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.
I have been making artwork with new and used clothing labels for some 20 years. It came to my attention that the structure, colour and texture of a label is very similar to that of a fluffy moth. Often strikingly coloured and patterned, and sometimes dull and camouflaged. The reverse of a woven label is an artwork in itself with threads of textured colour reflecting each branded logo. Metallic moth colours can also be matched to silk printed clothing and care labels. From the 165,000 species of Lepidoptera I have selected six insects for reproduction.
Working on the Duke of Edinburgh portrait, here are the names to be included, they have all achieved a DofE award at bronze, silver or gold.
Now available to view at The Makers, 47 Church Street, Ashbourne, DE6 1AE. (closed mondays)
I travelled down from Derbyshire to be part of the whole day celebrations at Winchester Cathedral for the 200th Anniversary of Jane Austen’s passing. It was an amazing day with diverse events including the launch of the new ten-pound note by The Bank of England. The Dean and Dr Gillian Dow made special tributes to Jane Austen, not only about her very special resting place at the Cathedral but also how she now has the ability to travel the world in our pockets and purses. The Dean, Catherine Ogle also praised their summer exhibition, ‘Inspired by the Word’, and how artists had been selected to create art. It is an honour to have my portrait of Jane Austen, made from labels and pins included in the exhibition, particularly with such a local and global dedicated audience (ends 30th Sept 2017).