Cas Holmes, Artist, Author and Educator

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The Romani Cultural and Arts Company 38th profile will be of Cas Holmes

Cas Holmes trained in fine art and works in textiles and mixed media as means to interpret her ideas. Born in Norfolk to a family with Romany ancestry (her Grandmother was born in Newport, Wales) she now resides in Kent. After graduation with an honours degree from the University College of Creative Arts in Kent she was awarded the Winston Churchill Memorial Fellowship (1985) and Japan Foundation Fellowship (1987) to undertake extensive research into paper-making and textiles in Japan. 

A core of her practice is centred around environmental themes based on the natural and observed world which speaks about our connection to place and sense of identity. Community learning and engagement in the arts has informed her work throughout her career and she continues to bring the two together with inspiring creative projects and exhibitions. Collaborations and installations use old cloth, paint and stitch contain intriguing, often hidden stories exploring the narratives relating to heritage, place and culture. These themes are reflected in her book ‘Stitch Stories Batsford 2015

Cas teaches and exhibits internationally using materials she gathers as she travel. She is a senior tutor at the prestigious West Dean Collage and also works within Adult Education. Recent projects include ‘Garden of Remembrance’ a commission with Age UK an the Garden Museum in London marking the centenary of World War 1 explored the role gardens play in the process for memory. Over the last eight years Cas worked initiated Tea Flora Tales, an international touring collaboration in support of the charity Plantlife to raise awareness of the the need to protect windflowers and habitat. Its final showing was at the Knitting and Stitching Shows and Rochester Cathedral in 2108-2019

Cas has received a ‘Pride of Britain Award’ from the NRI Institute (India/UK 2010) for excellence in her field and in recognition of her research work looking at the relevance of North West Indian Art and Craft within Romani historic culture (funded by Art Council England)

Cas is the author of four books for Batsford, including the seminal ‘The Found Object in Textile Art’ which is used a primary reference source in education and schools. Her most recent publication ‘Textile Landscape:Painting with Cloth in Mixed Media’ focuses on the interrelationship between, textiles and painting, people and landscape. Her work is held in collections including the Museum of Art and Design New York, the Embroiderer’s Guild UK and Arts Council England   

Cas’ exhibition Painting with Cloth opened at Rochester Art Gallery, Medway and toured to Wales and other venues in the UK. She is also exhibiting Romani Cultural and Arts Company as part of their Gypsy Maker project in 2020 supported by Arts Council Wales.

Her work can be found on www.casholmes.co.uk