Community Cloth

Added on by Claire Wellesley-Smith.
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The image above is of a piece of work called Sow: Sew, a collaborative textile piece made with sixty local stitchers and the input of many other people across my community who have tended and harvested plants and dyed all the cloth used. It's part of an exhibition of work from community groups involved in The Fabric of Bradford, a two year Hive project I've had the pleasure of co-ordinating. 

The photograph has been taken in one of our dye gardens, which was a piece of waste ground tucked behind buildings in the middle of town, and is now a splash of secret colour. The stories we've unearthed around our city during this project, the shared personal and local histories, and the friendships made have been inspiring. I shall miss it.

Home Ground

Added on by Claire Wellesley-Smith.

 

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I'm adding the final few stitches to pieces for Home Ground, an exhibition opening later this month at the Devon Guild of Craftsmen. The work is inspired by investigations, archive research and community-based projects over the last year around the site of a former local dye works, once the biggest in the world.

I have been regularly walking the perimeter of the site, now post-industrial wasteland, overgrown with weeds, or rather plants out of place. Rosebay willow herb, hawthorn, wild currant, buddleja and yarrow all flourish unchecked and these plants have become my palette of dyes for both wool and thread. Regional variations in this type of liminal plant life, local soil and historical human activity all impact on the colour produced.

I collect these plant materials on my walks and the dyes are worked and absorbed gradually into locally-produced wool. Embedded stitches echo my walking patterns around the site, stitching themselves into the landscape.

Home Ground, a group exhibition exploring local heritage and environment through different crafts - from traditional skills and resources, to contemporary installations is at The Devon Guild of Craftsmen, Bovey Tracey 20th September - 19th November 2014.