Aran Illingworth MSDC

Stitched & Constructed Textiles

About Aran
Aran is a textile artist specialising in portraiture and depiction of the human figure in textiles. She originally worked as a trained nurse, specialised in psychiatry. She left nursing in order to bring up her son, but eventually returned to education, completing a degree in textiles from the University of Hertfordshire. Now established as a textile artist, she has spent several years perfecting her work and the techniques that she uses. She currently exhibits her work both in the UK and internationally.
Biography Back to top

Aran's work focuses on portraiture and depiction of the human figure in textiles, inspired by the people around her and using photographs as an input. Her work is a visual narrative, which is intended to convey a certain emotion and which focuses on subjects carrying a specific message and meaning.

The gaze of the portrait toward the viewer has remained a constant focal point in her work over the years, as has her search for a narrative based on faces, context and gestures. The work is all hand sewn using cotton thread.

Over time, she has developed a sewing technique that allows her to blend colours and establish tonalities that resemble the techniques used in paintings. The direction in which the threads are sewn mimics the way brush marks are layered within a painting which, in turn, creates an illusion of depth, volume, and form. Her stitching methodology borders on the obsessive, but ultimately allows her visually to evoke painterly renditions of flesh, hair, and cloth.

A few years ago, her work generally had a feminist dimension, which was particularly evident in work focused on poverty. More recently, however, her work has addressed an increasingly wide range of other concerns, whether based on social issues or political ones. For instance, some of her recent work is on dementia, taking as input a photographic image taken from a series focusing on the photographer’s own mother, who was suffering from Alzheimer’s. Such images can grab the viewers’ attention and leave an indelible impression. The results can be profound and transformative.

Aran's main aim is to continue working and researching and in the process to contribute to the debates taking place in textiles. She is committed to help keeping traditional embroidery techniques alive at a time when so many of the opportunities to learn them have disappeared.

Resumé Back to top

Education

BA (Hons) | 2010 | University of Hertfordshire

· Subject: Applied Arts

· Classification: First Class Honours

BTEC Diploma | 2005 | Huntingdon Regional College

· Subject: Art and Design

· Grade: Merit

Work Experience

Textile Technician at Kimbolton School

· 2008 to 2017

Registered Mental/General Nurse

· 1975 to 1994

Current Exhibitions

2nd - 21st July 2018 The Hand of the Maker, Designer Crafts Summer Exhibition 2018, Chelsea College of Art & Design, 16 John Islip St, Westminster, London SW1P 4JU

Upcoming Exhibitions

1st - 29th Sept 2017 Open exhibition, Lovelys gallery, 248 Northdown Road, Margate, Kent CT9 2PX·

20th July - 18th October 2018 - The Art of Caring, St Pancras hospital, Conference Centre gallery, 4 St. Pancras Way, London, NW1 0PE

7th - 17th June 2018 Broadway Festival 2018, Little Buckland Gallery, Little Buckland, Broadway, WR127JH

· 30th May - 10th June 2018 Transience, Prism, Arch 402 Gallery, Hoxton Arches, Cremer Street, London E2 8HD

7th - 28th April 2018 Handmade, Lovelys Gallery, 248 Northdown Road, Margate, Kent CT9 2PX

· 2nd - 21st July 2018 The Hand of the Maker, Designer Crafts Summer Exhibition 2018, Chelsea College of Art & Design, 16 John Islip St, Westminster, London SW1P 4JU

11th October – 5th November 2018 Sewing Circle Rethread, St Pancras Hospital, Conference Centre Gallery, 4 St. Pancras way, London NW1 0PE

Previous Exhibitions

2017

· 18th October - 29th October 2017 - Another View Exhibition, Prism, ARCH 402 GALLERY, Hoxton Arches, Cremer Street, London E2 8HD

28th September – 1st October 2017 A Letter in Mind - A Sense of Place, Oxo Tower Wharf, Bargehouse Street, South Bank, London SE1 9PH

· 10th - 13th August 2017 - Festival of Quilts, NEC, Birmingham

· 26th Aug - 16th Sept 2017 Open exhibition, Lovelys gallery, 248 Northdown Road, Margate, Kent CT9 2PX

· 20th July - 19th October 2017 - The Art of Caring, St Pancras hospital, Conference Centre gallery, 4 St. Pancras way, London, NW1 0PE

· 3rd -12th May 2017 – The Art of Caring, St. George's Hospital London

· 29th April - 13th May 2017 - Another View Exhibition, RBSA Gallery, 4 Brook Street, Birmingham B3 1SA

2016

· Collect Connect retrospective, Kensington and Chelsea College, London SW10 0GS

· A Letter in Mind - A view on Nature, Oxo Tower Wharf, Bargehouse Street, South Bank, London,

· Designer Crafts at the Mall 2016, Mall Gallery, London

· The Art of Caring, St Pancras Hospital, Conference Centre Gallery, 4 St. Pancras Way, London, NW1 0PE

· The Lichfield Prize 2016, Emporium Gallery, Lichfield, Staff.

