Harefield Centenary Quilt

The centenary quilt I made for Harefield Hospital last year is now on permanent display in the hospital’s main reception area.

harefield-quilt-in-situ

 

The quilt was created during a number of workshops for staff, patients and local community to celebrate 1o0 years of care on the Harefield Hospital site and uses archive and donated photographs, nurses uniforms, patient quotes, natural dyes sourced from the grounds, digital and screen print and lots of hand stitching.

Narrative Threads community projects

Part of my Narrative Threads exhibition artist residency has been to work with local communities around Sleaford and the National Centre for Craft and Design. I built this into my Arts Council funding so I could experiment with new ways of working with different audiences, continue to build my community arts CV and try and engage the local community with my work and the messages around it.

A lot of the work created in these workshops and events will be displayed as part of Narrative Threads.

Earlier in the summer I worked with a Sleaford primary school on a project exploring amulets and objects with stories. In the first session we investigated words and symbols which have significance across cultures and in different time periods. The children made tags with special messages, images and symbols. For the second session they brought in special objects and collected natural materials to use to make their own amulets. We used printing, sewing and wrapping to make the amulets and each child wrote about their amulets and why it was special.

 

Sleaford Alzheimers Society

It has been particularly rewarding to work at the Sleaford Dementia Cafe run by the Alzheimers Society. In the first session we created Memory Collages, using fabric scraps and felt to build up pictures of special places or hobbies.

For the second session I took along a reminiscence box of old clothes and textiles to spark memories and stories similar to my textile memories project. These will be embroidered onto a cloth for display in the exhibition. I had hoped it would be engaging for the participants and their carers to reminisce about textile memories from their families. Many people talked about their childhood, their mother’s embroidery skills – or lack of them – and their own sewing for their children. It was a fascinating and absorbing day, and I hope to do more of this kind of work in the future.

I have also run workshops for families during school holidays, making painted and embroidered pincushions and other drop-in craft workshops.

Ruth Singer community project

 

Yesterday I ran a workshops for Arts NK’s community wellbeing event at Waddington, Lincs making memory tags- a decorated luggage label telling a story of a happy memory or something important in your life.

 

I am currently working with A Level textiles students who are creating work inspired by mine as part of the assessed portfolio. Their finished pieces will also be in the exhibition.

Once the exhibition is open I will continue to work with groups including a GCSE group and community sessions for a local sheltered housing scheme. I have also set up Crafts for Relaxation, a free monthly workshop for people who might not be able to afford or attend normal workshops, with the idea of participants meeting new people and getting some time to themselves. This programme has taken some time to get up and running and it has been a challenge to reach the right audience but it is a useful process for me in working out how to self-run community projects in the future.

Narrative Threads Opening 14th November

My solo exhibition, Narrative Threads, opens on Saturday 14th November The National Centre for Craft and Design, Sleaford, Lincolnshire. This exhibition is the culmination of a year-long residency at NCCD, funded by Arts Council England.

Please join me to celebrate the opening of the exhibition on Saturday  2-4pm with cheese and wine! It includes lots of new work, community collaborations and the textile memories project.

I will also be launching a fabulous 20 page catalogue of the exhibition with new photography and background to the pieces in the exhibition and my working processes.

Ruth Singer Narrative Threads

Ruth Singer Narrative Threads

 

JL4A7518

 

Exhibition events include a weekend masterclass on 5th & 6th December and Artists’ Talk and Q&A on Saturday 12th December as well as a collaboration project which you can join in with on Saturday 28th November as part of Gifted. The exhibition continues until 10th January 2016.

I will *also* be continuing my artist residency at NCCD and will be in the exhibition on various dates which will be advertised on my website, on social media and through my mailing list.

Narrative Threads Artist in Residence at NCCD

During my residency day at NCCD in April I tried some further experiments with recording dye processes using video, this time using my iPad set up on a plate stand, which seems to work quite well. There’s more to be done on this but it looks promising and I hope a film can be included in the exhibition. I have more sampling and testing to do but it is exciting to be making progress with a conceptual idea captured on film.

The Beauty of Stains continues to develop wonderful stain patterns and shapes, which I have decided to stitch into the cloth to make them permanent.

 

 

My major making work continues to be the Criminal Quilts patchwork which will keep growing throughout the year including during the exhibition itself. I’ll soon start working into the areas of completed patchwork, adding more depth and narrative to the patchwork base.

 

Away from the studio I have been on some incredibly exciting research visits to Oxford, London and Gawthorpe Hall. The museums were all I was expecting and more, giving me masses of inspiration for my work on amulets and memorials. I haven’t yet processed everything that I took in, and am looking forward to spending more time in the studio working through some of the ideas that have been generated.

