World War One – Embroidered Postcards

In 2013 I began a commission with Theatre Absolute The project is called 100 and is a cross arts project for the approaching World War One centenary. There are 4 elements to the project, a short film, two new plays and a textile response by myself. I looked at the embroidered postcards that were sent from the Front. Many were initally hand embriodered by French and Belgium women and sold to troops but gradually as the popularity of these increased they were made by machine in factories. There were millions made and I think the scale of production in making these cards that then held precious and personal messages to loved ones fascinated me. I have gradually purchased a few. I chose a couple of motifs from the cards and set about interpreting the designs, learning the flow of stitches and their patterning as I progressed. I stitched a motif 24 times onto 3 organdie screens. It was a way to reconnect back to the hand from the industrial machines. It takes incredible precision to try and stitch the same motif by hand again and again and I was struck by the psychological and physical changes within me as I stitched the work. I recorded the time it took me to stitch each one to see if I could get quicker as I repeated the design. My body began to tense and twist as I rushed to finish quicker against a previous recorded time. During the premiere in October of the initial commissions at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum in Coventry, I displayed the completed screens. Viewers were...

a-n Re:view Bursary March 2013

Delighted to say that I am a recipient of the latest round of a-n Re:view Bursaries. I will be using the bursary for critique and advice from peers and organisations about my practice and future professional development. I will post updates as my review period progresses and this I hope will suport others as they reflect on their own practice and development. More details to...

Godiva Awoke!

Its been a hectic few weeks but the Godiva Awakes carnival and celebrations at the end of July in Coventry were amazing. We trundled the huge tailors dummy with the Coat down the streets into Coventry’s Broadgate and offered the coat to Godiva – it was a nervewracking experience but the crowds were fantastic and appreciated the coat and the work of all the tailors. We were part of the carnival procession around the city that afternoon and it was wonderful to sit back and enjoy the moment after all the hard work over the years. The following days Godiva battled through heavy winds and rain and gradually made her way down to London powered by a 100 cyclists finally ending up at Waltham Town Hall. It was a surreal experience seeing this huge puppet and her entourage coming through the gates of the town hall! During the first week of September the coat has been in exhibition at Westminster Hall as part of Arts in Parliament for London 2012. We sat and stitched tailors tacks on the first day and it was amazing to have visitors from all over the world add their stitch and talk about their sewing or non-sewing skills. As in Coventry, people were genuinely moved that they could participate and add a stitch – after all the very many new experiences making this coat, I think this has been one of the absolute highlights – a simple gesture of an invitation to stitch and people responding so postively. All images by Andrew Moore except Godiva by the clock – I have tried to find...

ECB Site Visit 20.7.11

Great day on site – the build is beginning to take shape now and what was just a myriad of concreted areas are now resembling rooms, walls and open spaces. As well as taking photos I also took a mini sewing kit with me and decided to set a rule and find bits on site to stitch…I was in a space and looked on the floor and saw all these painted flakes that had come off a temporary roofing panel…so I sat quietly for a few minutes and stitched through a flake – it was so delicate to stitch through as it disintegrated really easily. I also found a little blue baby bow in my sewing kit – it is a really tiny bow that I got from my Nannar’s sewing ephemera when she passed away and I’ve always kept it with me thinking I will use it on some work…well I decided that the site could do with a little ‘softening’ up so went bow-bombing! The colours and textures on site are amazing so it was great to offset the bow on some of the works. I toyed with the idea of leaving the bow onsite as a little treasure but I actually couldn’t part with it so it came back home with me in the tin – packed away ready for its next guerilla bow bombing...

artist in residence work

Since May 2009 I have been working as artist in residence for Coventry University on their new Engineering and Computer building which is due for completion in 2012. The building is designed by ARUP and the construction company is VINCI. It’s been a fascinating few months, working closely with the archaeologists after the demolition of the Gulson Hospital and being able to witness their finds. The most poignant being a medieval button with a Pelican beating her breast with the latin words Crede Michi which is translated to ‘I believe’. The site was also a poor house and in the very early days a brick making site for Whitefriars nearby. It was amazing to touch a piece of pot or a clay pipe thinking that prior to myself and the archaeologist it was probably the original owner who had last touched or used the objects so many years ago. I am collating stories on the site and the construction team are saving their doodles and drawings for use in my installation. Its a unique experience and I hope to post a few photographs as the site progresses. Anyone with stories from the hospital or its previous uses do contact me...