Thursday, September 21, 2017


Tracy Chevalier joins forces with charity to help prisoners build their self-esteem and hope

“It was a challenge. I had just joined Fine Cell Work. Caroline, the volunteer teacher, asked me to do a square for the quilt and explained what it was about. She said what do you guys dream about when in prison. I said to be honest I don’t dream any more. I haven’t dreamed for years. To me prison is all about madness and chaos and tattoos. Caroline saw my tattoos and said we haven’t got one of those on the quilt. To me tattoos and people are very similar. It tells a story of a time and a place, it’s a permanent marker. It’s like me on this earth. ”Prisoner partaking in the Sleep Quilt project

“Prisoners may initially agree to work with Fine Cell Work because they will be paid, but most of them get far more out of the experience than money … Many inmates suffer from low self-esteem. They have never made anything constructive or beautiful before, and have never been praised. Doing so is like watering a dried-out plant and seeing it come back to life.”Tracy Chevalier

The Sleep Quilt is unlike any other quilt you will have seen. Commissioned by Tracy Chevalier, it is entirely stitched and quilted by prisoners in the UK.

Each of the 63 squares explores what sleep means for them. A moment of escape for some, for others a dark return to all they most regret in life, sleep has a great significance in jail that is only strengthened by the difficulty of finding it in the relentlessly noisy, hot and cramped environment.

By turns poignant, witty, light-hearted and tragic, The Sleep Quilt shines a light on lives that few outside can imagine. An essay by Tracy Chevalier and an Introduction by Katy Emck, Director of Fine Cell Work, the charity that made the quilt possible, as well as many quotations from the people who have embroidered the 63 patches, frame this remarkable work launched by Pallas Athene Books on 31st October.

Each square, printed in full colour, appears on one page so that readers can fully appreciate both the outstanding craftsmanship required (often the fruit of weeks of patient dedication on the prisoners’ part) and the meaning conveyed by the artwork.

All royalties from the sales of the book will go to Fine Cell Work.

“The word ‘sleep’ conjures up memories of when I put my children to bed. ‘Wynken, Blynken, and Nod’ was a favourite bedtime story that I read to them frequently. My sleep quilt tells this story of three children who go fishing for stars in a wooden shoe.”

“I have always suffered with insomnia and often had to resort to using an eye mask… The sleeping woman represents me and my dream – love of the outside, the beach, owning a beach hut and a vintage VW camper van to drive around in and be a free spirit once again.”

“Sleep in prison can be sporadic. It is usually interrupted by thoughts of the past, maybe good ones but also regrets. Thoughts about friends, family and loved ones. Hopes and aspirations for the future. In designing my block I have taken my sleep thoughts and represented them as four hearts, each standing for a family member and their children, and also a close friend. The buttons inside the hearts represent the family members. Across the rest of the design is a scattering of buttons. The smaller ones represent dreams, aspirations and past happy thoughts and events. The large buttons represent the things in life that make it hard to achieve positive goals. However, these buttons can be broken and shattered into smaller particles, given time and the right direction in life.”
About Tracy Chevalier: An American-British novelist, best known for The Girl with the Pearl Earring, her interest in quilting was sparked by her research for a novel, The Last Runaway, and she is now a committed quilter. When the novel was published in 2013, she was contacted by Danson House, a Grade I Listed Palladian Villa in South East London, to curate a quilt show which she decided to call What We Do in Bed. At the same time, she was contacted by ‘Fine Cell Work’ to come and talk about her book to a group of prisoners. This experience made such a strong impression on her that she decided to commission a quilt from the prisoners for her show. It would be called The Sleep Quilt and prisoners were asked to express their feelings about sleep, either in images or words or both.

About Fine Cell Work: a charity and social enterprise that runs rehabilitation projects in thirty British prisons by training prisoners in paid, skilled, creative needlework, undertaken in the long hours spent in their cells, to foster hope, discipline and self-belief.

