Maggie's Cancer Charity

I donated a Red Rabbit Paul Smith print today to raise money for Maggie’s Nottingham, they support people affected by cancer. Delighted to say that print 17/150 now belongs to the chair of Nottingham Playhouse Trust. I met some amazing patients and wonderful volunteers. The ladies lunch was hosted by Saint James Hotel, Nottingham and Mark Dennison from Radio Nottingham. If anyone would like to purchase a print they are available to order with a donation to Maggie’s.

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Collaboration 2018

I will be collaborating with BENSON & CLEGG in 2018, using their bespoke label to assemble a portrait of King George VI, (Benson & Clegg are proud to have held the Royal Warrant to His Majesty). King George VI instituted the George Cross award and I will be using the 418 recipients names to assemble the royal portrait. The collaboration will mark the 65th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth's coronation and will be exhibited in the Window at Benson & Clegg, 9 Piccadilly Arcade, Jermyn Street, London SW1Y 6NH, from 1st June - 29th June 2018

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2017 Highlights

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.

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6000 Name tapes

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.

Bank of England at Winchester Cathedral

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). 

Winchester Cathedral - Inspired by the word

Work in progress: 71 words.
A contemporary portrait of Jane Austen for Winchester Cathedral. 71 words from the opening paragraph, Chapter 1 of Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice are woven onto 4000 cotton tapes and assembled in Austen’s face using only dressmaker pins. The background of the canvas is covered with 1000's of nametapes listing the 16 main characters.
Exhibition at Winchester Cathedral from 8th June - 30th September 2017.

2016 Highlights

What a fantastic year! 

It began on Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II birthday with an invitation to exhibit the royal portrait in the window of bespoke tailors Meyer & Mortimer, Mayfair, London. The portrait then toured to Smalley's, a Gentleman's outfitters in Nottingham for the official celebrations in June, followed by an invitation to attend a street party at Bakewell Old House Museum, Derbyshire. The royal portrait made from names taken from a Derbyshire War Memorial then spent the summer at Derby Museum, where residents were thrilled to find WW1 family names in the artwork. Finally in 2016 the portrait was selected for exhibition at the prestigious Bishops Palace, Wells, Somerset. It was here that Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall viewed my work hanging amongst the historic portraits in the Long Gallery. 

Also worth mentioning is my portrait of Sir Winston Churchill, a collaboration with three of Churchill's selected outfitters on Savile Row and St James, London. Known as Britain's 'Best-dressed PM' Churchill's portrait toured to the three windows in the Autumn of 2016. 

My work also appeared on BBC FOUR MAKE #craftbritain in June and in several newspapers and publications including Country Life Magazine and The Radio Times. 2016 concluded with a commission for Bromley House Library, an artwork to celebrate 200 years of this amazing library in Nottingham Market Square. Please feel free to visit the library to view the work in the new reading room. 

I am now looking forward to 2017, and to sharing my work as new projects and exciting collaborations evolve.

Best wishes for a happy and prosperous new year. Joy Pitts.