Tuesday, October 14, 2014

This is SAQA Europe/Middle East: The United Kingdom

Gillian Cooper

I started out adulthood as an accountant, but after 10 years I discovered textiles at an evening class and knew I had found what I wanted to do with life.  I left the accountancy profession, went to Goldsmiths College, London to study textiles and 15 years, three kids and a move to rural Scotland later, here I am! 

I have been drawn to art quilts almost since the start of my textile career.  My own work is on the edge of art quilts and installations, but I have found SAQA to be very welcoming of all types of textile-based artwork.  At the moment, I am continuing to work on my series of figures based on ancient goddesses, called ‘Unsung Muses’.  I am fascinated by ancient goddess sculptures and how important they must have been to their creators and their societies, but now that meaning and importance is lost.  They become interesting objects to look at through glass cases in museums. 

Unsung muses, figures

People from the past lose definition and merge together. With the world changing so fast, it is difficult to understand someone from 50 years ago, let alone 4,000, particularly with the changing role of women. However, these people are our past, they are part of us; their lives led the way for us coming into being in our full 21st century understanding.

Takes these sculptures as a starting point of the simple human form, only just recognisable, obviously precious and old, my figures and related works are many things: an attempt to connect with our history; an exploration of the human shape; a search for the defining elements of being human.  Running alongside these thoughts is the idea of time passing, washing away the precision of memories with the waves of time.

This is one way of explaining what I do.  However, at another level, I just like to play with bits of fabric and thread, particularly pieces I have dyed, printed or coloured myself!

Facing the Past

Loops of Time


I have a website (www.gilliancooper.co.uk) and have been blogging for a number of years at www.gilliancooper.blogspot.co.uk  I’ve also been dipping a toe into twitter, pinterest and instagram as @gilliantextiles


  1. Nice to hear a bit about your early life Gillian. I was blown away by the muses at FOQ that year but also love your playfulness as well. I'll look out for you on Instagram and Pinterest

  2. Lovely to meet you at the EPM, Alsace this September, Gillian. Love you work - keep developing your style and having fun.

  3. Thanks for the lovely support Maggi and Sue.

  4. Thanks for this link, Gillian. :-) Now I can follow what's going on "across the pond" as well as in Canada. Enjoyed getting to know you better through this interview, too.

  5. I hadn't seen your website, though I follow your blog. It was good to see some of your other work. I am intrigued by artists who work on large scales like the Muses you had at FOQ. Questions like where do you hang it to see if it will work like the idea in your head!