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Imogen Mills

One to watch 2019

Where did you study and what was the course title?

I am studying BA Hons Textiles: Knit, Weave & Mixed Media at Carmarthen School of Art in West Wales. I am nearing the end of my second year and have specialised in Weaving.

Name of your lecturer – course tutor?

Llio James and Nia Lewis

What is your main source of creative inspiration?

I believe I have been a guerrilla surface pattern designer all my life; my preoccupation with texture, pattern and colour, it permeates everything. My inspiration is found in the infinitesimal, from the minutest details of lichen to the structural geometry in architecture. The sea and the horizon line are undoubtedly a dominant inspiration through colours and imagery, but crucially in terms of processing. Without a degree of connection with my environment, time and space, the air and the sea, I could not refine my creative practice. This is where all the links are made, the place where I make sense of it all and as a result the sea resonates throughout.

How important is colour in your work and how do you choose and narrow down colours?

I find colour fascinating; how colours interact with each other; how different yarns of the same colour can alter the narrative. I investigate colour through colour mixing, blending and swatches in a variety of media and yarn wrapping. It takes a while to chase down the exact colour for what I am trying to convey, but once I find it, it does literally sing. I love that process and I love the interplay with textures and patterns.

Tell us about your creative process

My creative process uses a mixture of media and I alternate between each one, with one process informing the next. Initial responses come from loose mark making with acrylic inks, then detailed drawing expressing form and texture, and finally printmaking. I love the variety of marks you can make through these processes, they root me and help to give that body of work its identity. After that it is about play on the loom or the print table; experimentation that embraces happenstance. Accidental discoveries, being led by the process and structure of weaving. I love watching the interplay of weft to warp, of constructing cloth. It is both physically demanding and intellectually stimulating. That you work on your weaves and then they are hidden within the loom until the warp is complete is intriguing. Unwrapping the finished cloth is a celebratory moment.

What are you working on now?

I am currently working on a specialist project designing couture cloth. I am thoroughly enjoying languishing in lavish yarns and building high contrast tactile cloth. It feels like a guilty pleasure. The collection is all about embodying the character of woman, about celebrating the vibrancy of female strength. I am using delicious lipstick reds with coral, hot pinks with sensual rich chocolate brown and flashes of gentle blue and pops of ice yellow. On the loom it is all looking quite exquisite.

Where do you want to be in 3 years’ time?

Quite by accident I have found myself to be a weaver. I am fascinated by delicious yarns and their placement in cloth, the divine structures and textures that give each piece of cloth its unique character. However, I feel a frustration in the unseen toil of each weave. I would like to (within a contemporary art context) pull apart weave structures and examine the spaces between. I am keen to complete an MA and become a lecturer to compliment my practice.

Creative high point?

Sitting on a campsite drawing for the first time in 21 years and realising I still had it.

Creative low point?

Recently, not being able to manipulate the materials to interact in a way I wanted them to. I felt utterly numb. Sometimes, you have to be brave and walk away from ideas and that’s very frustrating.

Is there one person during your studies/life who has really made a difference to you?

Everyone hits blocks and navigating out of them intact is a skill we all have to continually learn. I have a very good mentor in Llio James, both my weave tutor and course leader. She is very good at balancing the listening, offering reassurance and challenging ideas. She plants seeds in such a way as to allow me to develop ideas naturally. That’s a rare skill and one I value hugely.

What is your favourite colour?

Indigo blue. It is a very complex colour steeped in rich history. It is, to me, just sublime.

Image credits: Imogen Mills

Contact details

Imogen Mills

Insta: imomills70

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