A Textile Masterpiece - Elaine Hook
Updated: Apr 1
My journey with Elaine Hook has been a wonderful one. She has been by my side and supported me when I was trying to work things out in my own mind in the very beginning, as an artist and curator. Elaine is good like that.. she listens, she sees and she is loyal. As an artist she is a masterpiece as the title announces, she is rich with talent, has depth and experience. Her work speaks to people and moves them in ways, where they have to sit down, take a moment and think. Elaine's honesty will bring you to tears but in a good way, because she has seen another way to live and she brings this light forwards in her work. Find out more about Elaine Hook below... Fiona Love )Founder of Inter-Arts Festival
What is your creative background?
I have been an artist all my life, drawing and painting from as young as I can remember. I graduated from Coventry University with a BA (Hons) 2:1 in Graphic Design, worked as Studio Manager for a small Design Agency in Buckinghamshire before going Freelance and having my own design company. I have taught all over the world; including Europe, USA, UAE and Africa. I taught Graphic Design, Textile and Media Studies at Milton Keynes College and Coventry University. I am now retired and concentrate on my textile art.
How does art/craft help you in your life?
My textile work is extremely important to me mentally and physically. It soothes my soul and my mental health.
What changes have you seen as you have grown as an artist?
I have always sewn but never as prolifically as I do today due to my earlier work and family life constraints. Now I’m retired, single and child free I can use my time to satisfy my soul. I had no idea as I grew in my textile work how useful my graphic design skills would be.
What and who inspires you?
Many people inspire me. Past teachers, trainers and friends who have supported me on this journey, too many to name. My own personal environment is my inspiration, where I find myself at any time. I love nature and particularly flowers and birds. You will often find them in my work. Depending where I am living, depends on what develops in my textile work; Arizona: desert flowers and colours. Yorkshire: hills, bluebells, heather and stone walls, just to give you a flavour.
How have you been coping in lockdown?
Lockdown hasn’t changed very much for me due to suffering chronic illness, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, Myasthenia Gravis et al. For the past few years I’ve had to be very careful with my health and energy and have spent my days mostly at home, so lockdown has been easy for me. Consequently my textile work became even more important to my daily routine and life; I sew every day, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. The only real change was food shopping online in order to survive.
What artists inspire you and why?
Alice Kettle, Grayson Perry, Cas Holmes, Sally Darlington have, and do inspire me every day. Strong and brave; out there and talented and these show me how to be me. Locally I’m inspired by Jo Butler, Fiona Love (You), Victoria Shone, Clare Ashton, Catherine Leedham, Inter-Arts colleagues who give me the courage to keep going.
My past colleagues (they know who they are) and past students who have kept in touch, all inspire me with their own growth, challenges and journeys. I feel extremely blessed and honoured to be surrounded by good, kind, talented friends.
What are you working on at the moment ?
My new thing to sew is, embellishing pieces of vintage garments, which I am really enjoying. Doesn’t have to be whole garments; I have stitched and embellished vintage ladies collars, adult and children’s sleeves and babies tunics. So rewarding to turn something lost in a draw into something beautiful to keep and show off.
Do you think that we have progressed with how women are seen in society? if yes how, if no why?
In some ways yes, but in others no. I think we still have someway to go and probably not in my lifetime. Our voices are heard much louder than ever before and female creatives are being valued much more than ever before but there is still work to be done and I believe my daughter and her friends are doing a good job in trying to make sure all female voices are heard and listened to.
What are you looking forward to, once all the restrictions are lifted?
Friends. Seeing friends in person whenever I wish. Coffee with friends. Exhibitions. Artsmill reopening. InterArts Festivals in physical terms. My Tea and Textile Workshops commencing again. Visiting the beach on the East Yorkshire coast and sand on my toes.
Elaine Hook is part of our ongoing work for Invisible Made Visible Festival please take a look here https://www.interartsfestival.com/elaine-hook
We are hoping to present our Invisible Made Visible Festival when we feel it is safe to do so. Inter-Arts have been showing some of the On-going work here on our website and on our. Facebook page and Inter-Arts You Tube Channel.