Award winning artist – Arts & Heritage projects – Textile History – Public Engagement
I have been working as an artist-maker in textiles for 15 years. Prior to setting up my own studio practice, I worked in museums for several years following a Masters Degree in Museum Studies before beginning my arts practice in 2005 and aim to continue to bring the two together with creative projects inspired by heritage. I often work in collaboration and partnership and am keen to expand my portfolio with inspiring projects.
I grew up with a love of history and a passion for textiles. I bring these two together in my practice as an artist exploring narratives, heritage and material culture. I create exhibitions, installations and commissions often using old cloth and hand stitch with subtle and intriguing hidden stories. My work explores human experience expressed through thoughtful and emotionally-engaged textile making. My subtle and delicate work references loss, memory, fragility and damage in both the cloth itself and in our personal lives, and the places in which we gather memories. My background as a textile historian and museum curator is woven throughout my work; I create pieces with a sense of history and a look of antiques but with a powerful contemporary story.
I have producedfive solo exhibitions between 2015-2019 including a major touring exhibition Criminal Quilts. I have won several awards including the Fine Art Quilt Masters prize 2016 and I have successfully funded 6 major artist projects through Arts Council England applications and other funds.
Recent projects include
Public art project with young people funded by a charitable trust
Criminal Quilts, an arts and heritge project I created.
Residency in a local library, leading to a two-part commission
Consultant for Creative Leicestershire on various artist development projects
Projects, consultancies & collaborations
2017-20 Consultant for Creative Leicestershire developing programmes for artists
2019 Residency and Commission for Libraries Live, a community libraries and arts project by Staffordshire County Council. Ran residency for community and volunteers in the library. Created two-art commission comprising large quilted book including participant-created artwork and an activity box and colouring book for independent use.
2018 Lead Artist & Residency on Criminal Quilts project. Research, public engagement and exhibition project around Victorian women criminals with Staffordshire Record Office and Wolverhampton University.
2016 Lead artist for Urban Growth, a public art project with young people in Leicester including partnership development, fundraising and installation of art work.
2015 Lead artist for centenary quilt commission for Harefield Hospital NHS Trust including community engagement workshops.
2012-15 Founder and Director of Ruth Singer Studio, a craft workshop venue. Employed freelance staff and ran workshops for over 500 people a year.
2012 Project artist for Memory Lanes, primary school heritage commission for Mantle Arts.
2010-12 Project manager for Spin A Yarn, running schools projects in partnership with industrial museum and contemporary makers for Mantle Arts, Leicestershire. Also delivery of creative workshops, training for interns and exhibition development.
2009 Project manager for Streetstyle, Sportstyle community engagement project and exhibition for Renaissance East Midlands Museum Partnership. Managed team of volunteers and staff, curated exhibition, developed partnerships across the heritage and gallery sector.
Since 2005 I have run creative workshops for art and textile groups, schools and colleges as well as organisations including Black Country Museum, Bletchley Park, Craftspace, Hampton Court Palace, Leeds University, Mantle Arts, National Centre for Craft & Design, NSEAD, Specialist Crafts, Wakefield Museum, West Dean College, WEA and V&A.
2019 Textile Traces: Personal Stories in Cloth. Solo exhibition at Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre.
2018-19 Criminal Quilts, solo exhibition launched at Festival of Quilts 2018 and touring
2018 Emotional Repair, solo exhibition at Gawthorpe Hall Textile Collection, Lancashire.
2017-18 Process: Visualising DNA. Showcase of joint artist residency in Genetics at Leicester University and 44AD Gallery, Bath.
2017 ‘Fragments’ solo exhibition, Quilt Association at Minerva Art Centre
2016-2018 ‘Made in the Middle’ collaboration with Bethany Walker, curated by Craftspace
2016 Fine Art Quilt Masters competition, Festival of Quilts – winner
2015-16 ‘Narrative Threads’ solo exhibition at the National Centre for Craft & Design
2006-2019 Group exhibitions including: Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre, National Centre for Craft & Design, Shire Hall Gallery, Unit Twelve, Origin (Crafts Council), Textile Art Centre New York, Cheongui Craft Biennial Korea, University of Leicester
Museum collections & public art
2019 Pattern Project commission for Newbold Verdon Library, Leicestershire
2019 ‘Repeat Offender’ purchased by Brampton Museum, Staffordshire
2018‘Memorial Sampler’ purchased by Gawthorpe Textiles Collection
2016 ‘Urban Growth‘ installation (with Bethany Walker) Makers’ Yard, Leicester
2015 ‘Centenary Quilt’ for Harefield Hospital NHS Trust
2013 ‘Court Hands’ purchased by Staffordshire Arts & Museums Service for permanent display in Shire Hall (now closed).
Awards & commendations
2017 Fringe Arts Bath solo exhibition prize with Gillian McFarland
2016 ‘One to Watch’ prize with Bethany Walker of at Made in the Middle
2016 Winner of the Fine Art Quilt Masters competition, Festival of Quilts
2012 Craftspace Prize, Unit Twelve Contemporary Craft Open
2012 Winner of Haymarket Big Idea competition
2006 Springboard at Origin; Crafts Council selected new makers showcase
2015 Centenary Quilt Harefield Hospital NHS Trust
2012 Shire Hall Gallery. Court Hands series of miniature quilts
2009 Derby Museums. Figures of Africa exhibition
2017-18 Criminal Quilts, Staffordshire Records Office & University of Wolverhampton
2017 Genetics Department, Leicester University
2015 The National Centre for Craft & Design
2007 Bilston Craft Gallery
Publications & writing
2018 Criminal Quilts (self-published)
2013 Fabric Manipulation. David & Charles (F&W Media).
2010 Sew Eco. A&C Black (Bloomsbury).
2008 Sew It Up. Kyle Books.
Further writing / design work for books and magazines including Thames & Hudson, Penguin, Lark Books, Selvedge, Interweave Press, F&W Media since 2006.
Full time museum jobs
2002–2005 Adult Education Officer, Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
1999–2002 Interpretation Officer, London Transport Museum.
During my museum career I curated exhibitions, developed interpretation, wrote publications and online learning packages, managed major events, conferences and learning programmes.