Saturday, April 19, 2014

Boro at Somerset House

I was lucky to catch the Boro exhibition at Somerset House earlier this week on a quick visit to London. A rare opportunity to see a large number of pieces from one collection. Sitting quietly surrounded by this work I was struck strongly by the time and care that had gone into their survival. Generation after generation layering, piecing and mending with family need at the centre of the work. All those narratives of use running through these domestic wrapping cloths, clothing, floor cloths - every last stitch used to conserve and continue the useful life of the textile.  Of course, the aesthetics of the work moved me too, though the display (mainly on stretcher frames) didn't appeal at all. It is so unusual to see 'poor' textiles primarily because so few survive, but also because of the way that heritage is so often collected and displayed in museums and galleries. We often only get to view the 'best', the most ornate, the rarest.

:: There is a catalogue with some very good photography. 'Boro' continues until 26th April. I would also recommend reading 'Boro: Rags and tatters from the far north of Japan' for more detail about the social and economic context of these textiles.

:: Helen has written an excellent review of the exhibition here.

Friday, March 14, 2014


It's all been a bit quiet in this space recently. Some big deadlines and end-of-winter blues had left me a little wrung out. 

Now we have lighter days and signs of green again, I'm feeling brighter and ready for this happily busy season. 

:: I've been adding to my collection of old unfinished patchwork. See herehere, and here for more examples of this obsession. These scraps have some very interesting text hidden inside, more of which another time.

:: I've scheduled a couple of summer dyeing workshops at my home studio including another indigo day. Details here.

:: I've been using instagram much more of late. Say hello if you're there too.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Monday, February 17, 2014


Photographs taken this weekend in my studio, backyard and allotment. 

There was just a slight shift in the air today that made me think of Spring. The cycles of growth and renewal and all the repetitions that accompany them are about to start again. Sowing, planting, nurturing, processing, dyeing and stitching.

'Repetition changes nothing in the object repeated, but does change something in the mind which contemplates it.' Gilles Deleuze

Saturday, February 08, 2014

studio day

Rain on the window.

Research for an exhibition later in the year.

Dried flax from last summer.

Wool on the line.

:: a little interview with me over here.