· Fracture Exhibition, Prism, Hoxton Arch, Hoxton, London

· University of Hertfordshire Alumni exhibition 2016, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, Herts

· Art of Caring 2016, The Rose Theatre, Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey

· Agenda, Prism textile group, Hiscox Art Café, The Hiscox Building,1 Great St. Helen's, London, EC3A 6HX

2015

· Extreme Fibers: Textile Icons and the New Edge,Dennos Museum Center, Traverse City, Michigan, USA

· A Letter in Mind - The Art of a Journey. Oxo Tower Wharf, Bargehouse Street, South Bank, London,

· "Anatomy For Life" 2015, (Brighton and Sussex Medical School) Brighton Jubilee Library, Brighton

· Extreme Fibers: Textile Icons and the New Edge, Muskegon Museum of Art, 296 W Webster Ave, Muskegon, MI 49440, USA

· Electric Open 2015, Electric Picture House, Cross Street, Congleton, Cheshire CW12 1HQ

· Lines of Communication, Prism, Hoxton Arch, Hoxton, London

· Art of Caring, The Rose Theatre, 24-26 High Street, Kingston-upon-Thames, KT1 1HL.

· Sweet Art, Y Not, International Women's Day, Espacio Gallery, 159, Bethnal Green Road, London E2 7DG

· "COIN CUSINE" ... du cote des ustensiles; a touring European exhibition visiting 3 locations in France, Germany and the Czech Republic

2014

· "COIN CUSINE" ... du cote des ustensiles (continued) – touring exhibition visiting 10 locations in France and Germany

· Open Art 2014 - Black Swan Gallery, 2 Bridge Street, Frome, Somerset BA11 1BB.

· Solo Exhibition “Madonna and Child” in Bradford Cathedral, Bradford

· A Letter in Mind, Oxo Tower Wharf, Bargehouse Street, South Bank, London,

· Knitting and Stitching Show 2014, Prism Textiles showing in: London, Dublin and Harrogate

· Solo exhibition 2014, Artistsmeet Contemporary art gallery, Watersmeet, Rickmansworth

· Code Decode, Prism, Mall Gallery, London

· Designer Crafts at the Mall 2014, Society Designer Craftsmen, Mall Gallery, London

2013

· Fiberart International 2013; a touring US exhibition showing at (1) San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles, San Jose, California, US and (2) Exhibition of Contemporary Fiberart, Pittsburg, PA, US

NN Open Exhibition, Number Nine, Guild Road, Northampton

· Madonna and Children - Stitched Stories, Derby Cathedral Center, Derby

· Open Exhibition, Letchworth Arts Centre, Letchworth, Herts

· Shoosmiths Art Prize, MK Arts for Health, Milton Keynes, Bucks

· Harley Gallery Open Exhibition 2013, Harley Gallery, Welbeck, Worksop, Nottinghamshire

2012

· Contemporary Craft Open 2012, Unit twelve, Tixall Heath Farm, Tixall, Stafford

· Making Stories', ArtVanGo Studio, Knebworth, Herts

· 'Culture Cloud', New Art Exchange, Nottingham

· 'Labour of Love', Solo exhibition, Beetroot Tree Gallery,Draycott, Derbyshire

· Saltaire Arts Trail, Open House, Saltaire, Bradford

· 15th international Open, Womanmade Gallery, Chicago, IL, USA

· Exhibition, for the work on the theme 'H is for' Harley Gallery, Welbeck, Worksop, Nottinghamshire

· Designer Crafts at the Mall 2012, Society Designer Craftsmen, Mall Gallery, London

· Hertfordshire Open Exhibition 2011, University of Hertfordshire Galleries at the Museum of St. Albans, St. Albans

