Client: THE GROVE HOTEL
Location: WATFORD, United Kingdom
Completion date: 2016
Artwork budget: $20,000
RUSSELL AND CHAPPLE
The Grove in Hertfordshire commissioned a centre-piece artwork for the new Cedar Suite events space at the hotel. The concept of the artwork needed to reflect the geography of the five-star estate, set within stunning countryside just eighteen miles from London. The artwork is a multi-layered collage of silks, wools, vintage tapestries and cottons, panelled together and overlaid with intricate hand embroidery. All the fabrics are from luxury British Mills, and were chosen for their natural colour palettes and interesting textures. All the embroidery was crafted by hand in Mumbai, India. The artwork measures nearly 3 meters in length.
The aim was to create an artwork that reflected the surroundings of the hotel, the eclectic design concept of the interiors, and was visually stunning and original. The artwork uses fabrics and hand embroidery to create a collage that is totally unique in scale, technique and aesthetic. Coming from a fashion and textile design background, my artistic development centres around bringing fashion and textile techniques into an artistic format for the interiors market. The use of embroidery and pattern-making skills, normally applied to fashion, are re-contextualised to create form, surface texture and colour. The subject matter, rolling fields and the shedding of winter leaves, complements other design elements within the interior space, such as a leaf installation and further embroidered wall panels in an adjoining room. The colours within the artwork reflect many of the soft furnishings & textiles of the furniture within the space. This artwork is one of three pieces commissioned by the hotel, with each artwork constructed in the the same manner.
The interior design team, together with the hotel owners, initially commissioned the project. Concept development with the interior design firm was needed to create the look and feel of the artwork. I spent weeks sourcing fabrics and designing the actual artwork. Once this was all approved, I needed to create layers of fabric patterns for the factory in India, so they understood how to construct and piece together the fabrics. This was followed by embroidery instructions for each area of the artwork. The next stage was sampling different embroidery techniques, threads, colours, and making sure all selected fabrics were usable. A factory visit to India was needed half way through the project, for first hand approval of embroidery, panelling and quality control of the construction. The project took nearly months to complete. Over ten technicians worked on the embroidery and piecing together of all the fabrics, all completed by hand. Once the artwork was back in the UK, it was framed in Oak to complement the textures of the fabrics.