I’m pleased to have had another piece accepted into the Fine Art Quilt Masters at Festival of Quilts again this year.
Ruth Singer Tracery
Tracery will be shown in a large gallery with a lot of other really exciting textile pieces, 9-12th August. I will also be exhibiting my Criminal Quilts project in a gallery of its own too.
Ruth Singer Tracery
Tracery. Machine sewn patchwork. 2017
This piece was originally made for my 2017 solo exhibition Fragments, with the Quilt Association. Tracery is a direct response to the quilts in the Quilt Association collection. When I went to view the quilts I was entranced by the damaged ones and chose to make work which reflected this. Tracery has been made and unmade to create a quilt purely of seams holding the remaining threads together, just like the quilting stitches holding together quilts which would otherwise fall to pieces. To quilt lovers, my preference for the discoloured reverse, the wrecked by laundering, the paint-spattered and the pieced army blankets may be puzzling but I love the stories held in damaged or ordinary cloth. The humbler the better for me. I am interested in what it says about those who made it, bought it, sold it, used it, abused it, preserved it and mended it. My training in museum work taught me to look at objects from every angle, exploring every possible story to understand the thing as a whole, not purely as a visual object. As an artist I choose to look from one very specific angle and to explore that rich seam of narrative in as much detail as I can.
In case you missed it, I won the Fine Art Quilt Masters competition in 2016 which helped me fund and develop the Criminal Quilts project which I will be showing at this year’s festival.
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
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
Information regarding returning your quilt square including the address is all in the document below. Thank you
collaborative quilt return form
Thanks for your interest but I’ve now had over 100 people register which already makes an enormous quilt!
I am hoping to re-open this later in the year for exhibitions in 2019, so please keep in touch by signing up to my mailing list, following this blog or my social media including Criminal Quilts Twitter