The first five pieces of the collaborative Criminal Quilt have arrived! Thank you contributors. There are another 95 to come – hopefully. If you have one to make, please make sure it is back with me (or to Staffordshire Record Office) by 9th July. Full return details in this document collaborative quilt return form
I’ve just worked out that I have work in six different showcases and exhibitions this weekend – and some continuing into June.
This weekend only – Design Nation showcase at Eunique, Karlsruhe Germany
Biography in Cloth in Fringe Arts Bath – closes Sunday
Wolverhampton School of Arts Degree Show until 20th June
Emotional Repair solo exhibition until 24th June
Criminal Herstories touring display in Stafford Library until 28th June
I’ve also got a couple of pieces in Cank St Gallery open exhibition until August, but no photos of that yet!
Wolverhampton Degree Show
Biography in Cloth
Design Nation; Head, Hand, Heart exhibition
Criminal Quilts Book is open for pre-orders now!
Pre-orders are open until 20th July at a discounted price of £10 per copy which includes a signature, free postcard and the chance to include your name as a supporter in the back of the book.
The books will be printed at the end of July and posted out from mid-August. You can also collect at Festival of Quilts.
As well as the discount, your pre-order will help me pay for the massive printing costs for this book. I really appreciate you pre-ordering and will include your name (or another as preferred) in the back of the book. Please include your preferred name in the order.
Over the last 6 months I have been working with Wolverhampton University Fashion and Textiles Department as creative partners in Criminal Quilts.
I will be showing a small display of new work in progress during the University Degree Show 9th-20th June. Monday to Saturday 10-4. Find the display on the first floor within Fashion and Textiles
Wolverhampton School of Art
The George Wallis Building (MK Building)
City Campus Molineux (North)
Full details and opening times here.
Criminal Herstories is a local history display for Staffordshire libraries related to Criminal Quilts. The display contains a large book based on a prison photo album, of images and information about the prison photo albums and our research about the women appearing in them. It also includes a patchwork made by project volunteers and a new piece of work by me.
There will be a small launch event at Stafford Library on Thursday 31st May 2018 5-7pm. All welcome. The display is then at Stafford Library until 28th June and is free to access during normal open hours.
I will be giving a FREE talk at Stafford Library Tuesday 5th June 1- 2pm and another at Stone Library (where the display moves to in July) Tuesday 17th July, 2-4pm.
Talks and other event details here.
Display tour dates
Stafford Library 1st-28th June 2018
Stone Library 29th June – 3rd August 2018
Burton-on-Trent Library 14th August – 25th October
Wombourne Library 6th Nov 2018 – 10th Jan 2019
In June I will be presenting my research on the clothing worn by women in the Stafford Prison photo albums 1877-1916 (from my Criminal Quilts project) at an academic workshop at Wolverhampton University on Thursday 7th June.
The event Textiles and Dress from Below: Ordinary and Everyday Textiles and Dress in Museums and Historic Houses looks at every day clothing and textiles across a broad spectrum. The event is open to all and tickets are £20
The photographs provide an unique resource for the study of working class women’s clothing and prison issue clothing in the period. Although there are numerous collections of similar photographs very little has been published focussing on women and their clothing. The Staffordshire collections are unusually abundant with nearly 500 images, including some women who appear several times over a couple of decades. Alongside extensive research and the creation of art works inspired by these images and records, I am researching further into the details of clothing and hats which can be seen in the images. Research shows that most of the photographs were taken a few days before release from prison so it is unclear if they would be wearing their own garments or prison-issue.
A considerable number of women are shown wearing woven wool shawls, particularly in the 19th century images, which is fairly common for working women but it is still unclear how many of these are their own clothes or if the shawls were prison issue. Later photographs seem to show standard prison issue garments comprising a gingham apron, high neck collarless bodice and checked neckerchief. In many of the remaining images the women are wearing some kind of dark jacket or coat which may be prison uniform – certainly one or two images show the typical convict arrows on the garment.
Headwear is also intriguing – most of the women are wearing hats and the period range of the photos shows the fashionable development from the 1870s to the First World War.
As part of this research I am looking at comparable images from other collections, including those taken by police, which having been taken at arrest, must show women’s own clothes. There is also a possible connection between certain types of particularly showy clothing which may indicate prostitution. This paper presents the work in progress in analysing the images and comparable collections and draws connections to surviving clothing in museum collections and other resources as well as introducing my own textile work inspired by the photographs.
This research will also be presented in the Criminal Quilts book to be published in August 2018
One of my Garment Ghost pieces will be shown in an exciting exhibition during FAB – Fringe Arts Bath 26th May – 10th June.
Biography In Cloth is curated by Carole Waller and Joanna Wright. Exhibition open 10am to 6pm daily – 26 May to 10 June. FaB @ Milsom Place, Unit 26 upper level Milsom Place, Milsom St & Broad St, Bath, BA1 1BZ
Garment Ghosts are created from badly damaged and irreparable antique clothing, to which I give new life by remaking. My first career was in museums and I am intrigued by our reverence for objects and the power of objects both to fascinate us and to embody stories. I am also interested in exploring how we feel about textiles and how we create stories around them.
Tying in with my interest in history and museum practice, I am also interested in exploring and challenging established ideas about preserving and displaying art textiles. I find stained, torn, worn and weary old fabrics full of stories. I am continually drawn back to old cloth and how it is loved and preserved or discarded and how my own artistic practice acts as a counterpoint to museum practice. My work with old cloth is a thoughtful and considered interpretation of conservation and preservation.
With Garment Ghosts, I unpick clothing and textiles beyond repair and the fragmentary cloth is brought back to life through trapping the disintegrating garment between transparent layers, keeping the outline of the piece but also opening up seam allowances and pleats to take the fabric back to its original form. Garment Ghosts aim to make you think about how we preserve and present textiles and who inhabited the garment in its previous life. This piece is made from parts of a late Victorian beaded bodice – the silk lining and the deep lace cuffs and flounce. The remaining, still intact parts of the garment remain in my studio, awaiting another life.