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The Localist

Meet the Artist: Alice Palmer

“I love working with colour, line and texture. My work is always inspired by what is happening in the world or in my life at the time and recently I have been dreaming about travelling and exploring colour around the world.”

It’s hard not to be drawn into Alice Palmer’s colourful world that fuses fashion, textiles and geometric shapes. Before becoming an artist, Alice had a knitwear company, showing collections in London, Paris, Tokyo and New York, and winning Textile Brand of the Year at the Scottish Fashion Awards in 2013.

Her love of textiles and sculptural, tactile shapes has carried through to her art, currently focussed on mesmerising wall hangings made up of colour-pop viscose threads. Based in South Derbyshire and East London, Alice has shown three times with The Other Art Fair and was picked by the Cynthia Corbett gallery for the Young Masters exhibition in 2014. 

She has also exhibited knitted installations at the Schwartz Gallery, Hackney Wick, for three consecutive years in a group show called Allotments, and presented work in East London at ‘East End Women: The Real Story’ exhibition.

What’s inspiring you at the moment?
Travel and colour around the world! I closely observe images of Aurora Borealis to inspire my wall hangings, carefully picking out different strands of yarn and placing them to create an interesting array of colour. Each hanging has over 200 strands of viscose that fascinatingly change colour depending on where they are placed. Most recently I have been researching mathematic ratios that exist everywhere in nature and using these ratios, such as the Golden Section, to map out my paintings before I start.

How do you build a connection with others?
I love working with colour, line and texture. Through using draped viscose strands, movement is created in my work. These hangings sway when there is a gentle breeze or if someone walks by giving them a life of their own. What draws me to creating textile art is the strong tactile element and different yarns can give different sensory experiences. I like to think the colours and textures in my current work bring a sense of calm and wonder to the viewer.

Tell us your top five hidden gems in London to inspire and enjoy
Firstly, I’d recommend a stroll around the canal in Hackney Wick to see all the graffiti and stop at Stour Space to have a bite to eat, overlooking the river.

I really enjoy going to Vintage Hackney Wick, at 92 White Post Lane. They have great quality vintage clothing in the neatest display you could imagine, and a good range of vinyl. For the best homemade pie and mash I love going to The Camel – a beautifully restored Victorian pub with floral wallpaper on Globe Road in Bethnal Green. Knit Works London, also in Bethnal Green, is a fantastic yarn shop that does a really good range of workshops. Lastly, I love swimming at The London Aquatics Centre, which isn’t really hidden but I find a lot of people don’t realise it is easy to book online. The sweeping geometric architecture, by Zaha Hadid, is amazing to look at when you are swimming in this 50m pool.

Where’s your studio and why did you choose this neighbourhood?
My studio is in an old printing warehouse in Hackney Wick, East London. I have been here since around 2010, before the Olympic Games and gentrification of the area, so a lot has changed since this time. I chose this area as it has a real buzz, which has only been heightened over the years. Instead of mainly just artists occupying the area, there is now a more diverse range of people there, which has made it an even more interesting and exciting place to be.

If you didn’t work with your current medium of art, which one would you practice?
I would become a burlesque dancer! I am interested in provocative performance art and like the idea of making one-off costumes, sculpted around the body. I believe life is to be enjoyed and this would be a whole lot of fun!