Friday, 19 May 2017

Victoria Hall, Saltaire

I love Saltaire!  The fabulous Salt's Mill with its art and bookshops, Hockney pictures and sensational cafe.  Each year the UNESCO World Heritage site hosts an Art Trail in which art from new and established artists is displayed around the village, in houses, churches and other venues.

This year there was an open call for people to create postcards for display in the United Reformed Church.  The postcards will be sold for £5 each for the benefit of the Cellar Trust, a local charity which specialises in helping people recover from mental health illness.

I so enjoyed making my architecture pictures that I decided to recreate Saltaire's Victoria Hall in the same style.  Why not pop along and see if you can spot it?  The exhibition and Arts Trail is on from 27-29th May 2017.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Hidden Lives (part II)

Another month, another book - this time the subject is lace.  Five years ago, I researched the lives of Victorian social reformers, Josephine Butler, Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon and Octavia Hill for an exhibition inspired by lace from the Gawthorpe Textiles collection.  This is a reproduction of the same piece.

It is a lady's cuff: machine embroidered net decorated with hand-made paper couronnes.  Hand cuffs to bind Victorian women, financially to their husbands, intellectually to the expectations of society and physically by a well-defined sense of duty.  With limited means of expression, I imagined a Victorian woman stitching I dream of escape and set me free, unobtrusively working the words into the decoration.  The key motif is reminiscent of a chaterlaine worn by a house-keeper (the only suitable job for a woman).  The paper couronnes are fashioned from old books, alluding to the power of the written word to change the status quo.

Just one stitch

I've been teaching my Haworth workshop class about the joy of using just one stitch.  This Japanese style cherry tree has been completed using Sorbello Stitch, an unusual knotted stitch in the shape of a square.  By varying the weight and nature of the yarn, you can create beautiful textures.  Most of the stitching was done using a viscose pearle yarn.  It was horrible to work with (twisting mercilessly into huge gnarls) but the resulting stitches look so like cherry blossom I had to keep going.