Author Archives: womanwithafish

About womanwithafish

Sue Stone is a UK based textile artist who is best known for textural, figurative compositions that often feature a fish. “The fish is a symbol of my Grimsby heritage.  It represents who I am and reminds me where I came from” Sue's inspiration is drawn from the seen, the heard and the experienced; personal relationships, life observations and a pride in her heritage. Her work has an emphasis on hand embroidery mixed with machine stitch and paint. Sue gives talks and delivers workshops throughout the UK and has recently taught in France and Canada and online for Textileartist.org  which is run by her two sons Joe and Sam. Sue studied Embroidery at Goldsmiths College in London. She is an exhibiting member of the 62 Group of Textile Artists (Chair 2013 to 2018) and a Fellow of the Society of Designer Craftsmen  and a member of SEW

2 new works

In Another Life 2021

Size 48.5 x 59 cms

Hand and machine stitch with applied fabrics

In Another Life 2021 continues a Grimsby Girl’s world tour with a stopover in Madrid.

Born in 1913 she was not able to travel during her lifetime and had very few opportunities in life to pursue her artistic and musical interests. She left school aged 13 and was apprenticed to a tailor. It was a hard life with no recognition of her skill as a seamstress. She loved singing and was a talented contralto. Here in another life, alongside her best friend she travels to Madrid to study music, dance and theatre.

Another Time, Another Place 2021

Size: 48.5 x 59 cms

Hand and machine stitch with applied fabrics.

Born in a time when women had no right to vote and many left school at 13 or 14 years old. Ordinary women without opportunities to work after marriage or to travel abroad. Combining images of unknown people from the family album with images from the Alcázar Real in Seville, Spain; symbols of heritage combine with memories to make the composition and bring together an imagined journey to another time and place.

Imagined journeys: new work in progress August 2021

Hand and machine stitch with applied fabrics.

Combining images of unknown people from the family album with images from the Alcázar Real in Seville, Spain; symbols of heritage combine with memories to make the composition and bring together an imagined journey to another time and place.

There’s still a fair way to go but it seems to be coming together!

Made in Grimsby • The documenting of a small lifestyle clothing brand called Anywear. 1975 • in an Edwardian shop premises, womenswear was designed & made in Grimsby from cloth that travelled from far and wide. During the lifespan of the business the need to become more commercial had replaced the ‘one off’ designs. By 2002 the designer had had enough of designing other people’s clothes and Anywear closed its doors.

Materials :linen and recycled clothing fabrics, cotton and linen threads

Techniques: hand and machine stitch, appliqué, piecing, drawing

Size: 139 x 87.5 x 2.5 cms

Photos by Pitcher Design

New Article on Textileartist.org

I’m really excited to be teaching again for TextileArtist.org Stitch Club next week. It’s a textile story telling workshop and this week they have published a new article about my New York travel story pieces. Check it out here.

Girls in a Doorway

a new iPad drawing for work to be made in 2021.

Which Way Now? (below) aka A Self Portrait in Turmoil is perhaps an indication of my frame of mind during lockdown.

size:132 x 59 cms

mixed media

The Girls who made the Suits version 2 (below) is an experiment in texture and pattern

3 new self portraits (below) for the ongoing self portraits now numbering 67. 2 are replacements for portraits that have gone to new homes numbers 26 and 27 and a new one number 67.

Boxing Day with Grandad – iPad drawing – commission for Grimsby Fishing Heritage Centre GFHC in a Box project 2020

A Book Before Bedtime (below) was a commission for the Grimsby Fishing heritage Centre  – GFHC in a Box project supported by Arts council England

Made in 2020

Size: 54.5 x 40 cms

Materials: Acrylic gouache, pencil crayon, cotton and wool threads on cotton calico  

Techniques: Hand embroidery, painting 

A domestic scene from the 1950s when every night my Mum would read me a book at bedtime. We would sit on the settee with me ready for bed in my pyjamas. Our 1950s living room had heavy, dark utility furniture, a patterned carpet, patterned cushions, antimacassars on the settee, and faded patterned wallpaper with plaster ducks flying across the wall. Always a handbag, letters to post, and a favourite photo of my older sister on the side board and always a pair of shoes underneath the sideboard. The wireless set (radio) has a particular significance in capturing the atmosphere of the times. It was via the wireless that we would hear the news, both good and bad, of triumph and of loss. On the wall a picture of my Dad, Fred Stone working on the old pontoon on Grimsby docks in the 1950s with his brother, my Uncle Harry.

I am very proud of my Grimsby heritage and the close ties my family had with the Grimsby fishing industry in the 1950s is often reflected in the artwork I make. I was born in 1952 and as a child I spent a lot of time ‘down dock’ with my Dad, a Grimsby fish merchant. ‘Down Dock’ was a community within a community.

