- Categories: 21st Century
Sian Fenwick Mixed Media Textile Artist
’I am inspired by vintage suitcases overflowing with memories, keepsakes, ephemera and heirlooms. Sewing boxes filled to the brim with old haberdashery treasures, family albums of sepia photographs and a nostalgic childhood of nursery rhymes and story books’
Sian Fenwick a mixed media textile artist was born in Bromley in Kent but now lives and works from her home studio in Bushey, a pretty corner of Hertfordshire with her husband Melvyn and their Patterdale Terrier Archie.
Sian was stitching and creating from a very young age and was encouraged by her parents, especially inspired by her textile teacher mother. Brought up within a very creative environment she also has happy memories of learning to knit with her grandmother when visiting her during the holidays in South Wales.
‘My mother and grandmother were both skilled in all aspects of textiles and passed down their knowledge to me. I really believe that it is important that sewing and embroidery techniques are passed down through the generations, otherwise a traditional and creative art will be lost‘.
Sian now enjoys sharing these skills with her niece Emily. On holiday last year in France, Sian’s favourite memories are sitting stitching whimsical mini quilts outside in the beautiful sunshine around a table with her mother, sister, sister-in-law and niece. Emily shared the excitement of finding a vintage sewing box in the French market and sifting through all the treasures held within. This reminded Sian of one of her fondest memories as a youngster was the treat of rifling through her mother’s sewing and button boxes and was the inspiration behind her collage piece ‘Rainy days spent treasure hunting in Mummy’s sewing box’.
She began her career at 21 after graduating from the London College of Fashion in 1982 as a hairdresser, wig-maker and beauty therapist. In 2004 she began her creative journey gaining a degree in Applied and Media Arts at the University of Hertfordshire. Sian now teaches and facilitates creative workshops working closely with local schools, charities and community groups including an Artist Residency.
Sian’s Artist in Residence role at Watford Grammar School for Girls was to set an example of good art practice and to increase the students’ knowledge and development of skills by inspiring and enabling the students to produce art with confidence. Sian draws on her own school experience and can empathise deeply with the students who are afraid of art.
‘As a shy child a creative path is a great way of expressing yourself and before you know it the shyness fades and you have embarked on the most wonderful creative adventure through life, it touches and connects with everything and everyone and at happy times and sad times it is your best friend’
Sian has facilitated and set up the award winning ‘Sew Inspired’ a creative enterprise for ASCEND Charity. The members design create and sell their craft products raising funds for the charity. As the name suggests these members are now inspiring others to do the same by sharing their skills. Sian has worked on commissions and workshops for MENCAP, was selected to work with the recycled Olympic banners project, tutor for Three Rivers District Council and has represented Watford at an art festival in their twin town of Mainz in Germany. She has also worked with those suffering from depression, dementia and age related issues
As always, Sian finds it very it refreshing working with all students whether in schools, community groups or workshops watching their skill base and confidences grow. As a tutor, the student’s eagerness to learn new skills and the joy of achieving something for the first time is not only very rewarding for Sian but truly inspires her in her own practise as a textile artist.
Sian, as well as teaching for other organisations, now runs workshops from her home studio where she mixes media with stitches, collages and journals sharing these creative skills as once they were shared with her.