Kay Greenlees PSG :: The Bankfield Museum

During the 1990s, Bankfield Museum developed a series of major initiatives that included new galleries, exhibitions and education programmes. These were intended to increase access to the museum and its collections. Each project developed organically in response to specific needs and opportunities that presented themselves. Collaborative practice and a relational approach were integral to each initiative and to development as a whole.

Artist led workshops were an important aspect of the education programme at Bankfield throughout this time. These workshops had gradually evolved from one day project sessions to include two, three and four day courses that sought to encourage individual creative practice. This diversification reflected not only the Museum’s development but also that of its users, particularly education participants. By 2000, it was clear that there was both a need and an opportunity to develop something a little more educationally demanding; something that would stimulate and encourage the personal practice of a small group of individuals. The extended course led by Hilary Bower was the result of this process.

As a Museum, it is always satisfying to display new work that has been inspired by the collections. It demonstrates the contemporary relevance of historic material and provides new insights and understandings into their significance.

'Underrated Treasures' by Kay Greenlees
‘Underrated Treasures’ 2004
Photography by Jerry Hardman-Jones

For many years now the ideas underpinning my work have been inspired by the collections in the Bankfield Museum. I was lucky to be selected to work with others on a course under the mentorship of Hilary Bower. This specified the museum collections as a starting point for our ideas. This exciting opportunity allowed me to work from the reserve collections and permanent displays. Typically, several items inform the resultant piece and I often work by exploring a ‘sense of place’.

'The Inheritance' by Kay Greenlees
‘The Inheritance’ 2005
Photography by Jerry Hardman-Jones

‘Underrated Treasures’ is the title of my current body of work which refers to the items of haberdashery as well as the women who used them. The work seeks to relocate the idea of women as workers with the objects and tools of their trade.

Enamelling and Hatpin Departments, Charles Horner Workshops
Calderdale MBC Libraries, Museums and Galleries

In ‘Veiled Ladies’, ideas of mass production and women’s labour come together, making reference to a sculpture by Bazzanti as well as acting as a metaphor for the countless hours of women’s time spent in workshops. The ideas were inspired by the photographs of the women working in the Charles Horner collection: home of the beautiful ‘Dorcas’ silver thimbles and sparkling pins. In presenting this as an installation I hope that it creates its own special ‘sense of place’.

'Veiled Ladies' by Kay Greenlees in Creative Dialogues

detail of 'Veiled Ladies' by Kay Greenlees

‘Veiled Ladies’
Installation size: 26 feet x 8 feet at maximum points.
Touring Panels: 2 panels 54 x 33 ins, 1 panel 54 x 21 ins.
Media: Paper, waxed tissue paper, photocopy, pins and stitch.

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