Artist, Arts administrator, Editor, Maker, Teacher
Drawing, Metalwork, Mixed Media, Textiles, Weaving
Alysn Midgelow-Marsden is an Auckland based artist with a northern European heritage.
Wall based and sculptural forms are based on metals, fibres, textiles and stitch. She follows no specific traditions but rather is driven by curiosity about the human psyche, about science and about the social stereotypes of textiles and stitch.
It is a practice with an invitation to create pleasurably intimate connections to personal experiences through subconscious and viscerally emotive interactions and is marked visually by a complex, lyrical fluidity.
Her current works are generated from her proximity to the coast and the marine environment. They explore this through fabric, wire, wood and plastics.
Recent awards for selected exhibitions include: Mandurah Wearable Art (Australia) for ‘What Lies Beneath’; ‘Wall Brooches II’, (Australia) for ‘Taniwha’; ‘Changing Threads’ Nelson Arts ‘Bernina Award’ for ‘The Space Between VII’.
Alysn has a long standing fascination with semi-abstract expressionism, portraying emotional energies through a visual medium. Her work is personal and universal speaking to the subconscious mind. She portrays emotional energies and experiences, imbuing work with references both personal and universal which speak to the subconscious. Alysn draws on thoughts about transformation and change in personal terms and the wider natural world, the mystery and potentiality of the hidden and unseen and inspiration is often drawn from the ever changing natural world, including figures, plants, landscape and geology and from our internal world and emotions. Alysn is also constantly seduced by the possibilities which unusual materials and formats bring to textile art, often working in metal and cloth made from metals which are treated, distressed, textured, printed, layered and stitched before being assembled. Her starting points are observational drawings in mixed media using pastel, watercolour washes, pencil, marker and more. A strong clarity of form is aimed for, and an a honouring of the impact of the instrument, techniques or material used to make the mark, perhaps drawing on the sensibilities of the Arts and Crafts movement. By deliberately exploiting the boundaries of multiple surfaces new dimensions of design and textiles can be revealed. Alysn has a long established textile practice through work for exhibitions, teaching and writing.
2021. Iron wire on canvas. Approx. 50 x 50 cm
Still from 'Becoming' film and textile wearable art
Plastiglomeration. 2021. Stainless steel and aluminium wire, waste plastic. Approx. 60 x 250 cm
What Lies Beneath, 2019. Wearable sculpture, stainless steel fabric, thread, wire. Image credit: Stephen Heath and Wearable Art Mandurah
Light Dancing. 2014. Outdoor Sculpture. Stainless Steel fabric, thread, perspex. Approx. 300 x 300 x 200 cm
Not Singing But Drowning. 2020. Waste plastic, thread. Approx. 50 x 160 cm
Artist in fine art and mixed media textiles, tutor and motivational speaker
• 1991 – Present: Alysn’s fine art textile work is shown and sold regularly at galleries, art festivals and shows in NZ and the UK, including both solo and group exhibitions. Working to commissions for individual clients includes wedding and special occasion clothing, commemorative panels, corporate environments, books etc. (See list of most recent below).
Her work was recognised by the UK Arts Council through a grant of $10,000 for the development of a touring exhibition and catalogue in 2006.
Alysn is a freelance tutor and speaker delivering workshops and presentations to professional artist groups, Universities and Colleges, embroiderers’ guilds, patchwork and quilters guilds, schools, colleges, Women’s Institute Headquarters, local authority art centres and private groups, many times, including being invited to be the ’Madeira celebrity lecturer’ at several Embroiderers’ Guild regional meetings.
Executive Board Member for Creative Matakana
• 2019 – current. Delivering an annual programme of creative workshops and events by leading New Zealand artists for a nationwide audience.
Mahurangi Artist’s Studio Trail
• 2018 – current. Instigator and lead organiser of regional artists Studio Trail.
Creative Industries Education Coordinator
• 2016 – 2018: 0.5 post. Based at the Geoff Wilson Gallery, Northtec, Whangarei. Curation of gallery, coordination of student and volunteer involvement.
Gallery Founder and Director
• 1999 – 2012: Direction and management of The Beetroot Tree Gallery for Contemporary Arts (Derbyshire, UK).
Community Arts and Education
• 2003 – 2012: Board Member and Artist with participatory art organization
Projects have included:
A series of participatory and collaborative works by leading artists including working with school children, undergraduate art students, professional artists and the public.
Interactive video, sound and dance installations.
Annual arts festival.
• 2003 -2004 Developed and delivered ‘Designer Books’ at South Nottinghamshire College. The course was verified by the ‘Open College Network’.
• 1985 – 1992: Delivery of specific science based subjects to individual learners in their homes to undergraduate level.
• 1990 – 1992: Peoples College Nottingham Delivery of curriculum lectures for A Level Biology and Biochemistry.
• 1988 – 1992: Loughborough University. Delivery of lectures and practical classes for undergraduate science students.
• 2009 – Present: Presenting to groups and undergraduates around professional approaches to galleries, owning and running a gallery space, pricing, undertaking commissions, marketing and making better work.
* Mahurangi Artist Studio Trail
* 2021 Art Salon / Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery
• Mahurangi Artist Studio Trail
* Martakana. Group exhibition
• Fabricated Narratives. Art at Wharepuke Gallery, Kerikeri.
• Mandurah Wearable Arts. (Australia) Finalist.
