Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Alison Wake, Im a Textile Artist. I work under the brand name Cognissart. My artworks are usually landscapes inspired by the Peak District where I live and take the form of hand embroideries, often using locally sourced, hand dyed wool. Using a free had technique I “paint with thread and yarn”.
How long have you been a textile artist?
Just over a year! However, I have always been an artist and have painted and drawn all my life, albeit as a hobby. Likewise I have always had an interest in textiles – embroidery, cross stitch, knitting etc. I was first inspired to experiment with freehand embroidery by a family heirloom – a tiny freehand embroidery by my paternal grandmother depicting bluebell woods near her home in Yorkshire. In emulating her technique I found the perfect medium to express my love of the Peak District landscape where I live.
What subjects inspire your art?
Living in the Peak District National Park, I am inspired by the micro and macro landscapes surrounding me. Whilst walking the paths and trails I see, hear, smell and feel the natural and man-made features which make this area so unique. I try to communicate my experience through the colour, texture and imagery of my pictures. Although the natural beauty of the area may obvious to many I am also influenced by the impact of humanity on the landscape and my images often draw on industrial and agricultural features.
Has your association with purple and grey helped your art career?
Despite having had a successful career in sales and marketing, starting my own business and “getting into the local art scene” was quite a daunting prospect. I attended several Purple and Grey networking events and through these met a number of local artists. Discussions at these events have helped me establish my brand and understand the local market.
Have you got your own studio if so describe it to us?
Yes I do have a “studio” although it really just comprises a comfy seat and storage area in an airy, well lit loft space. Embroidery is a very convenient medium. It's not (too) messy and, luckily for me, it's very portable. I keep each individual project in its own project bag which I can take just about anywhere. So, although I have my nice sunny work area, in reality I work all over - including the waiting area whilst my son has his drum lesson; or even the sofa of I'm feeling sociable; but perhaps my favourite place is the garden “en plein air”.