For as long as I can remember I have been working with fabric and thread. These skills were passed down by my paternal grandmother who didn’t always appreciate my efforts, especially when I deconstructed my clothes and soft furnishings to see how they were made.
Things have changed since those early days but I still love to explore and experiment with textiles. I use them to tell stories about my life, produce commission pieces for other artists and teach other people the skills that I learned as a child. My work combines traditional techniques with digital embroidery and sculptural elements, transforming them into textile drawings and objects.
It’s been a busy few weeks in the studio, creating samples and finished pieces for The Grief Series and preparing to exhibit at Saltaire Arts Trail this weekend. After spending two years planning and coordinating Kirkstall Art Trail, it’s been an interesting change of pace to take part in an art trail.
I’m exhibiting my work inspired by the archive at Sunny Bank Mills at location two on the Arts Trail map. The Art Rooms is a great venue near to Salt’s Mill and Tourist Information on Victoria Road. I’ll be exhibiting with resident Artist Jackie Al- Sammaraie, Dan Booth, Sarah Hardy-Box, Marianthi Lainas, Amelia Phythian and Cait Walker.
You can pick up a copy of the guide for the bargain price of £1.00 from lots of venues around Saltaire. over the Arts Trail weekend.
I’ve been creating some new pieces to sell and cataloguing my samples for visitors to look through over the weekend. I will also be selling tote bags inspired by the archive.
I’m looking forward to meeting my fellow artists and chatting all things textile with visitors to the event. If you’re planning a visit to Saltaire come and say hello.
I’ve been updating my CV recently after some projects ended and its been four years since I started working with Ellie Harrison on The Grief Series. With part six underway I wanted to share my progress.
Where do our memories of the dead live? In sacred spaces like gravestones, or aisle 22 of Tescos? On someone’s Facebook page or Twitter feed? Ellie Harrison is on a month-long journey to find out.
Travelling between sites of personal remembrance, Ellie will be stopping at arts centres, museums, beer gardens and maybe even the occasional service station. You are invited to embark on your own journey to spend some time reflecting. Add your memories to our audio archive or embroidered map, have a cuppa and spend some time exploring a caravan full of hidden treasures. The caravan is free and open to people of all ages.
The caravan is being repaired and refurbished at Open Source Arts, a fantastic creative project space in Kirkstall. It seems like such a long time ago since we bought the caravan and she’s looking very different now.
It was wonderful to visit the caravan last Friday and see how the refurbishment is going. The team have worked so hard on the design and build for the caravan and it was great to start discussing the maps and other textile elements for the project.
I’ve also been working on a piece about my grandma for the space which will fit inside one of the drawers. It’s based on the project Archive which I began a few years ago.
My largest commission for the caravan is a series of embroidered maps which show the different places along the journey. Myself, Bethany and Ellie are all fascinated by old Ordnance Survey maps. It was great to discuss our ideas for each individual map and finalise some creative decisions.
To follow the progress of the project you can follow The Grief Series on Twitter and Instagram. You can also follow me on social media, links in the sidebar.
My life has become a little less hectic over the past few weeks so it’s given me the opportunity to focus on my pieces for Whitby Museum. This has coincided with the latest issue of Be Creative with Workbox magazine which features my article about the museum and my research. You can pick up a copy through their website or view my article here.
In March I visited the museum to take measurements and look at my work in the space, this great tip was given to me by Serena Partridge and it’s proved to be invaluable as some of my colours don’t work in the room.
Back in the studio I’ve been taking the time to reflect on the notes I took on my museum visits last year. We often forget to look back at our notes and sketches but I’ve found this a great way to re-energise myself and start making new pieces.
I’ve also been looking at the samples I made at the start of this year and seeing how I can move forward with new work. It’s important to be critical when looking at your work so that you can make changes and create better pieces.
I’ve been exploring different mixed media techniques which is a bit of a throwback to my uni days. I’d forgotten how much fun stitching with paper can be and I’m enjoying working through these ideas.
You can follow my progress through social media, links in the sidebar.
It’s been a busy schedule this month, I’ve been teaching and having meetings about my various projects which has taken up most of my time.
Saturday gave me the chance to visit Whitby for the first time this year. The trip was mostly for pleasure but I was keen to visit Whitby Museum to review my exhibition space.
Converse Selfie with Embroidery
I took gallery measurements and reviewed my pieces of embroidery to see how the colours will work in the space. It was a valuable trip as a few of the colours didn’t look great.
