Someone once asked the question “has she really nothing better to do?” whilst surveying Annie Taylor’s textile art – especially the larger than life soft-sculptures, or Big Dolls.
The twilight world of the carnival sideshow is where her imagination dwells; those liminal spaces where mermaids and fairy folk flirt with carnies and Kahlos. Inspired by the nostalgia of childhood and the escape offered by storytelling, there is often a darker message lurking beneath the stitches. Most of the material she uses is preloved and is a little worn and frayed around the edges. It often brings its own story along for the ride and dictates how it should be used.
People began to assume her hand embroidery was free motion stitching, so she taught herself to draw with her sewing machine. She has used her illustrative figures for one stop motion animated story, and dreams of automata.
Whitstable, , Whitstable, Kent, United Kingdom, CT5 1JQ
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By arrangement or during advertised Open House dates
In addition to my own art practice I am co-founder and chief bossy boots of the Profanity Embroidery Group, PEG Whitstable
Illustrative and textile art, often referencing themes of folktales, childhood and nostalgia
My parents still live in the house they moved to when I was a baby. I have never been much of a mover either - too many books for a start. I grew up at the bottom of South London, moved North of the River and then ran away to the seaside.
A costume designer in 1930s Hollywood, which was a slightly flawed ambition for a child in the 1970s. As a very small child I briefly wanted to be a nurse, but that was mostly because Mum had made me a rather fetching nurses apron out of an old pillowcase.
There was always some sort of paper to draw on, and something with which to draw. My dad came home from the dump quite regularly with boxes of old computer paper. I am still using some.
I vividly remember painting Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, with trees, sky, sun and green green grass. The teacher suggested I filled in the white space between the band of sky and the grass. I didn't.
The dolls began after a conversation one day regarding the ownership of fairytales. I thought I'd make my own Lost Toys, out of old pillows, as props to draw and photograph. I hadn't expected people to want the dolls. They grew from there.
I moved to Whitstable in 2007, and began sketching people on the beach. The people gradually grew tails, and became Merfolk.
If I am not creating, I'm not very good company.
Sometimes I don't like anything about my work. Other times I am grinning from ear to ear. It is something to do with how the idea form in my head and comes out through my hands.
My golden moment so far was the Society for Embroidered Work's Clerkenwell exhibition, where Dolly (a larger than life soft sculpture) had a wonderful time, and so did I. I also think the LadyGarden exhibition for the 2018 Whtistable Biennale was a high point. Not just for me, but for the ret of PEG Whitstable.
Someone once said "has she really nothing better to do" about my work.
Sometime people won't come near my "creepy dolls"
Both of these reaction I take as compliments.