2011

· Art in Woodstock 2011, Woodstock

· Craft in the Bay Summer Show 2011, The makers guild in Wales, Cardiff

· 15th Annual Exhibition 'Her Story' The Link Gallery, Winchester

· Art ,Design and A taste of Summer, Blenheim Palace, Oxford

· RBSA 'Prize' exhibition, Royal Birmingham Society of Artists, RBSA Gallery, Birmingham

· Rising Stars 2011, New Ashgate Gallery, Farnham

· The Women's Art Show 2011Fairfields Art Centre, Basingstoke

· Contemporary Textile 2011,Landmark Arts Centre,Teddington

Articles and Publications

Textile Art Around the World | Ellen Bakker | 2015

· An overview of the various disciplines and techniques from within the textile world presenting 160 artists from around the globe

Handmade in Britain: Contenporary Artisans | Piyush Suri | 2012

· A book investigating crafts-people and their work in fields such as jewellery, ceramics, textiles, furniture and other craft

Other Articles:

· Fberart Now Textile fiber Forum magazine’s 122 in the readers

· Aran Illingworth | Artsbeat – Derbyshire's free arts magazine

· artsbeatblog.com/tag/aran-illingworth/

· Fiberart International vol 3 issue 1 Fall 2013

· Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania · Page 61 May 10, 2013

· Aran Illingworth: Embracing Indian heritage

· http://www.textileartist.org/e...

· BBC Wales report on Crafts in the Bay 2011

· Fairfields Art Centre, Basingstoke: Fairfields' fine show by ladies by Joanna Mace, 10/03/2011 in the Basingstoke Gazette

Awards

The People’s Prize, Broadway Festival 2018 open exhibition, Little Buckland Gallery, Little Buckland, Broadway 2018: awarded for work ‘Fractured Memory – Who Is That?’

Best in Show at the 2017 Open Exhibition | Lovely’s Gallery, Margate | 2017

· This was awarded for my work “The Three Graces”

People’s Prize at the ‘H’ Thenes Exhibition PEOPLE’S PRIZE AT THE ‘H’ | Harley Gallery | 2012

· This was awarded for my work “Madonna and Child”

UH Alumni Prize | Hertfordshire College OPen Exhibition | 2011

· This was awarded for my work “I’m a big girl now"

Other Makers in Stitched & Constructed Textiles
  • Joyce is a textile artist who uses many art disciplines in her work. She draws with stitch, mono print, watercolour and inks and then uses...

    View profile
  • Pippa's work is abstract, influenced by architectural and organic forms. Working in both 2D and 3D, she considers space, light and shadows,...

    View profile
  • Beverly Ayling-Smith is a textile artist and researcher. Her studio practice examines how cloth can connect with the emotions of the viewer

    View profile
  • Free machine embroidered and appliqued images which exploit the exciting surface qualities of fabric and an economical use of line.

    View profile
  • Helen Banzhaf has been making her machine embroideries since the 1990's. Her textile practice went hand-in-hand with her fashion lecturing...

    View profile
  • Diane is well known as the textile artist who created the on-going Painted Lady Collection.

    View profile
  • Jan is a textile artist fascinated by all forms of landscape. She creates compositions that are a synthesis of observational impressions

    View profile
  • Naomi is a textile and mixed media artist looking at the sunny side of life. Her childhood in 1960’s and 70’s Devon and Cornwall has...

    View profile
  • Anita creates one off pieces using a variety of painted papers which are embellished with stitch. Inspired by skies, particularly at...

    View profile
  • Maria is a contemporary artist working mainly with the 'soft materials' of cloth, wool and thread, often using natural and textured fibres....

    View profile
  • Helen's work is about absence. She explores whether an intangible echo, a sensation, remains of a being that was once there, disturbing the...

    View profile
  • Glenys Davies is a textile artist who works with a range of media and materials. She is currently exploring the use of contemporary and...

    View profile
  • Angela Dewar is an experienced designer and embroiderer, working with a range of techniques and in many different environments.

    View profile
  • Judy is a textile artist whose passion for making things has been influenced by her love of history. Her research into the structures of...

    View profile
  • Alex makes mixed media work, and also figurative pieces, usually inspired by water, frequently from images of her native Scotland.

    View profile
  • The current range of knitted textiles includes fine cashmere and silk jackets, coats and scarves, all of which are timeless design classics...

    View profile
  • Geraldine is a textile artist who attempts to visually communicate her excitement at unearthing the elemental marks that may emerge from...

    View profile
  • Wendy is a textile artist employing free machine embroidery and mixed media to create unique one-off pieces of work.

