weeds, others think of them as lunch. We meet Kent’s professional foraging tutors

Read more
October 2018

As the world prepares to mark 100 years since the Armistice was signed and the guns fell silent on 11 November 1918 after four bloody years of war, Kent Life looks at how our county will commemorate this momentous centenary

Read more
November 2018
Monday, October 22, 2018

The film director is inviting people around the UK to mark Armistice Day at the beach

Read more
November 2018
Monday, October 22, 2018

In the fourth of our series, we look at 20 facts, theories and mysteries connected with the always intriguing Garden of England

Read more
October 2018

There’s humour galore in the artist’s cameos of Folkestone life

Read more
September 2018

In the third of our series we look at 20 facts, theories and mysteries connected with the always intriguing Garden of England

Read more
Wednesday, September 26, 2018

David Flood, whose name is known the world over as the man behind the music at Canterbury Cathedral, is celebrating 30 years as its Cathedral Organist and Master of the Choristers

Read more
October 2018

Did William Golding’s years as a schoolteacher in Maidstone help inspire his classic novel, Lord of the Flies?

Read more
September 2018

In the digital age, it’s good to know there are still skilled crafts being done by hand. Meet four Kent craftspeople keeping traditional methods alive

Read more
September 2018

Lenham Heath artist Clive Lennard on the challenges and pleasures of portrait painting

Read more
August 2018

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory
Kent Life Food & Drink awards 2016. Open for entries.

Latest Competitions & Offers

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook


Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search