A couple of images from my visit to the Rachel Whiteread exhibition that relate to my practice. Hive and Dressing Table.
Special thanks to The Churchill Society for inviting me to the private screening of The Darkest Hour, Working Title Productions, London.
On 10th February 2017 my work was exhibited with Sue Ryder as part of Light Night Nottingham. I was also invited to run a workshop inviting Sue Ryder visitors to unpick labels from rags that would later be assembled in a new piece of work. In April I had the pleasure of meeting Diana Ali from the Big Painting Challenge at the Private View of the Summer Exhibition, Institute of Mental Health Nottingham University. I also met members of the International Churchill Society at a Champagne reception including Churchill’s Grandson Randolph Churchill. In May I launched a project offering an exciting opportunity for Duke of Edinburgh Award holders to participate. The portrait was a huge success and was exhibited at Royal Tailors Kent, Haste & Lachter in Mayfair, London, and later in Derbyshire to celebrate the Queen and Duke’s 70th Wedding Anniversary. I also had fun creating a canvas of R2D2 from used labels relating to space and planets.
It was a wonderful achievement to produce a commission of Jane Austen for the 200th celebrations at Winchester Cathedral, which also saw the launch of the new ten-pound note. I was interviewed on BBC Radio Derby and BBC Radio Nottingham, also appearing on BBC TV Breakfast and in the BBC Radio Times Magazine. Not forgetting a two-page spread in Australia’s Homespun (Designer Edge) Magazine. Two of my original works from the collection of 20,000 used labels were sold to collectors and a selection of my work is now available at The Makers, Ashbourne, Derbyshire.
Now looking forward to an exciting 2018.
Happy New Year.
In 2010 I visited a British Longhorn Farm in Leicestershire where I met Rochester, a prize-winning bull in his prime. At almost 4 years old Rochester’s life had been centered on his first class image and ability to win prizes in the show ring, winning bull of the year in 2009. Following my visit I reproduced Rochester using 5000 used clothing labels, the resulting portrait reflecting on human behaviour and our desire to look good in the clothes that we wear. Sadly I have recently discovered that shortly after my encounter with Rochester he was sold to another breeder where he subsequently caught Bovine Tuberculosis and had to be put to sleep. Terrible news. I also discovered that Rochester’s semen had been kept for breeding purpose and that an offspring had been born. I hope to visit the farm in 2018 and follow the young bulls progress.
When I heard the news about the Duke of Edinburgh stepping down from his official royal duties in the autumn of 2017, I immediately saw an opportunity for a project that would celebrate his contribution to The DofE Award since 1956. My idea was to use the names of people who had completed their DofE Award at Bronze, Silver or Gold. The names would be woven onto cotton tapes and used to assemble the Duke’s portrait with dressmaker pins on canvas. The response to the callout to put forward a name was fantastic and within a week I had gathered the names of 100 lucky participants. Some people put forward their own name while others put forward a friend or relatives name as a surprise gift. I received a name from Canada, and a Gold DofE participant who collected her award 38 years ago at Buckingham Palace from the Duke himself. By special invitation the portrait also includes the name of Double Olympic Champion Dame Kelly Holmes (Silver Award), also well-known TV presenter Jim Rosenthal (Gold Award).
The portrait measures 88cm high x 72cm wide, it took 209 hours to assemble and used 130grams of dressmaker pins. The portrait will be exhibited in the window at The Makers, 47 Church Street, Ashbourne, Derbyshire DE6 1AE from Friday 17th November until Friday 24th November 2017. It will be displayed for the first time alongside the WW1 portrait of Queen Elizabeth II to celebrate the 70th wedding anniversary of the royal couple.
Dairy Cow evolved following the collection of 20,000 used labels, gathered from garments identified as rags. The research was centred around identity and consumerism, also a realisation of how much we need and rely on cattle. The 1.3 metre canvas attracted much media attention and won the £2000 prize at Weston Park Open Exhibition, Shropshire in 2011. It has since been the focus of several solo exhibitions and site specific window installations.
Dairy Cow has been admired by many, viewers often returning for a second or third viewing to contemplate my technique. I am delighted to say that today Dairy Cow was sold to an extremely happy customer and now resides in a new home in Derbyshire.
Special thanks to Gold Award holder Kate & Silver Award holders Caitlin, Bryony and Francesca, for visiting Mayfair and posting a photograph with the Duke of Edinburgh portrait. Also participants Emma (Bronze) and Annabelle (Gold) for visiting and sharing.