Textile Study Group

artists and tutors sharing ideas imagination and skills

Gwen Hedley

artwork

Basket of pebbles – spot the textiles!

artwork

Sketchbook page

textile

Stitch sampling

textile

Lines of Communication

textile

Lines of Communication detail 1

textile

Lines of Communication detail 2

Artist statement

The shoreline and coastal pathways where I live continue to totally engage me. Walking them sharpens the senses and enables me to see and think with greater clarity.

I still enjoy working with and drawing my shoreline collections. ‘Finds’ include small fragments of wood, stone, metal, ceramic, fabric, plastic etc. - whatever the sea offers me. Time and the elements are transformational, changing structures and surfaces, thereby creating new forms of beauty.

In his exhibition ‘The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman’ at the British Museum, Grayson Perry included four small painted and gilded earthenware tomb figurines, dating from AD 581. He was seduced by the subtle texture of their faded paintwork, ‘their beauty not diminished, but enhanced by 1400 years’, and declared that ‘the unknown craftsman I most love, is age’. Reading this quickened the pulse - I knew exactly what he meant.

My large collection of beach pebbles, bearing rich and varied naturally made marks - lines that are bold, raised, recessed, cellular, in networks, scattered dots and dashes etc., provide creative impetus. I am compelled to draw these marks, noting colour variations, and considering how the marks might have been made. Stitching ensues, and the rhythms and sometimes meditative process of hand stitching always seems appropriate.

Another strand of my work is concerned with the physical book.

Our age of electronic communication is screen-dominated. Increasingly we read our mail ‘on screen’. E-readers offer thousands of books to be read ‘on screen’. Stroking the glass screen turns the page visually - an altogether different tactile experience to that of physically turning an actual paper page.

Unwanted physical books are ultimately pulped. Their pages often have wonderfully aged qualities and text, plus unknown histories........... perhaps a meaningful creative resource? I am currently exploring the combination of discarded book parts with cloth and thread.

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