 

 

This week (Friday 29th May) my residency day includes a workshop activity for all ages, contributing to a hand-sewn textile panel. Please drop in 1-3pm to take part. I will also have open studio 11am-1pm and 3-4pm where you can see work in progress and some completely new things I am working on for the exhibition.

 

Narrative Threads Artist in Residence

March was a time for reflection, thinking and planning. I’m working, slowly, on new pieces. I’m revisiting older work and pulling ideas together. Ideas for new work are sloshing around and beginning to settle. A few days holiday at the end of the month gave me vital thinking time, sitting on the front of a canal boat, pondering. Walking. Looking at the water. Watching the stars come out. All of these are essential parts of my creative process and it is often hard to achieve this kind of peace and contemplative time when my walk to the studio is through the city centre (where there is little green space) and my life is overcrowded with house renovation works and exhibition installation. None of these things is bad at all, but it all takes away from the creative space which is needed to think and make.

canal

 

This month I have taken The Beauty of Stains out of the NCCD cafe to review the marks it has built up since February and contemplate what more to do on it. I’ve catalogued all the stains, and given it a gentle, cold water wash to remove actual solids while preserving the stains left behind. The piece is building up a fine patina of use, which I am delighted with.

 

Whether to embroidery the stains or to leave them is troubling me today. I can’t decide.

 

Meanwhile, Many Hands isn’t yet showing much in the way of marks of use and remains not very changed from when it went up. I don’t know if this is people being very gentle when touching it or if it is more sturdy than I thought. A few more months will tell.

My funded research visits start this month, with trips to Nottingham, Oxford and London next week and Gawthorpe Hall at the end of the month, with many more planned for later in the summer.

Community workshops in Sleaford were part of my original plan for the residency but have proved harder than expected to arrange owing to the limited contacts I have in the town, compared to Leicester, where I have all the right networks already established. This in itself is a learning process for me and goes to show just how important it is to have roots in a place.


 

March’s workshop at NCCD was inspired by my pincushions, with samples made by work experience students Amelia and Neena and wonderful, colourful pieces also created by workshop participants, some as young as 3!

 

My next residency day is 29th April, followed by 29th May which will include another free drop-in workshop.

Narrative Threads residency day 1

A few days ago I finally had my first Narrative Threads residency day at The National Centre for Craft & Design after January’s went awry with snow and illness. It is such a rare treat to spend a whole day focussed on just one project and a day just making my own work is still disappointingly unusual (although that is set to change very soon).

I’ve started working on a new piece in the Criminal Quilts series, using tiny hexagon patchwork pieces and mainly old fabrics, which I’ve been carefully cutting out to preserve details. My aim is for this to be a major piece in the Narrative Threads exhibition.

 

 

I also got the chance to do a first experiment with some dye ideas I’ve been pondering, which needs some more work but I think it going to create what I want. Watch this space for developments.

 

 

It was a fantastic treat to see this amazing fragment brought in by gallery staff member Harriet, which she had found in the walls of her ancient house. It looks to me like a neckline of a shirt or smock-type garment, 18th century or earlier I suspect, and undoubtedly a deliberately concealed garment. I’m hoping to include it in the exhibition in some way. This is just the kind of intriguing piece of textile history that I love.

 

My next residency day is Monday 30th March. I’ll be around, working in the 4th floor workshop from 10am-4pm including running a workshop for all ages (adults welcome!) making pincushions inspired by mine shown below. Experiment with some dye techniques, paint, pens, print and stitch to create effects on fabric then make it into a little pebble pincushion,

 

Maker In Residence

The new project is announced!

I’m maker in residence at Bilston Craft Gallery from 3rd January until the end of March 2007. I’ve started a new blog all about it here, so I wont say too much about it now. I’m really excited about it – new projects, new people and time to do my own work. I’ve decided that I’m going to use the time to create some large pieces of complex work – the sort of thing I never normally have time for, but that bubble around in my creative brain when I ought to be sleeping or doing my accounts. I’m having fun coming up with ideas for workshops and classes and joint projects with other people.

I’ve got lots of other things ticking over at the moment, not least a trade show in January to prepare for. Oh and Christmas. I keep forgetting about that. I still haven’t made my cards (am I so late now that I can just not bother??). I designed a load of decorations, but they haven’t even made it onto paper, let alone fabricated and onto trees. But I have planned the food. I always think about food, it is my only real hobby these days, though knitting comes a close second. I bought a beret pattern to knit today, when I explored a great craft shop just round the corner! I only found out because someone in my new knitting group told me. I bought a fat quarter of batik fabric for a quilter friend and some yarn and a pattern to knit a beret for me. I was about to start a summer cardigan, but got distracted by wanting a new hat.
Right, really must start those Christmas cards….