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The textile society professional development award 2017

Caren Garfen wins Professional Development Award 2017

Caren Garfen is an experienced artist, whose proposal to create an exhibition around her work on ‘eating disorders’ reflects a passion and sustained commitment to a compelling and unsettling subject. 

The pain and distress of anorexia is sensitively considered and beautifully expressed through her textiles. Caren’s approach in developing miniature maquettes, in preparation for larger scale pieces, is both professionally planned and critically developed. The work demonstrates originality and a highly personal artistic quality.

Caren will be giving a paper on her work at The Textile Society Annual Conference to be held at the Wellcome Collection, Euston Road, London, on 3rd November 2018


Last year Caren was selected to hand stitch a block for the UDHR Quilt Project, a global collaborative craftivism project with over 130+ contributing artists. The project was designed to celebrate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and raise awareness of the ways it is being violated around the world today. This project will also raise funds & awareness for UNHCR through the sale of a forthcoming book about the project. Four quilts have been created from individual blocks featuring the entirety of each Article of the UDHR. The completed works went on display at the Kings ARI Gallery in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia,  in March, and it is hoped that it will travel internationally at a future date.


In 2017 Caren was invited to create a block for the Jane Austen Community Quilt Project.  The quilt has been funded through a Heritage Lottery grant, and inspired by a patchwork coverlet created by Jane, her mother and sister.  Each individual quilt block has been designed and created by representatives from over forty community groups worldwide, including groups in North America, Australia, Pakistan and Brazil as well as closer to home in the village of Chawton. Each block explores a different Austen theme, and when stitched together form a patchwork of stories narrating Jane Austen’s life, work and legacy. The completed quilt is currently on display at The Jane Austen House Museum in Chawton, Hampshire.


'Room For Improvement' was selected for The 62 Group of Textile Artists' exhibition CTRL/Shift in 2018 with plans to travel in 2019 after a successful showing at MAC Birmingham. CTRL/Shift takes shifts and changes as its theme, in particular it is centred on artists whose practice is or has transformed, in small or large ways, especially towards expressions of innovation in textile art. These shifts may be around changing attitudes to control (towards or away from it); the introduction of new materials and techniques; and/or the impact of innovative ideas and evolving technologies.


Caren has been invited to show a variety of artworks in 'The Mr X Stitch Guide to Cross Stitch' exhibition which is now open and will run until 11th November at Standen House National Trust Property in West Sussex.


Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre in South Wales has invited Caren to create a new piece of work for a group exhibition entitled 'Suffrage' to mark the centenary of women's suffrage. The show brings the visual arts and political discourse together and focuses on textile art and its role in political expression. Her new work ‘Media Meddles’ is now being exhibited at LGAC until 17th November 2018.


Caren has now completed a project of new artworks for The Knitting & Stitching Show which will take place in October & November (see Exhibitions for details). She will be creating an installation in the form of an adolescent's bedroom, called 'What's Going On Upstairs', which will concentrate on the effects of eating disorders.