k6

This commission was the creation of a series of machine and hand embroidered  advert ‘calling cards’ for some of the last remaining red telephone boxes in Birmingham, England. The city centre’s K6 red phone boxes became the unusual gallery space for my work and six other artists, whose work ranged from a pin hole camera, graffiti knit bombing and forum phone calls.  The exhibition took place in March 2009 and was organised by independent curator Anne Forgan and was named after the urban myth for the amount of oxygen in a phone booth. The phone boxes were still in use for the general public during the...

home maker

I got a First Class Honours degree! My final degree show was an installation called ‘Home Maker’ and was a collection of textile artefacts, found sound and projected emailed text. The textile pieces are a series of hand made door stops which are wrapped house bricks.  The cloth that covers the bricks is linen, on which I’ve then digitally printed and hand and machined stitched personal email stories or memories I’ve received from various respondents who wrote and told me about an object that helped make their house a  ‘home’.  I’ve collated a fabulous range of stories which include a favourite tablespoon that measures out just the right amount of flour for cakes and has the perfect ‘slurp’ depth!… a box of home made Christmas decorations that are brought out every Christmas and then when the festivities are over for another year, the baubles and home made ornaments are packed away in the same box with a note written on top which says ‘not to be opened until Christmas (Eve) 1999, 2000, 2001’ and so on….the box and ritual are special because it was on the couple’s first Christmas Eve in their new house, that the husband proposed and they’re still going strong after 20 years… another story is about a frying pan that is very old and worn and held together with gaffer tape (duck tape) but comes out for special Sunday breakfasts when all the grown up children return from their various colleges and universities and Mum cooks a huge breakfast, safe in the knowledge that her kids are now at home, all at the table waiting for her and of course the breakfast…...

peg bag

I’ve completed a peg bag. The peg bag holds special memories for me because as a child this was the first piece I’d sewn and completed with my Grandmother teaching me. The bag is made by taking a length of fabric, folded twice and sewn up the sides and inserting a hanger with its hook coming out of a small hole in the top. I recently made my Mum a new bag but used fabrics found in my Grandmother’s attic as the house was being cleared after she had died. Although the bag is a pretty mundane object it actually holds a lot of significance as sewing and doing the washing seem to be a major part of my life in amongst everything else. So I took this idea of ‘can you remember a peg bag in your household’ and opened it up for wider discussion, memories and stories. I didn’t really expect much on this seemingly dull idea but I was overwhelmed by the response I got back. Lots of stories about the peg bag being the first ever sewing project at home with their mother or grandmother teaching or undertaken as a school project. Many still recall the details of the stitching, the fabric used and even some lettering spelling out phrases such as ‘I Hate Wash Days’ and ‘MY PEG BAG’ etc. So I constructed a new bag but included lots of the stories that were sent in as the text on the inner and outer fabric. I also found a book “The Household Book of Hints and Wrinkles” that explained how to launder and dry...

welcome from Julia O’Connell

Hi and thanks for dropping in. My area of practice is in textiles, I’m interested in deconstructing and reconstructing garments, like old or found clothes. I’ve included some photos of my early work. These pieces were made after I’d emailed people to ask them about their most favourite or hated garments from their past. From the recollections I received, I then reinterpreted the stories into new textile artefacts, using hand and machine stitch. Its facinating to hear about someone’s favourite dress or their mother’s old leather gloves etc. I also love the way in which they recount the memory and the choice of words used. I’m always on the look out for new projects so if you have a memory of a particular garment whether it belonged to you or another then I’d love it if you would share that here. Try and describe the piece, the colour and texture if you can and things like the smell even! I always remember the inside of my Mum’s bag, it smelled of her favourite perfume Intimate, by Yardley I think, and it’s scent had infused the lining of the bag. Tell me why you liked/or hated the garment, perhaps there was something that happened when you wore it, or a particular event etc. Whatever memory you have I look forward to your stories. And if you just want to comment on my work, then please leave me a...