I’d forgotten how much I needed a break so wandering around the town and meeting friends for tea and cake was wonderful.
Yesterday I visited London for the first time in years with Linda Boyles from Arts and Minds Network. We attended a discussion in the House of Lords. Creative health: The arts for health and wellbeing.
It was a great opportunity to talk about my experience of creativity and it’s benefits. I also shared my recent projects and how we can raise awareness of the way creativity can provide support for people living with a mental health problem.
My teaching finishes this week so I’m hoping to spend more time in the studio creating work for my exhibitions.
To find out more you can follow me on social media, links in the side bar.
I’ve been continuing my research in the Archive at Sunny Bank Mills this week, it never feels like work visiting this amazing space. After my sampling sessions in the studio I’ve been focusing on the carbon books which contain copies of letters and orders from the mill.
I first saw these books when Rachel the archivist was sorting through one of the shelves. I was immediately drawn to the transparent pages, red lines and typography. They have also translated really beautifully into designs using the 6D software. The colour layers are easy to breakdown and reveal ghostly images of the text.
I spent my session looking back through the books to find standout pieces of text and images that will translate well into stitched pieces.
I’m looking forward to getting these converted and working into them with hand stitch. You can see the finished pieces at Saltaire Arts Trail on the 5th, 6th and 7th of May. I’ll be posting my venue as soon as it’s confirmed.
I’ve been busy in the studio for the last couple weeks, fitting in sampling sessions around my teaching. The bad weather gave me the chance to spend even more time researching and making new designs using the 6D software.
I’ve been looking back at samples from Fragments: An Archive, a group exhibition at Sunny Bank Mills in 2017 as well as my drawings and images from my last visit to the archive.
Inspired by my Heydays class at The West Yorkshire Playhouse, I’ve been experimenting with different fabrics and backgrounds for my stitched designs. I found some great hand felted fabrics that I would like to replicate and stitch into.
I’ve used Tyvek fabric in previous work for Time & Tide where I painted, stitched and collaged this non woven textile to add texture to a stitched design. Tyvek is used by museums and galleries to wrap and label their collections. with this in mind I wanted to make some labels which I could stitch into and distort.
Alongside my pieces for Saltaire Art Trail in May, I’ve been continuing my work for Archive & Other Stories which opens in September this year at Whitby Museum.
Inspired by a commission from Love Arts in 2017, I’ve been stitching the journey from my childhood home in Sherburn in Elmet to Whitby. This route has been spreading across the studio which is usually the case when I’m working on multiple projects!
I’ve also been working on a piece that tells the story of my last family holiday in 1995. Looking at the dolls from the Whitby Museum collection I have started to sample some ideas.
I’ve discovered that it’s hard to get feedback from my husband and friends as they are all scared of dolls! I’m really happy with the pieces I’ve made so far which incorporate doll pieces from a Scarborough antique shop.
You can see more of my work in progress on social media, links in the sidebar.
It’s been a long time since my last visit to the Archive at Sunny Bank Mills. Last year I had some work based on my research exhibited in the Mill as part of Weave / / Fragments, a group exhibition exploring the buildings, history and processes of the Mill.
I’ll be revisiting this collection of work and creating a series of new pieces to exhibit at Saltaire Arts Trail in May. I’m looking forward to exhibiting in their open houses and giving people a chance to see my work up close.
Yesterday I visited the Archive to take some more photographs and make notes about my ideas. I was great to catch up with archivist Rachel and immerse myself in the space, exploring new sections and doing some sketching.
One of my New Year Challenges was to do more drawing so I’ve been taking little notebooks with me on research visits. It was great to do some sketching in the Archive and get some ideas and words noted down that I can look back to in the studio.
I also took my camera to record some details that I can then export into the 6D software and create some new designs. This visit I decided to focus on the different types of book housed in the Archive. They are so fascinating and tell the history of book binding techniques as well as the cloth production at the Mill.
The folds of paper and fabric in the Range books open up ideas for sculptural pieces and creating my own artists books. I’ve done some basic book binding techniques that I would like to push further. It would also be great to make some books to sell at the Arts Trail.
I’ll be updating my social media (links in sidebar) with work in progress images as I continue my research and sampling. I’ve also booked another session at the Archive so I can do some more sketching.
You can visit the Archive at Sunny Bank Mills in Farsley, Leeds at their open days on the first Wednesday of the Month 10am to 12pm or by appointment by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 0113 2563239.