Collateral Project

Collateral Project instructions, white fabric and thread

This new embroidery is my contribution to the Collateral Project curated by artist Brigid McLeer. Over a hundred embroiderers have each received a kit of instructions and materials to complete their blocks.

Each embroiderer has the freedom to compete the outline in a stitch of their choice. I chose a form of split stitch using a single strand of 6 stranded embroidery thread. The finishing touch was stitching five bows.

Collateral Project - hand embroidered white thread on silk organza - image of the outline of a body wrapped in cloth
Hand embroidered with white thread

The completed embroidery panel will exhibit at Queen Street Mill, Burnley, Lancashire from 1st – 31st October 2021.

Collateral Project - hand embroidered white thread on silk organza - image of the outline of a body wrapped in cloth
Close up – bows added to the final embroidery
Collateral Project  a whte thread embroidery on whaite cloth showing a bdy in a shroud, photographed at   Queen Street Mill
Collateral Project will be displayed at Queen Street Mill

“For British Textile Biennial 2021 artist Brigid McLeer creates a memorial to the hundreds of workers who die in factories and sweatshops across the world that supply the global garment industry. Made in collaboration with local embroiderers and inspired by a large scale lace panel from the Gawthorpe Textile Collection commemorating the Battle of Britain, the work will be a moving testament to the lives lost to feed the West’s seemingly bottomless appetite for fast fashion. The new embroidered panel will be 450 x 163 cm and around three of its four sides will be a 10cm wide border with a repeated motif. The motif re-draws the repeated pattern of wheat sheaves depicted on the Battle of Britain lace panel, as a repeated pattern of bodies, wrapped in fabric and laid out on the ground, drawn from a photograph of victims taken after the Kader Industrial factory fire in 1993.”

Collateral Project

Collateral is just one of many events taking part in the British Textile Biennial held across Lancashire in October. This is the second piece of embroidery I have created for the British Textile Biennial 2021.

Stitch Your Story Exhibition

Stitch Your Story

This new piece titled ‘A Weaver’s Tale’ is on its way to the Stitch Your Story Exhibition curated by Jamie Chalmers aka Mr X Stitch. The artwork will be mounted into 6 inch embroidery hoops and displayed within Blackburn Cathedral 1-31st October 2021.

Stitch Your Story Exhibition hand embroidered red Lancashire rose
Completed piece

The story behind the about the artwork: ‘A Weaver’s Tale’ – The tale of Mary Nixon:

Mary, a weaver and her husband Tom, an overlooker and union steward, worked in one of the many cotton mills in Blackburn.

Job security in the Lancashire Cotton Mills in the late 1890’s was very precarious. Hazardous working conditions brought about the rise of unions. One fight was to add guards on the ends of the shuttle race to prevent the shuttle shooting out of the end of the loom injuring weavers.

After an accident where a weaver was hit in the face with a flying shuttle, there was a call to strike. The union stewards stepped forward and the cotton mills came out on strike insisting shuttle guards were installed. Eventually the mill owners relented, but the union stewards, their wives and any family member who worked in the mills were all blacklisted. None could find work in Blackburn or the surrounding districts.

Mary and Tom found moved their family and found work in Barnoldswick or ‘Barlick’ where their third child Henry was born.

The decline of the cotton mills in the 1930’s meant another move for Tom and Mary this time to a small farm in the Rossendale Valley. Henry married a local girl and had they had a little girl. – That little girl was my mum.

Size 14 x 14 cm. Hand embroidered and hand stitched with DMC stranded embroidery thread on calico.

This piece forms part of a collection of work based on my Lancashire roots.

Stitch Your Story Exhibition - The final red stitch
The final red stitch

Stitch Your Story

“As part of this year’s biennial we are inviting people across the country and hopefully the globe to share their own story of migration and belonging in a crowd-sourced collection of stitched hoops curated by Jamie Chalmers (Mr X Stitch) featuring representations from people’s journeys and reflections on their personal heritage.

Using a 6” hoop stitchers are encouraged to share the stories of where they ended up where they are now. Whether this journey be across continents or down the street, in a literal depiction or an abstract impression, we invite you to share in stitch how you got there and what your place and community means to you now.

Stitchers will be given free rein to express themselves within their hoops, but the outcome will be to share their personal story in stitch with the Textile Biennial audience, with the installation hung in a mass installation as part of the biennial programme.

The collection of pieces will be hung using ceiling suspension and fishing wire to create an installation that visitors can walk through and explore to create a moving exhibition (quite literally as the air movement in the space will cause the hoops to sway) that people can discover and come to learn not only about the places that are represented, but also the global community of stitchers that have participated.”

Stitch Your Story Exhibition is part of a large programme of events for the British Textile Biennial held across Lancashire in October.