Textile Study Group

artists and tutors sharing ideas imagination and skills

Mary Sleigh

Artist statement

I enjoy the actual making process; sampling, being innovative and resourceful in my use of materials, adapting newly-learnt skills, allowing for change in construction, referring to photographs, drawings and scribbled notes. A love of fabrics and fibres, experimenting to find the right materials and working by hand are all important to my practice. I aim to transform the mundane to the special and increasingly incorporates words and poems into my work.

Responding to materials or found objects may trigger a way of working or reveal something unexpected and is important to my way of working. I continue to explore the narratives in the landscape adding to my current work; Cloth Stories. In this series of stitched books, I explore the idea that there's a story in everything and every location has its history. Few places accessible to us are truly wild and untouched and experimenting with ways of defining a place often reveal unexpected personal connections.

My love of fabric and thread started as a child and developed during my career in primary education and then for many years as a Tutor and External Verifier for City & Guilds textile courses. I am passionate that our textile heritage should be celebrated and welcomes opportunities to tutor, mentor and share experiences with those wishing to extend their practice.

I now enjoy the freedom, time and challenge of pursuing my own creative work; I continue to be an active member of the Textile Study Group, writing, teaching and exhibiting throughout the UK and abroad, in Sweden, Canada and most recently Australia and New Zealand. I have also completed several commissions for parish churches.

I continue to enjoy the role of Textile Advisor at Lincoln Cathedral and FAC member, previously at Guildford Cathedral, and now Coventry Cathedral.


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