Fragments

Fragments is my latest piece of needlework, stitched and assembled during the last two years of Lockdown.

Lockdown was a challenge for me in many ways. Time stood still, my creativity was stagnated and I felt I needed a project to escape the world outside. The solution was to create components for an artwork that I knew would eventually evolve and take shape.

Fragments - hand stitched quarter inch hexagons in eco dyed cotton cloth - reverse of the work.
Fragments – Back of the work.

Non-essential shops were closed so the cloth was sourced from within my own home: old garments, bed and household linens.

Each piece was cut up and dyed during the summer months with plants from my Lockdown garden.

These hexagons formed part of a portable project that kept me focused and occupied.

Hand stitched over quarter inch hexagons with red thread. Started during the first UK Lockdown in March 2020.

Size 20 x 20cm. Red cotton thread, cotton cloth.

Fragments - hand stitched quarter inch hexagons in eco dyed cotton cloth.
Fragments

This piece forms part of a body of work created during Lockdown in the UK.

Bound Part 1

Bound part 1 - vintage kitchen utensils wrapped in vintage cream cloured thread and red sylko thread

Bound Part 1, is a new piece of work featuring pieces from my collection of vintage kitchen utensils.

For generations women have been bound to the home and a life of domesticity. This piece is a celebration of the tools of their trade.

Beautiful Skyline products manufactured in the Lancashire town of Burnley, well-worn wooden spoons and unusual utensils.

Each piece tells a story through the imperfections, scars and dents it has collected through use. Artwork is mounted onto a cotton tea-towel woven in Quarry Bank Mill .

Size 31 x 38 cm. Vintage kitchen utensils, hand bound with vintage crochet and Sylko threads.

Bound part 1 - vintage kitchen utensils wrapped in vintage cream cloured thread and red sylko thread
Bound Part 1
Bound part 1 - vintage kitchen utensils wrapped in vintage cream cloured thread and red sylko thread
Bound in vintage threads with a hint of my favourite Vintage red Sylko thread

This piece forms part of a body of work about my Lancashire roots.

Worker Bees

Close up of the hand embroidered bees in yellow and slate grey

One of the many things I have rediscovered in the past year is my love of books and in particular reading Lancashire dialect poetry. This new piece of work titled Worker Bees was designed after reading one of these poems.

A little about ‘Worker Bees’.

The growth of cotton manufacturing during the industrial revolution changed the landscape of Northern towns forever. Workers lived in rows of terraced homes within earshot of the Mill they worked in, each long day of work starting with the call of the factory bell. By 1860 there were 2650 cotton mills in Lancashire, employing more than 440 000 people and producing half of the World’s cotton.

The outer border of the piece features an excerpt from a poem by Lancashire Dialect poet W. M. Billington – first published in The Blackburn Times in July 1864. The poem tells the tale of a chap who overslept and was abruptly awoken by the sound of the factory bells.
The central panel of worker bees has been symbolic of Manchester’s historic textile industry since 1842.

In the 1800’s Manchester was full of cotton mills and hundreds of hard-working people went to work in these buildings. The mills came to be described as ‘hives of activity’ because they were so busy, and the employees were likened to worker bees as they put so much effort into their jobs.

Worker Bees - Reverse of the work in progress - wooden reels of vintage threads in yellow and slate grey and the reverse of hand embroidered bees
Reverse of the work
Worker Bees -hand embroidered in vintage threads in yellow and slate grey
Worker Bees
hand embroidered words around the outer border, words in Lancashire dialect from a poem written in 1864
Hand embroidered words from a poem written in 1864

This piece is a nod to James and Jane Nixon, my ancestors who worked as weavers in the Mills in Blackburn at the time this poem was written.

Worker Bees is part of a body of work about my Lancashire roots.

Size 11.75 x 11.75 cm. Hand embroidered and hand stitched using vintage Sylko threads onto cotton cloth which has been eco rust printed.