In 2018 I was artist in residence in Newbold Verdon library in rural Leicestershire. The library is one of a growing number which is run entirely by volunteers. Libraries Live is an arts project across three counties and three libraries to trial arts activity in these new volunteer-led community libraries. My contribution was a 6 week artist residency called Pattern Project. I chose to work with the idea of patterns to represent community connections where tiny details add up to create a complex picture, reflecting the way that each little act of community – such as an hour volunteering in the library- adds up to a much greater whole. I ran workshops for older adults including library volunteers and local residents to create patterns in simple, creative ways. The participants created some beautiful patterns and designs, many of which I have used to create the permanent artwork for the library.
I created a two-part commission including a quilted book and an activity kit.
The pages of the quilted book are created using digital printing, hand printing and hand embroidery. Many of the designs are created by me using images participants have made in workshops during the residency using drawing, stamping, collage and textile printing which I have digitally-manipulated to created new patterns. Other pages are created by me using hand embroidery and textile printing. The book was digitally-printed for minimum waste on organic cotton and uses organic cotton wadding.
The activity book is full of things you can do at home, inspired by this project. These will be available in the library for Newbold Verdon residents to try some of the activities from the project. I also provided a box of resources including specialist papers, pattern books and art materials for use with the activity book. My project sketchbook is also included in the display for anyone to browse and be inspired.
Pattern Project is part of a three-county project and the Warwickshire residency artist was my friend Michaela McMillan. The work we both created, along with a performance piece for children in Staffordshire, is being shown in the three partner libraries this year. The exhibition launches in Glascote Library on 3rd June at 10am, and will remain there until mid July, before moving to Water Orton, Warwickshire. The final venue is ‘my’ library, Newbold Verdon. The exhibition will b
e there from 9th September and my commission will remain at the library thereafter.