This textile piece is from my “finding my way” series. I’ve used water based inks, natural dyes and machine embroidery and music to guide my mark making. I wanted to showcase this piece because it was included in a selection I submitted to the William Morris Gallery when I made it to their shortlist for this years artist in residence. My full proposal included the Jamaican proverb – the new broom sweeps the room clean but the old broom knows all the corners, (there are variations to the proverb in many cultures), but I love the sentiment. “We should strive for a happy blend between the old and the new, combining the freshness of the new with the valuable experience of the old.” Source the National Library of Jamaica.
The proverb reflects my appreciation and respect for the traditional skill of natural dyeing coupled with my interest in contemporary art and design practice and machine embroidery. I am delighted to let you that I am the selected artist in residence. My residency which starts in August will focus on indigo as a natural dye. I will be experimenting with some of Morris’s dye recipes, documenting the process with notes, photographs and samples which I will bind into sample books. I will also run some workshops in indigo dyeing.
The gallery a grade II* listed building and William Morris’s childhood home has been through some wonderful changes recently. Last year it was named Art Fund Museum of the year for its refurbishment works, and also picked up the Museums and Heritage Award for Best Permanent Exhibition. The Works were part of a wider £10 million revamp of the gallery, gardens and surrounding Lloyd Park, creating three new galleries, along with a library, object store and a research and education centre with lift access created to all floors. An extension inspired by Georgian and Victorian orangeries contains a gallery for temporary exhibitions as well as a lovely modern cafe with windows incorporating a Morris ‘Thistle’ pattern and a balcony that overlooks the gardens. Once I was shortlisted, the gallery invited me to use their new library to research my residency objectives. They had prepared some research material on Morris’s approach to textile, pattern making and dyeing which I enjoyed reading in the light, elegant, tranquil space. I made the most of the cafe, the excellent coffee and the garden view during my lunch break. http://www.wmgallery.org.uk
I’ll be sharing a lot more about the residency once it starts. Watch this space!