The passing on of knowledge has always been an important part of my artistic practice so when the chance to be involved with this project arose I was honoured to be able to take the opportunity to revisit my roots and make a piece of work for the Fishing Heritage Centre Collection and I welcome the chance for my work to reach a new audience through the loans boxes.

This Life Matters (below)

Work size w 190 cms x 35 cms

Portrait sizes 2 x 17 x 21 cms, 2 x 18.5 x 23.5 cms, 3 x 21 x 26 cms

Recycled linen clothing fabrics, cotton cambric, acrylic film, stranded cotton threads, cotton machine threads, industrial felt mat

Hand stitch, machine stitch, appliqué

‘This Life Matters’ is a series of 7 small portraits which focus on the inequality spotlighted by the Covid 19 pandemic. Each representative of the global community wears the same white t shirt with a slogan ‘This Life Matters’, a nod to Katherine Hamnett’s ‘Choose Life’ slogan t-shirts of the 1980s, Each has their own word embroidered at their side which indicates their circumstances or mindset: Displaced, disenfranchised, disconsolate, dispossessed, dispirited, disabled, and lastly disappearing. Each life is as important as the next. 

A series of new teaching samples (Below) made in 2020

Narrative, Strip Weaving & Portrait – hand stitch & mixed media

Portrait of Anne Morrell (below)

hand stitch 26 x 30 cms

A commissioned work to accompany the article Roots in Two continents by Brinda Gill for Issue 95 (July /August) of Selvedge magazine

Brooklyn: Recollection, Return and Repartee (below)

Completed January 2020

Materials: linen & cotton fabrics, cotton & linen threads, acrylic paint

Size 100 x 77 x 2 cms

Techniques: hand stitch, machine stitch, appliqué, painting

Part of a series of work called From Grimsby* to Greenpoint & Beyond this piece Brooklyn: Recollection, Return, and Repartee recounts the artist’s memories of return visit to Brooklyn in March 2019. The viewer is taken on a journey during which flashbacks and glimpses of everyday life, are encapsulated in the ‘mind’s eye’ of the artist; attempting to capture of the essence of a specific New York borough and recalling the brogue of Brooklyn in the form of sights, experiences and written word. 

Meandering lines plot our paths and the conversations twist and turn; from small talk on the subway to bantering with tall statues in Banker St, taking in gibberish and graffiti in Greenpoint, a powwow at Prospect Park, books at the Brooklyn public library and the buzz of Brooklyn Museum on the way. 

The references in this piece include a homage to the street artist ESPO aka Stephen Powers & artist Deborah Kass 

*Grimsby is the artist’s hometown in the UK.

Which Way Now? 2020 mixed media

Which Way Now?

Detail of ‘Which Way Now?’ 132 x 59 cms

‘Which Way Now?’ aka ‘A Self Portrait in Turmoil’ is perhaps an indication of my frame of mind during lockdown.

At first I couldn’t make any work at all and then I became a little obsessed with ideas that I had to get out of my system whatever the result.

I have worked in my studio most days on both large and smaller work and my larger work seems to have become more free and experimental.

Sue Stone teaching sample

Textileartist.org Stitch Club

I recently taught an online workshop called ‘ The Power of 3’ for the Textileartist.org Stitch Club.

This workshop explores the power of positive limitations ; as a design tool, to create colour schemes, or to audition fabrics and threads for your next piece of work. Use fabric strip weaving and hand stitching to embrace the power of 3 as a starting point; 3 different coloured fabrics, 3 different coloured threads, and 3 stitches.

This simple exercise provides easy way to get rid of the blank page and give a ‘quick start’ to a piece of work. Work with the limitations to achieve a cohesive result and use the grid made by the strip weaving to add pattern, texture or even include a simple line drawing.

The members of Stitch Club produced some amazing work. Here’s a small selection.

This Life matters - a series of 7 portraits

This Life Matters

‘This Life Matters’ is a series of 7 small portraits which focus on the inequalities spotlighted by the Covid 19 pandemic. Each representative of the global community wears the same white t shirt with a slogan ‘This Life Matters’, a nod to Katherine Hamnett’s ‘Choose Life’ slogan t-shirts of the 1980s, Each has their own word embroidered at their side which indicates their circumstances or mindset: Displaced, disenfranchised, disconsolate, dispossessed, dispirited, disabled, and lastly disappearing. Each life is as important as the next. 

Reference Shakespeare ; 7 ages of man.

detail of portrait of Anne Morrell

Featured in Selvedge Magazine

I am delighted that my stitched illustration of textile artist Anne Morrell will be featured alongside an article entitled ROOTS IN TWO CONTINENTS by Brinda Gill who dives into Anne Morrell’s textile life.

Issue 95 (July /August) of Selvedge magazine will be published on the 15th of June. This issue will be available in print and digital formats from the Selvedge website but will not be available as usual at galleries and the newsstand. It is available for pre-order now #selvedgemagazine

Portrait of Anne Morrell by Sue Stone 2020