20,000 Used Labels at The Lally Gallery, Erewash Museum

For 15 years Joy Pitts has gathered used labels from local charity shops, unpicking labels from the neck of rag garments. The 20,000 used labels in this exhibition have all been gathered from Ilkeston; therefore local residents were once walking around in these garments. It took five years to gather sufficient red labels to produce the smaller Ayrshire Cow. Joy’s award winning ‘Dairy Cow’ work, which is made up of 5,000 used garment labels, is on display in the window at Ilkeston’s Sue Ryder shop on Bath Street for two weeks to accompany the exhibition. A highlight of the exhibition is a 1.3 metre Homing Pigeon assembled from 466 World War One names taken for the Cenotaph in Ilkeston Market Place. The image is a tribute to the men and inspired by the thousands of homer pigeons that lost their lives during the First World War when they were used to transfer important and life-saving messages.

Recent work includes a Commission for fashion designer Paul Smith and selection for The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. Joy’s latest project is a portrait of Her Majesty the Queen to celebrate her 63-year reign.

The exhibition ‘20,000 Used Labels’ continues at The Lally Gallery, Erewash Museum, Ilkeston, DE7 5JA from 11th Sept – 30th Oct 2015. The Museum is FREE to enter and is open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday 10am until 4pm and is situated just off the Market Place.



Varnishing Day - Royal Academy 2014

It’s an enormous privilege to be exhibiting amongst established artists and Royal Academicians. Eileen Cooper, Keeper of The Royal Academy selected the portrait from 12,000 submissions. The work is hung on the east wall of the Large Weston Room, which is dominated by portraiture.

Visit the RA site

Read Nottingham evening post article

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition selected 2014

New portrait selected from 12,000 submissions for The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2014.

Brow, cheek, nose, jaw, ear, lips, neck is a portrait of Jane, a Leicestershire dairy farmer with 130 milking cows in her herd. The image is created by pinning thousands of garment labels onto canvas to reflect facial anatomy and the patterns produced by hair and clothing. Jane has evolved from a process of assembling 30,000 used labels, and questions the idea of branding by literally describing specific facial features. The navy blue background label is woven with the words, ‘part of a two piece set’, and refers to a second portrait of an Ayrshire calf reared by Jane on the farm.