In 2016 I made an installation for South Hill Park Arts Centre in Bracknell commemorating it's history during the Second World War - the Mansion house became the evacuated home of the Royal Sea Bathing Hospital of Margate in Kent.
'Loose parts' was a set of screenprinted pillows that were laid out on grass beds on the lawn in front of the South Hill Park terrace during the Engage with Art Festival (2-3 July 2016). Patients of the Royal Sea Bathing Hospital, including very many children, were suffering from surgical tuberculosis. Treatment involved being outdoors day and night, those with a diseased spine restricted to a plaster bed, or those with infected joints with splinted limbs. At a time that was pre-antibiotic treatments, if the disease abated the best possible outcome was an immobile back or limb - forever seized up into the least worst position. The outdoor installation of 'beds' and pillows also celebrated that children in this country are largely now free of this disease: with healthy limbs and free to play without limitation.
During its stay at South Hill Park, the hospital also cared for many injured Servicemen - who we remember on VE Day on Friday.
Since the beginning of April I have been making up scrubs for Scrubs Glorious Scrubs - a fantastic collective of volunteers who are making non-surgical scrubs, hats and scrubs bags for the NHS during the current disease crisis.
In what feels like a lovely twist to the tale of my artwork - I have now converted the remaining pillows into scrubs bags which will be distributed to be used in GP surgeries and other healthcare settings around Bracknell to help with the Covid-19 battle.
What a great experience! We had so many interested visitors and I enjoyed chatting to as many as I could manage. I led this project with Thames Valley Contemporary Textiles and as a group we feel very proud that we completed this project and brought it all together.
Thank you to K.L. Bevan of The Crafter for the photo of myself - I of course forgot to take as many photographs as I should have, and didn't even remember to get a photo of myself at the show.
Interesting to see what happened to my knitting over almost three weeks at Bucks Open Studios. After installing the work I wondered if any bunnies or other animals would decide I had created a comfy lounging area for them. But although I spotted one snagged thread which I assume was from a cat landing, it seemed that I only had to worry about the weather.
The rain came and went during the period of the Open Studios, and it gave us some pretty heavy showers at times. The lace knitting is very stretchy naturally and started to sag a little over time, but with the added weight of water from the rain it sank right down into the tyres. Thanks to Janet for recording it as the rain stopped. The last picture in the gallery shows how the knitting sank into a bowl shape and the yarn took on a two-tone effect as it began to dry out.
I was also pleased with how the work looked once the grass, clover and daisies started to grow. I thought it looked better than when the grass had been freshly cut. It helped to 'bed-in' the tyres and was rather lovely when it started to grow through the holes of the lace.
Thursday 11 July – Sunday 17 August
Several pieces of my work have been selected for the Summer Open exhibition at the Cornerstone Arts Centre in Oxfordshire.
The theme is the 'Colour Green', so of course my interpretation is the recycling and sustainability of materials. My work on show will include recycled clothes, electric blankets and video tapes. The exhibition will run from 11th July to 17th August 2013.
I installed my work in the sculpture garden on Friday. I'm very pleased with how it has all come together. Affixing the knitting to the tyres was more fiddly than I imagined. For a while it seemed that I was creating knotted sculpture with fishing line that I had got into a terrible tangle. But with the help of an extra pair of hands from my other half, we were able to get the technique down to a fine art and got the lashing finished.
I love the contrast of indoor and outdoor, hard and soft materials. It also looks like giant liquorice allsorts from a distance...
Come and visit ... Fernbank, Court Lane, Burnham, SL1 8DN
Thursday/Friday: 12noon to 4pm
Saturday/Sunday: 11am to 6pm
Until 23rd June
All are warmly welcomed to the garden art trail in Burnham next month - where I will be exhibiting 2 new pieces of sculpture. My first adventures in outdoor work - and I'm very excited about seeing my work in a new environment.
Thank you to everyone that visited me over the Bank Holiday at Henley Arts Trail. It was great to talk to so many people.
This new piece reminded one visitor of a microscopic water organism called a rotifer - I'm going to be googling that for inspiration for future work.
And I intrigued many people with my spun (actually technically its plyed) video tape. This was work in progress for my next event at Buckinghamshire Open Studios in Burnham. Its going to be part of a 2.5m high sculptural piece of French knitting.
Visit www.twistedthread.com to book tickets for all my textile workshops at the Spring Knitting & Stitching Show at Olympia. All my projects introduce fun techniques and ideas that you can take forward and easily use for lots more sewing fun when you get home. Look forward to seeing you there ...
Machine Applique Pendants and Key Rings
Play with layering tiny scraps of fabric to make miniature appliques (fabric shapes on a
foundation piece of fabric). Add ribbon, buttons or beads and turn your favourite into a pretty pendant, a designer bag tag or an attractive key ring. A great project for leftovers and for perfecting your sewing machine skills.
Fri 15th March, 10.30am, 1 hour
Mosaic Applique a Picture or Cushion Cover
Mosaic applique uses fabric to mimic mosaic tile designs. Learn how to prepare recycled fabrics for making ‘tiles’, then build up your design. Fuse tiles to a background fabric to create your own striking mosaic picture or cushion cover front – your design can be pictorial or abstract, regular or irregular. And it’s a perfect technique to use up small scraps of fabric. You will then be shown how to mount your design as a picture or how to complete it at home as a cushion cover. Notes for completion and backing/cushion requirements will be provided.
Friday 15th March, 2pm-3.30pm
Weave recycled fabrics to create a colourful reverse applique
Learn a simple method to weave recycled and vintage fabric scraps to make a reconstructed
fabric. Use Bondaweb to fuse your weaving behind a cut-out shape to create a colourful reverse applique. The result is perfect for framing, for a greetings card, or to personalise your own items such as shopping bags or cushion covers.
Friday 15th March at 3.45pm or Saturday 16th March at 10.30am
Machine Stitch a Baby Quilt Top
Using an uncomplicated and easy log-cabin patchwork method to create a beautiful baby quilt, you will learn to cut strips and piece them on a sewing machine to make the quilt top in an afternoon. You will then be shown how to add borders if required, wadding, backing and binding so that you can go home confidently capable of finishing your quilt. Notes for completion and backing/wadding fabric requirements will be provided.
Saturday 16th March, Half Day (3 hours), 1-4pm