Textile Study Group

artists and tutors sharing ideas imagination and skills

Mary Sleigh


Desert, Beach & Bush

Collection of objects found on expeditions in Africa. 54 x 68 x 4 cm. Found objects, stitch, mixed media.
Photo credit Roger Sleigh.


Folded Books

Book forms opening out to reveal nature notes. Leather, water colour paper, drawn images & text.
Photo credit Andrew Sleigh.


Gathering Thorns

Two of a series of dyed & stitched leather pouches.
Photo credit Roger Sleigh.


In Tatters

Landscape in the form of a triptych celebrating the life and work of the artist’s uncle. 25 x 35 x 2 cm. Fragments from a deconstructed wallet, handmade felt & stitch.
Photo credit Roger Sleigh.


Gallery Box

One of seven boxes displayed on a coastal road, Norfolk; an invitation to be curious, dwell a moment and see familiar objects with fresh eyes.
Photo credit Roger Sleigh.


Flight 224

One of a series celebrating individual journeys and places. Mixed media, maps, feathers & stitch.
Photo credit Roger Sleigh.

Artist statement

Much of the joy in what I create is in the actual making process; allowing work to change during construction. Uncovering the unknown and unexpected and concern with materials and found objects are key elements in my way of thinking and interpretation.

For many years I have collected and kept items of no intrinsic value, that have significance for me, and my current work is an extension of that process: finding, selecting, sorting, remembering, ordering and presenting.

My collections are sources of inspiration and offer me opportunities to make new work: Gathering, a series of small containers held in the hand speak of the intimate moment of delight in finding and keeping, Desert Beach & Bush is based on selection, arrangement and presentation; transforming the ordinary into something special.

Roger Cardinal expresses this so well in The Cultures of Collecting:
'Every acquisition, whether crucial or trivial, marks an unrepeatable conjuncture of subject, found object, place and moment.'

I feel passionately that our own craft and textile heritage, as well as those of other cultures, should be celebrated and passed on to future generations. This aspect of my work is enriched by revisiting people and places and repeated study of my own collections gathered during many years of travel and study in Africa and India; going back to the familiar and seeing again with new eyes, their innovation, use of materials and construction skills.

Having taught C&G courses for many years, I am now enjoying the freedom, time and challenges of pursuing my own creative work. I continue to be an active member of the Textile Study Group, exhibiting and teaching throughout the UK and abroad, in Sweden, Canada and most recently Australia and New Zealand.


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