Textile Study Group

artists and tutors sharing ideas imagination and skills

Sarah Burgess

Artist statement

"I work in order not to sleep walk through my life” Zadie Smith (Radio4)"

My work helps me to stop, pay attention to my life and the world, to reinforce my sense of enquiry, anger, wonder and determination to do something – to leave a mark.

Recently it has felt important to comment on some of the powerful issues facing our world; finding a language to communicate and explore, provoke and subtly draw attention. Working with a theme of sea level rise due to global warming my work was literally drowned in dye during the DIS/rupt exhibition with the idea that it would change unpredictably; the acceptance of risk being fundamental physical and conceptual elements of the piece.

Fragility and resilience recur; subjects which appear delicate or damaged but endure against the odds; plant tendrils, safety pins and first aid kits, ceramic shards washed out of an old refuse tip, aspects of stroke and dementia with loss of language and old gloves. Text also appears, both readable and unreadable.

I use stitch to define, draw with a different quality of line, emphasise, bind and build dense thickets.

I find man-made detritus particularly powerful and moving - something about loss … the traces we leave … evidence of time and place…

Recent experience as organiser and co-curator of the Textile Study Group's DIS/rupt project and touring exhibition emphasised the creative stimulus of partnerships and the fun and excitement of developing ideas with a committed team.

On finishing my college teaching, where I taught students in Further and Higher Education, I completed an MA at Manchester School of Art. I live in rural Derbyshire, amongst woods and water, actively engaged in woodland management and industrial archaeology.

Mentoring and teaching are a hugely powerful stimulus to my own creativity. It is a privilege to be given an insight into the work, thinking and practice of other creative people and I find our conversations and exchange of ideas fascinating and rewarding.


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