Red garment labels are scarce in second hand circles and it took five years to gather sufficient used labels to produce Red Cow. The work evolved following my visit to a farm to study pedigree Ayrshire cattle, dairy farming and new milking technologies. The farm in Somerby, Leicestershire, has 120 Ayrshire cows; their milk is used to produce (the world-famous) Stilton cheese. The Ayrshire is both practical and pretty, with her smart red-and-white coat and is often described as being any shade of red and white with brown. The used labels in this collection reflect these colour ways and were gathered between 2003-2013, the labels are assembled on canvas using only dressmaker pins.
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.
9th July - 25th September 2016
Delighted that the Queen Elizabeth portrait constructed using WW1 names taken from the Cenotaph at Ilkeston Market Place is available to view at Derby Museum this summer.