Linda’s ’30’ Exhibition at The Winchester Gallery
Last week saw the opening of ’30’, an exhibition celebrating Linda Newington’s 30 years at Winchester School of Art. The Private View and opening was delightfully themed as a tea party with cake stands, sandwiches and of course tea…with some red and white wine on the side!
Held in the Winchester Gallery at the School of Art, the exhibition is a beautiful display of Linda’s legacy, connections and passions.
Linda graduated from the School of Art in 1975 and returned in 1986 to be the Deputy Librarian having worked at the Botany Library at the Natural History Museum. She later became the Head of WSA Library and over the years she has not only led the development of the Library in to the focussed resource centre it is today, but has also made it into a thriving hub of engagement and community.
The exhibition is divided into three sections: a selection of her favourite items from our Artists’ Book Collection; knitted objects and items from her own collection and from the Knitting Reference Library here at WSA; and her own works, many of which emanate from her passion for the Shetlands
A number of Linda’s paintings are on display, with 14 watercolours painted in the Shetlands, Denmark and at the Watercolour Club, greeting you on entering to the Gallery.
Around the edges of the Gallery are more of Linda’s painting works, from watercolour to acrylic, via oil, chalk pastels, pigment and one of my loves…glitter! I absolutely love Linda’s colour work and the layers and texture she creates with different kinds of paper. Some of her work looks like the texture of wet felt, which I felt so drawn to, I wanted to touch! I loved how that look connects again to her love of wool and the Shetlands.
The cove has been used to show another of Linda’s great passions, knitting. A selection of knitted objects from WSA library, the KRL and private collections is on display. Poodles, rabbits, egg cosies and a dinosaur sit alongside knitted garments, hanging as if on a washing line. The items are a mixture of donations, gifts, purchases and even some orphans!
‘Linda’s Blanket’ can also be seen here from when Linda celebrated her 60th. We asked for and collected knitted squares from staff, students, friends and alumni to build a blanket as her gift. We had aimed to collect 60 squares for her 60th and well over 60 came in! Even those who couldn’t knit found a way to contribute a square. You can read our blog about it here.
The centre of the Gallery space highlights some of Linda’s favourite items from our Artists’ Book Collection, the Knitting Reference Library and Linda’s sketchbooks. And of course, something central to Linda’s passion, community. The Watercolour Club, open to all levels of enthusiasts for the medium, was running in the lead up to the opening with work on display.
The Private View was jam packed and of course, 30 years deserves a speech…Ed D’Souza, Head of School, delivered a speech of thanks to Linda for her work and achievements. Not just within the Library, but across the School, teaching in Fine Art and her research and development culminating in ‘In The Loop’, a bi-annual conference of all aspects of knitting within its history, modern culture and wider creative industries. Catherine Polley who, along with Clare Hemmings, has worked with Linda for 23 years, presented her with a card and gift from the School, saying just how much of a legacy Linda has built with the library and the community hub of engagement she has reached out to.
A new avenue of Linda’s work can be seen for the first time at the exhibition; her prints on cushions! Collaborating with Deryn Relph (WSA Alumni, BA Textile Design), some of her painting works have been made into beautiful, colourful prints on velvet cushions. Not only did they add to the homely ‘tea party’ feel of the event, but they were selling like hot cakes!
The event was one of the busiest I’ve been to here at WSA, a testament to the love and respect so many have for Linda.
Happy 30 Years at WSA Linda! With love from all of us.
Robynne Willowby, July 2016