A Girl’s Day Out in the East End for Hilda, Nellie and Ida
mixed media • hand and machine stitch with acrylic paint
size 128 x 102 cms
Yesterday I delivered this piece to its new home in the North East of England. I was sad to see it go so I decided to revisit how I made it, however, I am very happy that it has gone to such a good home with new owners who love it so much. It was made in 2012 for one of the 50th Anniversary exhibitions by the 62 Group of Textile Artists ’62@50′ at the Holden Gallery at Manchester School of Art.
This is my Artist Statement for that exhibition.
Exploring displacement using old family photographs, images of distant relatives I never knew, cut into to a modern day environs, Girls Day Out enquires into and questions, the sense of belonging/not belonging whilst referencing the passing of time and the transience of life itself.
Image of Grimsby St E2
3 Sisters walk down the prom in Cleethorpes
Hilda, Nellie and Ida were 3 sisters and Ida, the tall, elegant one on the right was my sister’s mother-in-law. This piece combined the then, the now and alludes to a journey in-between. The street art in the background is by an artist called Stik and was found in Grimsby St London, E2 in 2011. The images above are the original images I combined to make the work and those below are of the work in progress.
The inspiration for my work can come from anywhere and everywhere and it sometimes takes on a more serious note. I turned on the radio and heard her voice and the words I will never forget “This is not my War”. They were the words spoken by a Syrian mother whose children aged 5,10 and 12 had just been killed by mortar fire in a war she did not understand. The sound of her voice will stay with me forever.
Some Things Never Change commemorates those children and the many others like them that have lost their lives, or have been mentally or physically scarred by war. The lives of those who have survived war and atrocity are changed for all time.
My Dad and his siblings Harry and Madge were children of the First World War, born just before and during so called ‘war to end war’. I have used their images to represent the universal child. The concrete pillar in the background is inspired by the concrete architecture of the skate park on the South Bank of the Thames and the graffiti of street artist Stik and is covered with cross stitches representing the kisses those Syrian children will never receive.
Some Things Never Change 2012
I listen to the Radio and hear his Voice again recalls something I heard on Radio 4. A 10 year old boy was talking to the reporter “You can’t imagine what I’ve seen, what my country has seen”. The Universal Child uses an image of my Dad to represent children affected by war worldwide.
The Universal Child
I Listen to the Radio and Hear his Voice.
The Unknown Statistic comes from my research into the First World War during the run up to the centenary in 2014 of the start of the war. A photograph is of some children, unknown to me, but in my husband’s family album was my starting point. I have had this image waiting to be used for many years but it was only when I saw the graffiti in the East End of London I knew how I was going to use it. The children have a poignancy to them. They look as though they are watching someone walking away. I decided to use their images as a way of commemorating all the children left fatherless by the First World War. The exact number of children is unknown as it was not recorded accurately either locally or nationally. I imagined their father was one of the brave Grimsby fishermen whose trawlers went minesweeping the coast with very little protection and little recognition. He walked away and never looked back. It was bad luck for a fisherman to turn around and look back as they walked away to sea. They never saw him again. My own Great Grandfather, Harry Conder died during the first few weeks of World War One when the trawler Fittonia, of which he was skipper, was blown up by a mine in the River Humber. He was survived by a widow and several children. His eldest son Charles Conder died during the last weeks of the war of Spanish Flu, the virus that would be responsible for more than five times as many deaths as the war itself.
I am delighted to say that one of the major pieces from my Stuff and Nonsense exhibition will soon be going to a new home in London although I will be very sorry to see it go. I have a soft spot for this piece as it combines some of my favourite people with one of my favourite places. It was first exhibited in the 62@50 exhibition at the Holden Gallery at Manchester School of Art in 2012.
The 62 Group of Textile Artists, of which I am an exhibiting member, celebrate their 50th anniversary this year. Their largest exhibition of this celebratory year, 62 @50 opens tomorrow at the Holden Gallery in Manchester with the majority of the exhibiting members represented. I have had three pieces selected for the show and am looking forward with anticipation to seeing what other members have produced when I visit the gallery later this week. I am also looking forward to meeting visitors to the exhibition on 2nd and 3rd August when I will be stewarding. Find more information about this exhibition and my work for the show on my website : www.womanwithafish.com
My visit to the Victoria Miro Gallery did not get off to the best of starts. I began by taking a wrong turn down City Road out of Old St tube. Having walked to its end at no 1 the realization suddenly dawned that I was going to have to retrace my steps back to the station and start again. This time going in the opposite direction!
I eventually arrived at my destination a little footsore but with great anticipation. I was not disappointed. The gallery is set in a Victorian building with my destination, a large white cube extension on the roof. The daunting number of steps which have to be climbed to get to the roof extension should not put you off. It’s well worth the climb. On reaching the top there is a beautifully landscaped terrace to cross before arriving at the gallery extension itself which gives you a fantastic view over London’s East End.
The Vanity of Small Differences tapestries by Grayson Perry, which I had made the journey from Grimsby to see, are both powerful and perceptive and the scale is impressive. His use of colour is sublime. I loved the humour within pieces which explore taste and class. There are six of them in total displayed in this modestly sized gallery along with five of Grayson Perry’s ceramic pots as a bonus. As I perused the work I found myself wondering what it would actually cost to produce a 4 metre x 2 metre tapestry !
Based on Hogarth’s 18th-century narrative paintingsRakes Progress whichtell the tale of Tom Rakewell, as he rises from working-class obscurity to greatness – and then falls again, the images are full of references to brands, to celebrity,and to religious paintings. Perry’s hero is Tim Rakewell , born to a working class family, he goes to University, and journeying up through the Middle classes he ends up as a multimillionaire who comes to a tragic end in a car crash.Looking at my watch I was amazed to find that an exhibition with only eleven pieces of work in it had kept my attention for over ninety minutes.Well worth a visit.