Notes from the Studio

The weeks have flown by since my new year post back in January, I’ve been busy teaching, working on my pieces for Whitby Museum and started a Body Image and Mind project with Leeds Libraries.

I’ve not had as much time in the studio as I would have liked but it’s been inspiring to get back to my teaching, working with The Tetley on their After School Club and Tetley Teens programme and the start of a new term with Heydays at The West Yorkshire Playhouse.

Back in the studio I’ve been sampling for new workshops in 2018/19 and creating new pieces for my exhibition at Whitby Museum in the autumn.

The narwhal skeleton has been my focus for a few weeks now and I’ve started to experiment with 3D elements, making bones from a variety of wool and cotton fabrics. These hand stitched elements will sit alongside the 2D drawings I have been creating with embroidery.

Narwhal Bones
Narwhal Bones

Archive & Other Stories will share stories about my life through objects from the museum collection and an image that keeps coming back to me is a Frank Meadow Sutcliffe portrait of Henry Freeman.

On 9th February 1861 during a great storm the lifeboat men carried out five launches rescuing the crews from five vessels. Although he had not been one of the lifeboat crew before, Henry took part in all of the rescues that day. On that fifth launch the lifeboat overturned and Henry was the sole survivor…

My grandma kept a portrait of Henry on her dressing table, nestled between the bottles of perfume, old stockings and ornaments. This portrait is still such a vivid memory so I wanted to include it in the exhibition. I was very kindly given permission to recreate the image in stitch by the Sutcliffe Gallery.

Embroidered Portrait in Progress
Embroidered Portrait in Progress

Whitby and the Yorkshire Coastline have also played a huge part of my adult life. My husband and I holiday in Whitby every year and spend hours walking along the beach taking photographs and collecting objects. Our fossil hunting trips echo the wonderful fossil collection at the museum so I have started working on some ammonite inspired pieces.

Ammonite Samples
Ammonite Samples

Alongside my work for Archive & Other Stories I have been working with Leeds Libraries on their Body Image & Mind project.

Body Image and Mind is a project that explores the issue of body image and the impact that has on people’s self-confidence, mental health and well-being. The main elements of our project are about Public engagement and collaboration, as these are defining characteristics of the Engaging Libraries scheme. Through research and creative art activities and workshops we will inspire discussion and debate. The “Engaging Libraries” programme gives libraries the opportunity to engage with the public on a range of complex health and well-being issues, providing a safe space for debate, discussion, interaction and learning.

I have explored mental health and body image through my own work and working alongside other artists and library staff has been a great opportunity to engage with other people through making.

Instagram Picture from the Project Launch
Instagram Picture from the Project Launch

As the project continues I will be sharing images on social media and through my blog.