Last week I gave a talk and taught a 2 Day self-portrait workshop in Cork for Cork Textiles network. They are a talented and diverse group spanning many different textile disciplines. Here you can see a selection of the work produced at the workshop. The finished portraits will be shown at the Knitting & Stitching shows next year (2018) on the Cork Textiles Network stand and I’m itching to see the final results. All portraits will be A3 in size.
This is Me 2017
first shown at Festival of Quilts 2017 in the Through Our Hands gallery ‘A Portrait’
Individuality, distinctiveness, uniqueness form our identity; who or what we are. This series of self-portraits was inspired by the humankind’s urge to categorise. Whatever you think you see in these images it is still me.
Visual decoration or types of clothing may suggest class, culture, creed, religion or ethnicity. The outer shell and its various wrappings; skin, clothing, accessories, may change and alter appearance as they do. The viewer is asked to form their own opinion of who I really am. The person portrayed whose the inner soul remains the same throughout is me.
Faith, Hope & Fate commissioned artist for ‘Unknown People’
I am delighted to be showing my work in ‘Making Space’ an exhibition by the 62 Group of Textile Artists. The exhibition at Macclesfield Silk Museum runs until 3 September 2016.
63 is a self-portrait which, when complete, will be made up of 63 images, one for each year of my life so far. So why put myself through all this work, and, to be perfectly honest, the angst of self examination, a replaying of all the ups and downs of life?
Well, there were several reasons, but the main one was that I was asked by Alf Ludlam, the curator of Shifting Images an exhibition of self-portraits at the Muriel Barker Gallery at Grimsby’s Fishing Heritage Centre, to produce something other than a straight forward self-portrait and this was the idea I came up with. I also thought it would benefit me personally because I would be working to a deadline which, in itself, would force me to look at the way I work and help me find a simplification of my mark-making.
Although I work in mixed media I consider myself primarily an embroiderer, more specifically a hand embroiderer and because I find hand stitching a therapeutic process, I have a tendency to overstitch. I’m hoping that, in this piece, the viewer will find that my stitching have been given more breathing space and as a result more status. My stitch vocabulary is considered and limited. I don’t use many different types of stitches and but I try to get the most out of those stitches by using them in an original way. I was once given some advice by Constance Howard, when I was studying at Goldsmith’s College in London who said that “you don’t need to know a vast array of stitches but you need to know how use the ones you do know well” so that’s what I try to do.
I don’t really look at the work of other embroiderers in an inquisitorial way. This is deliberate, an attempt to keep my own work fresh. One of the ways I do this is by mixing different colours and different weights of threads in the needle leaving the eye to mix the colour. You can read about my favourite stitches here.
I have deliberately tried to be sparing with my stitching of the faces in this piece to produce a more illustrative style. Mood, quality, expression, character can all be changed by the position of each stitch and a lot of drawing and re-drawing, stitching, unpicking and restitching has been done before moving on.
I am a ‘glass half full’ sort of person but the process of making this piece has, so far, and I am only just over half way there, been an convergence of mixed emotion. The process has, at times, evoked difficult and even desperately unhappy emotions, the reliving of all that teenage angst, hurt, heartbreak, and loss, the business problems and burglaries, but alongside that the uplifting and happy memories of friends and family and an optimism for the future.
Overall it is proving to be a quite cathartic process.
63 will be shown as a ‘work in progress’ in Shifting Images from 8 September 2015 to 6 March 2016. – contemporary self portraiture
Working in partnership with Abbey Walk Gallery the Muriel Barker Gallery at the Grimsby Fishing Heritage Centre will host an Exhibition of of self – portraiture by Lincolnshire Artists past and present.
The opening of the 62 Group Ebb & Flow exhibition is getting closer but the project itself has been almost two years in the planning.
It started with an invitation from Grimsby Minster to show our work in the Minster which is a busy and vibrant resource for the people of North East Lincolnshire, an “architectural gem” tracing its history on this site for more than 900 years. I soon realised, however, that because we are such a large group of very diverse artists that there would not be enough suitable hanging space and display for smaller 3D work in the Minster for all of our work to be shown.
A second venue was sort and we were offered the upper floor, the mezzanine, of the Muriel Barker Gallery at the Fishing Heritage Centre in Grimsby. The Grimsby Fishing Heritage Centre was purpose built and opened in 1991. Its permanent exhibition tells the story of the Grimsby Fishing Industry in its heyday in the1950s. The white-walled space at the Fishing Heritage Centre contrasts nicely with the grandeur of the Minster.
The Ross Tiger, GY398, is an ex-working 1950’s trawler and the largest item in the heritage collections. Lucy Brown, one of our exhibiting members has made site specific work to be shown on board the Tiger. The image left shows Lucy’s ‘sea bags’ which will be installed around the living quarters on the Tiger. Once the venues were in place we worked on the detail of the project and funding bid to Arts Council England by Grimsby Minster which was successful. This enabled us to work with freelance writer and curator, June Hill who has been on hand to advise the group throughout the project and who will be opening the exhibition on 13th September. It also helped the group to put together a full education programme and to produce a full colour catalogue with professional photography which will be on sale at both venues.
Details of our education programme can be found here. Many of our members visited Grimsby in February when we were given a tour of both venues and of the museum collections store. All of our exhibitions are selected by a selection panel of 5. The panel is different for each exhibition and can include a representative from the venue. The selection process has now been completed and 37 pieces of work were selected for the exhibition made by 28 artists.
This week we also completed the photography for the catalogue which is now in the design stages. The catalogue will be on sale at both venues.
The photographer for the majority of the pieces is David Ramkalawon who came to Grimsby from London for 2 days to photograph work at both venues.
The snap left shows David photographing work in Grimsby Minster.
Next week the hanging process begins. Watch this space for more ‘behind the scenes’ glimpses of Ebb & Flow.
A couple of weeks ago I travelled to Durham to deliver a figurative weekend workshop to the very friendly and welcoming ‘Embroidery 15’ group. Many of the group had never worked figuratively before so I was pleasantly surprised by the resulting work. The workshop started with my presentation about the way different textile artists use the figurative image and by looking at my own handling collection which comprises of lots of small samples of different techniques that can be used for figurative textile work. We continued by experimenting with composition in collage and finally started to work with fabric and thread, mixing hand and machine stitch with appliqué and paint.
Here is a selection of the student’s work that was produced over the weekend.
textileartist.org is a great resource for textile artists, textile enthusiasts, students and educators.
Here are just a few of my favourite articles and interviews.
Interesting interviews on textileartist.org from
and many others including myself.