Biography for Alison Stockmarr
Initially trained as a clothes designer, having worked in a London Couture House in bespoke garment and costume design, she retrained at Colchester School of Art studying Textiles and 3D Design. Her Final Major Project, Personal Effects’, was a culmination of Family Histories, with the exploration of past affecting the notion of present. Disparate fragments of photographs and ephemera were printed onto layers of transparent textiles, embellished with stitch and silver leaf and displayed within the discarded remains of a dressing table retrieved from a skip following a fire; the physical evidence of the worn, scuffed and charred, testament to a former life or history.
The Theatre of the Dressing Table provided her with a space in which to explore her own family’s photographs and ephemera and the pertinence of items and the effects these have within ancestral timelines. The eclectic themes of this formative work, delivered in a contemporary context, form the foundation that defines her and her subsequent work. It is therefore important to tell her story.
Born to a Danish father and Lancastrian mother in the 1960’s, her working parents entrusted her to the care of her grandmother, where family histories, stories and the artifacts that supported them, played a rich and significant part.
Invented stories from grandma’s head were always favoured over books, and any time spent apart bridged with stories written in letters, occasionally accompanied with drawings.
Her affinity with cloth may also be attributed to her grandmother’s trade as a velvet weaver and previously more affluent generations living in India and making their living from the cotton industry.
Conversely her father’s experiences of growing up as a child in occupied Copenhagen during the Second World War, conveyed a desire to draw a veil over a turbulent past, reinventing himself in 1950’s Britain with the aim of a better future.
Bringing with him a Scandinavian sense of design, and marrying a teacher majoring in Art and Craft, this provided Stockmarr with a Smorgasbord of influences on which to base her creative career.
It is this combination of family histories, wartime austerity and the preciousness of materials available to hand, together with the historical significance of personal keepsakes and artifacts, that forms the backbone of layered meaning and significance of stories in her work and approach.