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...

Let the stitches begin!

Finally this weekend is here! Have been working towards this since late 2009! Today I will be stitching more tailors tacks in the old cathedral ruins in Coventry. (From 11.00am) Two other artists who worked on the panels of the coat will be with me (Deb Squires www.debsquires.co.uk and Julie Joannides www.juliejoannides.blogspot.co.uk)) and the event is open & free to the public to come along and add a tailors tack to the lining. Tonight there is the actual awakening of Godiva – a huge performance and celebration and then tomorrow from 11.00am the coat will be presented to Godiva and we will dress her ready for her journey to London. I woke up today to glorious sunshine and I am keeping everything crossed that tomorrow is the...

Rainy days

In case this July rain doesn’t go away myself and the Coat team have made a 5 metre mac for Godiva this week. Its a copy of the coat pattern with a smaller seam allowance and made out of shiny new transparent PVC! I am hoping that as I have now made this it wont actually rain on the day! Fingers...

The days are going quickly to Godiva Awakes

The days to Godiva Awakes are going so quickly now and each one is filled with the final preparations to complete her coat. For information on the weekend activities do checkout www.imagineerproductions.co.uk – the coat will be presented and dressed by myself and the rest of the tailors on Sunday 29th July at 12 noon in Broadgate, Coventry – no tickets are required for this part of the performances – its just be early to get in! Find out more at www.imagineerproductions.co.uk Below are some pics that track the Godiva coats progress from the early days until now…I can’t wait to reveal the whole coat in August. (If you subscribe to the Embroiderers Guild ‘Embroidery’ Magazine we are featured in the July 2012 copy. The Coat team are all fab individual artists and you can find out more about them on their own sites: Maggie Dunne – Maggie has researched the glove making industry from Worcester and has been responsible for the collar, cuffs and buttons on the coat. Rachel Grant – Rachel has researched the pottery heritage in Stoke and her personal connections to it. She has worked on 2 of the coat’s 5 metre panels. Adam Hussain – Adam is making Godiva’s cufflinks and researched Smethwick and Stourbridge glass making. Julie Joannides– Julie has had access to the archives from Blitz Games and the Oliver Twins who are early game designers. She has embellished 2 of the coat panels. Debbie Squires – Debbie has focussed her research on the Black Country chainmaking and nail forging industries and has also embellished 2 of the panels. As well as...

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...