John's wife, Astrid, is a textile artist who knits with wools that are coloured with dyes extracted from plants grown in her own garden
Astrid Furnival (b.1940) is a knitter who has combined the cerebral concerns of Concrete and Visual poetry with the aesthetics and principles of the Arts and Craft movement to produce works that exist also to be practical objects (e.g. sweaters, throws, bed covers). She has collaborated artistically with John since 1970. Astrid has worked moreover with the artists Tom Phillips, Ron and Willow King, Richard Loncraine and with the poets Thomas A. Clark, Adrian Mitchell and Jonathan Williams. Astrid has made her own natural dyes for her wools and, disliking the discrimination between the Arts and Crafts, she organised a touring exhibition Afts and Crarts in the 1990s that aimed to fuse the two. Fine workmanship is of prime concern to Astrid. In addition to texts from John, Astrid’s textual material can be drawn from any literary source (e.g., Blake, Lear, Joyce, Beckett) and of course from her own resources. As stated by John, “Astrid avoids any overt display of intellectualism or of the doom-laden. Perhaps the last line of Voltaire’s Candide would best sum up her attitude: ‘We must cultivate our own garden’”.
Hangs and Quilts