    View profile
  • Mary is a stitched textile and mixed media artist. She explores the distorted imagery that is created by moving water or is reflected on...

    View profile
  • With a lifelong passion for cloth and stitch, Julie was awarded a BA Honours Degree in Embroidered Textiles in 2010. As a result of her...

    View profile
  • Sam makes sculptures, drawings and collages, predominantly by stitching and manipulating mixed media.

    View profile
  • Ceramic Patchwork - hand-stitched ceramic re-construction.

    View profile
  • The key themes of Pat’s life have been exploring creativity in textiles, and to expand her knowledge of textile processes, with a...

    View profile
  • Rosemary is a mixed media artist working mostly with textiles. She uses recycled materials such as plastic bags, wires from machinery,...

    View profile
  • Sandra is a designer-maker working with textiles and mixed media. She works from personal observations recorded at home and abroad...

    View profile
  • “Alice Kettle is a contemporary textile/fibre artist based in the UK. She has established a unique area of practice by her use of a craft...

    View profile
  • About Ticia Ticia Lever is a textile artist who loves experimenting with colour and stitch, especially hand stitching. She enjoys...

    View profile
  • Jean’s multi-media approach combines fabric, print and stitch marks, and allows the interplay of layers that hint at complexity. Jean is...

    View profile
  • Debbie is a textile artist and maker. Her work explores landscape and place and her inspiration comes from experiencing and paying attention

    View profile
  • Diana is a textile artist working in free motion embroidery. Diana focuses on light and the way it changes the landscape from season to...

    View profile
  • fionaglen Designer Knitwear is a luxury knitwear label that focuses on true design and craftmanship. Established by award winning Scottish...

    View profile
  • Shelley is predominantly a figurative artist specialising in hand embroidery. Her drawings often focus on gesture, the movement and energy...

    View profile
  • Carol is a textile artist specialising in machine embroidery. She creates unique one off pieces for public and private venues.

    View profile
  • Jane’s background is in interior design and soft furnishings having worked as a designer as well as a teacher. More recently her academic...

    View profile
  • A sewing machine is Yumiko’s favourite drawing and painting tool. Yumiko is constantly pushing the boundaries of stitching and painting.

    View profile
  • Linda is a designer/maker who works mainly with textiles. She spent over 30 years working in education but always making when she had time....

    View profile
  • Elizabeth is an experienced artist working with a variety of textiles and mixed media. She has exhibited her work within galleries and...

    View profile
  • Angela is a stitcher and felt maker. She discovered a love of felt making whilst studying for her Diploma in Stitched Textiles at Windsor....

    View profile
  • Barbara creates art in textiles by hand-stitching together many carefully selected scraps of fabric in an impressionist, painterly style.

    View profile
  • Arlene is a textile artist and teacher of many years' experience. Much of her work is inspired by her love of roses and music. This stems...

    View profile
  • Consuelo Simpson works in response to the landscape close to her home in Hampshire. The ideas emerge through walking and looking. There is...

    View profile
  • Chris is a textile artist specialising in hand embroidery. Inspired primarily by the natural world she works within the sphere of the...

    View profile
  • Designer/maker of wall panels, hangings, pictures, carpets, screens, altar frontals and greeting cards. Work is mainly to commission and...

    View profile
  • Anna's background is in theatre design; costume and decor. Ideas are used from this discipline for constructed, textile based pieces with...

    View profile
  • Sue Stone is best known for figurative compositions with an emphasis on narrative hand embroidery and is an experienced teacher and speaker.

    View profile
  • Tiziana Tateo is an Italian fiber artist who, after starting out making quilts about twenty years ago, began research work and personal...

    View profile
  • Sass’ work is largely figurative and uses a dense form of machine embroidery combined with fabrics to create images and that tell stories.

    View profile
  • Dee is a contemporary textile artist who uses sketches, colour and texture to represent moments in time.

    View profile
  • Dawn's work explores transparency and illusion, the imagined or reality and perception of the occupation of time and space. Within Dawn's...

    View profile
  • Janet Twinn originally studied painting but became seduced by textiles. She makes patchwork wallhangings from her own dyed, painted and...

    View profile
  • Susie makes embroidered animations and puppets.

    View profile
  • Mixed media artist, surface pattern, paper, textiles, hand and machine embroidery.

    View profile
  • Stephanie is a textile Designer Maker working with a mix of materials and processes.

    View profile