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,


Design Factory Fellow

I’m delighted to announce that I have been invited to become a Fellow of Design Factory.

Over the years Design Factory has nurtured a strong network of selected designer/makers who continue to prove their commitment to Design Factory and British craft and design.  They have grown in their practice and become leaders in their field of expertise.  Fellowship provides substantial benefits to our established makers and also offers an opportunity for them to ‘give something back’.  Fellows become part of our team and play an important role in the development of Design Factory. Fellowship is by invitation only and consideration is given to membership commitment, participation and contribution to Design Factory’s programme.” Hayley Banks, Design Factory Membership Manager. 

Personally, I hope that being a Fellow will enable me to support other makers as they develop their businesses. I also want to help create exciting new opportunities within Design Factory for other Fellows and exhibition opportunities for non-product artists and makers. My first task was to take part in the selection panel for new members this Spring, which was a very interesting and enjoyable process. I’m also exhibiting at Design Factory’s sister gallery, NCCD until July and working on a solo exhibition there in 2015.

DF LOGO 2 COLOUR 300dpi 1.77mb

A Museum of Me

My collections and selections will be on display in the window collection at National Centre for Craft & Design, Sleaford,  from 3rd May to 13th July 2014

When faced with the task of selecting some objects which define my inspiration, I was almost overwhelmed. For years the main source of my ideas has been museum collections, buildings and the emotions surrounding objects and places. I can’t put any of those into a cabinet…

What I have gathered together for this exhibition is a selection of objects of significance in my journey towards being the textile artist that I am today, from early childhood through to my first career working in museums. Some are directly inspirational, such as the historical textiles, while some represent aspects of my character which come out in my work as an artist and maker. Others are by makers I admire while some are just interesting and curious things that represent how magpie-mind works, drawing inspiration from all kinds of sources.

My current work is around textiles and emotion. I am interested in how cloth is so emotionally powerful and how stories are deeply embodied in the fabrics we touch every day. This really stems from my training and first career in museums, where I was very focussed on the study of objects; their makers, their owners; their stories.

The exhibition also includes some of my recent work as well as some early pieces, showing quite a radical change in my style. Creating non-functional exhibition work and installations rather than products has been hugely liberating for me, and finally it all makes sense with my collecting habits too, as I am now using the old, worn fabrics I love and incorporating curious found objects.

Private view, Friday 2nd May 6pm


The Beauty of Stains

I’ve recently been invited put together a major solo exhibition at The National Centre for Craft & Design in late 2015. The exhibition theme is loosely around physical and emotional engagement with cloth, exploring tactility, memory and personal stories, mostly around old domestic textiles. The working title of the show is The Beauty of Stains. I’m interested in looking at how we feel about old fabrics; tablecloths with stains and dusters with holes and how the role of the artist changes a piece of fabric from something ordinary to something very special.

Charm Gown detail (Ruth Singer)

I’ll be exhibiting some of my recent work including the Charm Gown and other pieces that are in progress. Alongside my work there will be a lot of interactive pieces where visitors can be part of the process of making my work, share their contributions and engage with my ideas about cloth. I’ll be in the gallery during the exhibition as much as possible to work with visitors creating and interpreting cloth so that the exhibition grows and develops in the weeks that it is open.

I’m starting to gather a collection of cloth memories and would love if you could add yours to my collection. I want to create a piece using scraps of cloth printed or embroidered with your tactile memories of cloth. It can be from any time in your life; distant childhood or just yesterday.

  • Face pressed into your grandfather’s rough tweed jacket
  • A scratchy towel on the beach on a summer holiday
  • Going on a date wearing velvet trousers
  • Corduroy that reminds you of an uncle
  • Blanket wool reminds you of visiting granny

Please leave a comment with your memory, the type of cloth that it refers to and your name if you want it on the piece. If you use the form below, your comment will be emailed to me and won’t appear on the website, but if you use the comments thing below then it will be here for all to see. Either is fine – and thank you!