Friday, 24 June 2022

Baggage packed


Cultural Shifts

'just a little footnote to show how the mail order emotions are all packed and ready!!

Emotional Copes

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

Emotional Copes


   These are from the Forget Me Not project from 2020 and form the second half of the mail order emotion section, they are the Emotional Copes. I didn't know how I was coping during lockdown and so these are perhaps uncomfortably personal pieces and some of the oddest I have ever made !!!


   A cope is a cape like garment worn mostly but not exclusively by members of the Christian church. It is a flat semi circle with a fabric tab fastening at the front and on the back often has a panel or tab which has decoration symbolic to the wearer. In some cathedrals you can still find the large semicircular chests that they were kept in.

  In order of appearance here we have :

1. 'I'm Fine'. Gold organza, gold gallon ribbon, pins and red beads. (above)

2.' Pocket Full'. Silk  gold gallon ribbon, silk fortune teller and pockets of herbs. (embroidered braille along the top edge says "ring a ring of roses".

3. 'Im Sorry'. Silver Organza on silk, silver gallon ribbon, beads and embroidery.

  4. 'Shaky Hands'. Silver metal organza, silver gallon ribbon, embroidery and fabric printouts of a benefit letter. 

5. 'Sleep'. Gold metal fabric, gold gallon ribbon, beads, gold fringe and naturally shed cat fur (it was a hot summer and he was okay with it !)

 It was the play on words that appealed to me but I also liked the idea of the symbolic embroidery on the back. Each of mine has a simple 'forget-me-not' embroidery for both the project and for my name. These are of course at twelfth scale like the Cultural Shifts ( see previous posts).

Monday, 6 June 2022



   As a rule I don't generally put my medical work on this blog as I don't want to scare off the unwary! However it has been taking up a lot of headspace and so rather than neglect things over here I will share some technical details from my most recent piece for Imperial College, 'SomeBody'.

  The work here is from a medical model which is being performed for young people in an anti knife crime initiative.The basis for the visuals is as ever historical and contemporary textile techniques used as metaphors for the anatomy.

  Buttonholes become stab wounds, rouleaux loops become blood vessels, 18th century frills are muscles, silk purses become digestive organs and origami becomes heart and lungs.

  There is a series over on the Thread Management blog (linked in the side bar) featuring it in more detail.

Thursday, 2 September 2021

Spare Parts


 Paul Craddock has just published his book "Spare Parts: A Surprising History of Transplants". His extensive research into the history of the techniques of surgery found us both examining antique embroideries at the V&A museum and later led to filming me stitching cigarette paper. 

This post shows that film    

In the film clip above Paul discusses what is was all about.

and now you can buy the book!

Friday, 19 February 2021

Forget Me Not, pt.5.


'Go Out Don't Go Out'. Cultural Shift no.5.

 The last of the little mail order shifts looks at the chaos surrounding retail and lockdown restrictions. It features an embroidered Google map of central London, 'temporarily closed' shop signs and a market stall of masks made from internet memes, tweets and  cultural images. The words embroidered across the top reflect the reaction of Londoners to being berated by the PM during the summer of 2020 for not going back to work.

London is temporarily closed,

Marylebone High street embroidered onto a vintage silk scarf, like those made during WW2.

...that's how we felt about it,

The map being embroidered.

Thursday, 18 February 2021

Forget Me Not, pt.4.


 'LIV. A Nightingale Sang in Barclay's Square', cultural shift 4.

Money and the NHS....homemade scrubs and inadequate PPE.....hospitals being built to impress but only treating fifty four patients....pockets and mass produced clothing....

 Cultural Shift no 4. is made from a scrap of 'scrub' cotton with a mask apron in fluid resistant fabric. The apron has 54 pockets each embroidered in 'cross' stitch roman numerals, just to make sure that most people don't understand 'the numbers'.

I sutured the cuffs..


....and didn't forget to LIV.

Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Forget Me Not, pt 3.


 This delicate paper silk shift is 'Not in Public'.

   In removing touch from my life social distancing has also removed inappropriate touch from my life. Men can no longer try and touch me on the train or in social situations, they have to keep their distance. Many women will have felt relief from this persistent menace but many will also have been subjected to increased abuse in private.


This shift began as an outfit to wear in the supermarket with spikes all over. As I layered the spikes down the front I realised that they also looked like medieval 'breast bags', a breast supporting modification to shifts which is still apparent in the traditional clothing of women in southern India.

I spread embroidered spikes along the hem and sleeves with 'keep-out' symbols on the sides.


This shift has the additional accessory of a double sided mask-mirror, one side with an embroidered black eye....


 ...the other with a brave pouty lipstick mouth

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Forget Me Not, pt 2.


 Following on from the previous post on my Cultural Shifts  I present the second one of five: 'Social Distance'. 

 All the shifts have extra long sleeves to give them, if scaled up, a span of two meters and this one has that embroidered onto paper labels on each cuff. I was horrified at how quickly large corporations were trying to sell themselves as our friends at the start of the pandemic whilst profiting from their advantage over small businesses, I felt that they were feeding on us as we sat at home helpless.

 You may notice the buff and black signature colouring of this red-edged linen shift with it's smiling vampire logo. The same entomology pins as before hold the mantra in place.

Monday, 15 February 2021

Forget Me Not ,part one.



So, what's it like not being able to touch other people for months on end? What do you feel about the world when you only interact with the packaging of things you bought online?  What is reality when you can only watch the suffering of others on a laptop screen?

 It has taken me a long time to be able to make any new work but with funding from the UK Arts Council I have developed the Forget Me Not project. There are three parts and this is the first section called 'Copes and Shifts'; a book of twelfth scale garments. It  references the couture garment sample books of the late 19thC which Paris couturiers used to show their ideas to clients abroad. This however is a book of Cultural Shifts and Emotional Copes to inhabit from afar.

 The first Cultural Shift is called 'Awake'.
  Shifts were an undergarment worn by all women as underwear until the 20thC. and the pattern for this one was found in the Janet Arnold 'Patterns of Fashion' books.
  Made from an antique linen handkerchief this little shift is embroidered with a weeping eye and looks at Elizabethan culture, activism and shame. I have a long fascination with the embroidered eyes on early modern embroidery and in particular the 'Rainbow' portrait of Elizabeth 1st with its' symbolic eyes and ears on the dress. In that portrait she is also depicted wearing a very unusual and little known garment called a conch. This is essentially a super fine shawl with a wired edge at the top, a very expensive and elite garment.I made this tiny one in cotton organdie and lightly embroidered around the edges. The word 'awake', embroidered in detached buttonhole stitch is pinned with an entomology pin to the front of the shift.

I decided to keep the original embroidery of the hanky on the back of the shift with it's little forget-me-nots.


Friday, 22 May 2020

Faery Fellers

 I was asked a while back to submit a piece of work to a project devised by the poet Tom Sharp. He has written an extraordinary piece called 'The Weeping Cufflinks' revealing the true and otherworldly nature of the financial markets and city traders.He called together artists from many disciplines to create their own response to this and then the virus struck.....Not to be put off by this the works are now being shown initially on an instagram account 'Faery Fellers' with a website to follow.

 This copy of the Financial Times is quite clearly the property of Christina Rossetti's goblins, in fact the only legible words on it are 'come buy' with the terrible consequences of greed being hidden under ink. The tell tale berries are growing through the header though, dark and addictive, the fragile paper sagging under the hidden glama of the trader fae. It is a rare glimpse of reality, the correlation between paper and money and human commodities. This copy had been left on a tree stump....on April 1st.


As the scroll rolls on.... for future reference the specific links to instagram are as follows...


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