A 70-year-old textile artist from Edgware is hosting a new exhibition in Temple Fortune.

Carole Smollan, who moved from South Africa 20 years ago, will be exhibiting in Equal until July 2. It is a charity shop opened by Kisharon towards the end of last year.

I spoke to Carole to find out more about her…

What’s your earliest memory of painting or drawing?

My earliest connection to fabric and textiles came from growing up in my grandfather’s tailoring room. His old Lithuanian sewing machines lived in my bedroom and I taught myself to use them at a young age. My first memory of creativity was inviting friends to lunch when I was four and colouring the mash potato green. When I was asked why, I said I didn’t ever want to be boring!

I don’t believe the process of creativity is a talent I believe it is a learned process and I have written a books for art teachers on teaching art to children, such as Colour Theory for Kids and Art Lessons for Art Teachers. I have eight grandchildren who have been going to the museums and galleries with me since they were three and all paint and draw.

Describe your artistic style

I have learnt over the years to take great cognisance of shape, colour and form, and store these images in my collective unconscious. I’m particularly conscious of nature and the perfect mix of tones we find, the plethora of shapes and design that nature provides.

Having said this, as I getting older I use a note box next to my bed to keep all the images of pictures and ideas and that I find and I tear words and shapes out of the newspapers or magazines - much to my husband’s aggravation. Before I go to sleep at night I look through my note box and gear myself for going into my studio first thing in the morning before I allow all the social media to distract me.

My work encompasses painting, dyeing, and then finally embossing with stitches and gold leaf. I work as an abstract expressionist and am greatly influenced by Matisse and Picasso. I practise “hiddur mitzvah” which means commanding us to beautify the Judaic commandments rather than from a deeply religious perspective Judaism holds such a fascinating endless amount to stories, images and ideas to work from. I enjoy learning and researching them.

Tell me about this exhibit

This latest exhibition has work which has grown out of a new online course I am doing from the USA entitled Creative Strength Training, a course teaching one to examine the essence of creativity in one’s own development.

On my arrival in England 20 years ago I began to make personal chuppot, wedding canopies for brides, to keep as heirlooms and hand from generation to generation. My love of lace and wedding dresses are often incorporated in my paintings and old documents and I have found familial objects fascinate me.

I will also be showing miniature torah mantles from my New York museum exhibition. These show family documents and images of value to the relevant people using the mantle instead of the usual “in memory of” and their names.

Find out more about Carole at carolesmollanfiberartstudio.com