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Fiona Espenhahn

My textile life started when, never having even seen a knitting machine, I enrolled on a course for machine knitting.  I was hooked, bought a machine and knitted some years using ribbon, plastic, wire and fibre optics.  

 

In 2000 I was joint winner in the V&A's "Inspired By" competition, for which I designed and knitted a ballet dress based on a Swedish glass bowl.  The following year I won my section with a wire necklace based on a spinet.  

 

I was awarded first prize in the student section of the Waistcoat Challenge at the Alexander Palace show for my wire waistcoat.  I then decided to enlarge my experience of metal knitting and took a coursed in metal sculpture at Morley College.  I made a dress from mild steel and wire knitting but felt I was not really strong enough to continue with the welding and gas cutting and returned to slightly more conventional work.

 

I then enrolled at Morley in the Advanced textile Workshop and a new world opened up, with new techniques such as screen printing, devore, dyeing and heat pressing.  I am not good at producing beautiful designs and pieces of fabric - I am more of a conceptual artist.  I need to have an idea to work on.  My pieces include Handbags for Opera Heroines, a doublet for a Hoodie Hamlet, a piece based on the Killing Fields and one on John Betjeman's poem "Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough !"  I also enjoy knitting wire jewellery.  Currently, I am sculpting with plaster of Paris, with the idea of combining it with fabrics.

 

fespenhahn@hotmail.co.uk