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...

godiva awakes

One of my current commissions is as the principal artist making the coat for Lady Godiva for the ‘Artist Taking The Lead’ project as part of the Cultural Olympiad for London 2012. I have completed my design and information about the surface and concept of the coat is detailed in this post. We have now also appointed 5 artists to assist in the realisation of the coat and will be working from November 2010 until January 2012. Here is some information about the project by Imagineer Productions and my design. The ‘Godiva Awakes’ project by Imagineer Productions will bring West Midlands icon Lady Godiva to life as a 10 metre high puppet that pushes the boundaries of carnival puppetry to new levels. Built from aluminium and carbon fibre, she will be a moving, breathing monument – a potent symbol of equality, fair play and justice. Godiva will be dressed for her journey into the 21st century in a coat crafted by local artists and communities, chronicling the West Midlands’ industrial and engineering heritage. A spectacular performance will mark the ‘awakening’ of Lady Godiva. Powered by 50 cyclists, she will join 2,000 dancers, actors, aerialists, musicians, pyrotechnicians and carnivalists in a processional performance. On the last day of Coventry’s Godiva Festival in July 2012, Godiva will leave the city and journey to London. She will seek sanctuary overnight at various towns along the route who will each welcome her in their own, distinct way. Finally she will arrive in London, her journey completed in time for the opening of London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Coat Designed as a...

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...