• Martakana. Group exhibition.
• Fabricated Narratives. Matakana. (May 2019)
• Fabricated Narratives. Coordinator of group exhibition. Knitting and Stitching Show (UK - London, Dublin, Harrogate. October to November)
• Martakana. Group exhibition.
• Kleur Gallery. NZ
• ArtForm Gallery. NZ
• The Festival of Quilts, NEC, Birmingham, UK.
• Living Threads, UK (April) Title: ‘Sensational Stitches’.
• Martakana. Group exhibition.
• Paper, Stitch, Metal. Estuary Arts Group Exhibition
• In Dialogue. Group Exhibition. Haikou and Guangdong, China; Whangarei Art Museum, NZ.
• Permutations. Solo exhibition. Knitting and Stitching Show (UK - London, Dublin, Harrogate. October to November)
• The Research Room. Group Exhibition. Geoff Wilson Gallery.
• Group Fibre Exhibition. Kings Theatre, Kawakawa
• In Dialogue. Group Exhibition. Haikou and Guangdong, China
• Curating and exhibiting leading NZ Textile Art Practitioners. Knitting and Stitching Show
• (London, Dublin, Harrogate. October – November)
• Self Portrait. Lysaght Watt Gallery.
• Changing Threads Finalists exhibition, Art Refinery, Nelson.
• Living Threads, UK (April) Title: ‘Textile Treasures’.
• Kaipara Coast Sculpture Gardens, NZ. Title: ‘Change’
• NorthArt, NZ. Title: ‘Negative Spaces’ and ‘Absence and Presence’.
• Festival of Quilts, NEC, Birmingham, UK
• Art Van Go Gallery, UK Title: ‘Negative Spaces’.
• Minerva Gallery, Wellington NZ. Title: ‘This is ... Immaterial’.
• Mairangi Art Centre. Mairangi Bay, NZ. Tutors Exhibition.
• Changing Threads Finalists Exhibition, Nelson, NZ
• Harbourview Sulpture Trail, Te Atatu, Auckland, NZ. Title: ‘Light Dancing’. Large multi piece sculpture in steel cloth and perspex set into the lake.
• Tenants and Tutors exhibition Lakehouse Arts, Takapuna, NZ
• Kaipara Coast Sculpture Gardens, NZ. Title: ‘Woven in the Landscape’
• The Beetroot Tree, Derbyshire UK Title: By Invitation
• The Beetroot Tree 100 Day Project
• Knitting and Stitching Show, Harrogate, UK
• Living Threads, Derbyshire, UK
• Seed Gallery, Derbyshire, UK.
• Rufford Gallery, Nottinghamshire, UK. Title: All That Glimmers
• Estuary Arts, Orewa, NZ.
• 2019. Becoming (with Steve Balaam)
• 2018. Fabricated Narratives (with Ingrid Jellick)
• 2011. Alysn Midgelow-Marsden. Textile Artist (with Big Ant Video)
Major Recent Commissions:
Many commissions have been undertaken for private clients for wall based art and for special occasion clothing and for dance theatre.
2017 Research Award. NorthTec. In Dialogue Exhibition (NZ$18,000)
2016 Research Award. NorthTec. International Exhibition (NZ$5,000)
2008 Derbyshire Art Marketing Award (approx. NZ$1000.00)
Designing and Implementing E Commerce Solutions Training
2007 Derbyshire Business Link Award (approx. NZ$1000.00)
Marketing Materials and Digital Projector
2006 Arts Council England. (approx. NZ$10,000.00)
Development of Touring Exhibition and Exhibition Catalogue
2004 Arts Council England (approx. NZ$10,000.00 approx.)
‘Tree Dressing’ Children’s Community Project Lead Artist
2018 Winner ‘Wall Brooches’, Newcastle, Aus.
2015 Winner ‘Bernina Award’ ‘Changing Threads’, Nelson
2014 Finalist ‘Changing Threads’ Nelson Arts Council Textile exhibition
1998 Winner National Embroidery Championship for Wearable Art
1998 Second Place National Embroidery Championship
1999 Winner National Embroidery Championship for Wearable Art
Committee Member UK Embroiderers’ Guild (Branch and Regional)
• 1994 – 2000
• 2014 ‘Stitch, Fibre, Metal and Mixed Media’ (Search Press)
• 2007 ‘this Lustr’ed cloth’ - a fibre artists workbook of metals (Artfully Bound)
• 2006 ‘The Continuous Thread of Revelation’ (Artfully Bound)
• 2003 ‘Between the sheets with Angelina – a workbook for fusible fibres’(Word4Word)
Published Articles and Catalogues:
Textile and Fibre Forum Magazine Profile
Art Quilt Quarterly (Featured artwork)
‘WOW Book 2’. Chapter.
‘Fabricated Narratives’. Exhibition Catalogue
Junction Magazine (Profile)
The New Zealand Artist (Profile)
Art textiles from Aotearoa. Exhibition Catalogue
• 2004 - present
Project and information articles in ‘Down Under Textiles’, ‘Sewing World’, ‘Stitch’, ‘Paper, Cloth, Scissors’, ‘Workbox’, ‘Workshop on the Web’, ‘Classic Stitches’, ‘The Computer Textile Design Group’,’ NZ Artist’, ‘Junction’.
• 2004 – 2005
Craftsman Magazine ‘Diary of a craftsman’ 12 monthly 2,000 word articles.