I’m currently working on the fabric pieces for an exhibition of recycled textiles called ‘Layers of Memory & Meaning’ to be shown in the Greenfield Gallery, Newton Aycliffe in June. Some of the quilts and hangings I’m producing are hand sewn using an assortment of discarded office clothing and its a very satisfying way to work. I’ve always loved tweeds and all kinds of patterned weaves, especially plaid and checked blankets, jackets, skirts and trousers with beautiful names such as houndstooth, herringbone, Harris tweed, Prince of Wales check, twill weave and basketweave, and it’s surprising how commonly they are used in the production of office wear. The names have a hypnotic effect on me and tip me straight into a memory of the Dylan Thomas play ‘Under Milkwood’ with its glorious list of fabrics for sale in the Draper’s shop. Even the word Draper is lovely.
Making the hangings is a slow process with lots of small decisions about stitch length and thread colour, so working forms a type of quiet meditation on the colour, texture and weave of the cloth itself as I chose and cut each piece to suit a particular block. I don’t have a plan in mind, I’m happy reusing the fabrics to make something new and enjoying the beauty of playing with many greys and lovely threads.