While my Criminal Quilts exhibition is behind bars (in boxes), I have created a free online version of the exhibition. I’ve included lots of high resolution images including details of embroidery, quilting and showing textures and stitches as much as possible. All the exhibition panels, labels and other resources are also on my website for you to explore. There’s also a digital version of the exhibition display book which includes some case studies and historical information. The only thing missing is the surreptitious touching of textiles which you aren’t supposed to do! It also includes work which is now sold and no longer in exhibitions and pieces which haven’t been in all the versions of the touring exhibition. Very soon there will be some brand new work added which is currently in my studio awaiting photographs.
Don’t forget to visit the gift shop after your visit… There are copies of the Criminal Quilts book, greetings cards with my original digital designs and a handful of postcard packs available too.
There’s also a virtual donation box if you would like to support my future work.
Over the last couple of years I have been working as a consultant for Creative Leicestershire, researching the future of the role of Made in Leicestershire, a network of local artists. Since this work has now finished, I have decided to try and take some of my recommendations forward through working in partnership with another Leicestershire artist network, The Leicester Society of Artists (LSA). In early October I put myself forward as Chair with the hope of taking some of my learning from Made in Leicestershire into this thriving, well-established group. I picked the busiest time of the year to do this, just before our Annual Exhibition opened in early November. The last few weeks have have been intense, with my focus being on the exhibition judges and prizes, the preview event, working with the museum staff and then some PR and marketing activity while the exhibition is open, as well as future planning with our President Lars Tharp and the LSA Council. The exhibition continues until 7th December and is open seven days a week. I have three pieces in the exhibition too and was awarded one of the prizes as well. But the best part so far has been handing over prizes to other artists, which is a joy – and can result in hilarious photos with Tim Fowler!
After a little pause on Criminal Quilts, I am pleased to say that we are back up and running! From January I will be working on new collaborations, community work and a symposium taking place in 2020-21. First up though, the exhibition is coming up very soon at Galleries of Justice, Nottingham from 7th December 2019 to 29th March 2020.
I have a workshop at the museum in March 2020 which is now open for bookings
Criminal Quilts – Embroidered Images workshop
Saturday 21st March 2020 11am-4pm
Working with Criminal Quilts artist Ruth Singer, you will have the chance to try some of the techniques she uses to create her Criminal Quilts artworks. In this workshop you will learn how to embroider and embellish onto digital prints and screen prints of archive photos from Stafford Prison. You will learn some new embroidery stitches to embellish and transform a black and white photograph into something completely new. Some hand embroidery experience necessary.
Workshop for adults. £59 including all materials and drinks.
National Justice Museum
One 2nd & 3rd November 2019, my Criminal Quilts exhibition will appear for ONE WEEKEND ONLY at Gunnersbury Park Museum, West London. I will also be giving a talk / tour of the exhibition on the Saturday at 2pm. Tickets are £10 available from Gunnersbury website.
My Textile Traces exhibition opened last weekend (25th May 2019)at Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre. It’s a real joy to see so much of my work up on the walls in this lovely gallery, and to have so many people come to the exhibition opening. On the day we held an ‘In Conversation’ event with me interviewed by Polly Leonard, founder of Selvedge magazine. You can listen to this 45 minute interview below in full. It can also be found on Soundcloud.
Some of the works referred to in the interview:
Biography in Cloth
My new solo exhibition, Textile Traces, opens on 25th May at Llantarnam Grange Art Centre, Cwmbran, Wales. The opening event includes an ‘In Conversation’ event with me and Polly Leonard, founder and editor of Selvedge magazine. This event is free and takes place 12-2pm on Saturday 25th May.
The exhibition continues until 20th July 2019.
I am also running workshop at the gallery on Saturday 22nd June to create tiny pincushions inspired by those in the exhibition. Booking details here.
A similar workshop will run in London hosted by Selvedge on Saturday 27th July.
Thread: Contemporary Textiles Exhibition At Rheged Art Centre
This exciting group exhibition of innovative and unusual textile work includes a group of my Precious Object tools.
The exhibition opens on Friday 3rd May and continues until Sunday 30th June. 10am – 5pm and free admission. There is a preview event on Thursday 2nd May, please contact me if you would like an invite to this.
Ruth Singer : Precious Objects
I’m pleased to be taking part in the Leicester Print Workshop members exhibition this year. I am working in collaboration with Gillian McFarland to produce a changing artwork installation which will develop from week to week as we share ideas, develop and pass things to and fro and create new pieces inspired by two found objects.
The exhibition opens this weekend (17th-18th November) with the Print Festival and Gillian and I will be giving at talk on Saturday 17th November at 4pm about our work. There is also an exhibition preview on Friday 23rd November – details below. The exhibition continues until 26th January 2019.
Gillian McFarland and Ruth Singer work in collaboration as McFarland & Singer alongside their distinct and established solo artistic practices. They began working together in 2014 while sharing a studio; a space that allowed them to share ideas and approaches. In addition to the work created for this residency, McFarland & Singer have a strong convergence of interest around the archaeology of stains and marks of time.
This work is an ongoing collaboration, passing to and fro between us as we each explore related, but separate ideas. The piece begins with two found objects from a charity shop which we both respond to initially, through discussion and making alongside each other. This work will change every week as we add new prints and related pieces of work. This work is displayed in file trays to represent the orderly collation and separation of ideas. Feel free to take the pieces out of the trays and move them around and change the order. We will use this intervention and selection as part of the process of making new pieces each week.
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.
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.