“I pondered the necessity of prisoners having something worthwhile to do during their long hours of lonely idleness. I wanted that work to be creative, enjoyable, worthwhile and saleable. I was determined that the work should be a professional standard, no whiff of charitable acceptance about it, and should be something of which its creator could be proud and our future buyers wish to own. I wanted the prisoner on release to have as much money as he or she had earned.” Lady Anne Tree, Founder of Fine Cell Work

“As an officer you have to wear two hats. It's a bit of a split personality. With Fine Cell Work you suddenly realise you're a human being and not just a uniform. Prisoners come and talk to you and realise you're a human being too. I am doing something for a worthwhile charity and possibly giving inmates who have an entrenched view of ‘The System’ a different angle to consider”. Officer, HMP Wandsworth

The Sleep Quilt, a collaboration between Tracy Chevalier and charity ‘Fine Cell Work’

Published by Pallas Athene Books

Hardback; 80 colour photographs; 145 x 145 mm 240pp; £14.99

ISBN: 978 1 84368 146 5

Sunday, September 03, 2017


Black Eye Gallery is pleased to announce the September 2017 exhibition:
WABI- SABI by Damien Drew.

The Japanese concept of Wabi-Sabi is an appreciation of a transient and understated beauty in the modest, imperfect, ephemeral or decayed. Drew’s exhibition expresses this notion through his perspective of modern day Japan.

Japan has one of the world’s largest economies and a population that is shrinking due to low birthrates. With employment opportunities predominantly found in large urban centres there has been a marked decline in rural regions. Drew’s images seek to document that which is temporary and to celebrate its beauty in turn. The viewer is invited to consider details and qualities in paired scenes that may be inconspicuous, congruent or contrasting. In a world that is increasingly homogenised through global retail chains, Drew carefully observes
the melancholy beauty of the many towns and villages that have now become neglected.

“We do not dislike everything that shines, but we do prefer a pensive lustre to a shallow brilliance, a murky light that, whether in a stone or an artefact, bespeaks a sheen of antiquity. We love things that bear the marks of grime, soot, and weather, and we love the colours and the sheen that call to mind the past that made them.”

- From Jun'ichirō Tanizaki, ‘In Praise of Shadows’ 1933

Damien Drew is also an award-winning Art Director and Production Designer whose feature film credits include Alien Covenant, Superman Returns, Star Wars, The Great Gatsby and The Matrix films.

Exhibition details – September 5 – 24, 2017
Opening night- Friday September 8, 6-8pm

Mandatory credit line:
From WABI-SABI by Damien Drew, courtesy of Black Eye Gallery.

For inquiries, images and interviews with the artists please contact
Kath Wasiel 0411 806 958

3/138 Darlinghurst Rd, Darlinghurst 2010 02 8084 7541 Tues-Sun 10am- 6pm

Thursday, August 17, 2017


Black Eye Gallery is pleased to announce the August 2017 exhibition
Liminal by Armando Chant

Liminal builds an interest with the potential for engagement that exists with the relationship between imagery and objects that sit within an in-between state of emergence and realisation.

This series proposes an encounter with the liminal image in construction, where there is an exploration and interaction with the blurred boundaries between the real and imaginatively unreal, and images that are in a process of slow and gradual emergence.

Chant depicts an abstract landscape composed of marks and gestures that are indeterminate and indefinable, embodying both bodily contours and vast panoramic gestural landscapes.

“My practice aims to explore and open up potentials for the dressed body to be reframed or represented within an ephemeral and transient context across site and surface, and contribute to another way of experiencing image and body within the disciplines of both art and design.”
– Armando Chant, 2017

About the Photographer: Armando Chant has worked internationally across diverse creative disciplines and industries including fashion and textile design, art direction and curatorial practice. He currently lectures at University of Technology Sydney, for the Fashion and Textiles Program.

Exhibition details – AUG 23- SEPT 3, 2017
Opening night- Thursday August 24, 6-8pm
Mandatory credit line: From Liminal, by Armando Chant, courtesy of Black Eye Gallery
For inquiries, images and interviews with the artists please contact
Kath Wasiel 0411 806 958

3/138 Darlinghurst Rd, Darlinghurst 2010 02 8084 7541 Tues-Sunday 10am 6pm

Tuesday, April 18, 2017


Sue Stone: Faith, 2017 (mixed media, hand/machine stitch, acrylic paint)

Sue Stone: Displaced
April 28 - May 28, 2017
Owen James Gallery, Brooklyn, NY

Time, memory and family are at the heart of Sue Stone’s mixed-media works. She merges the past and the present to connect personal histories and local identities through dream-like narratives. Starting with old family photographs, she interprets and transforms them through techniques that include hand & machine stitched embroidery, fabric collage, writing and painting.

Stone is also deeply influenced by the history of her native Grimsby, England. For many years, Grimsby supported a major seaport and fishing industry, and where Stone’s father was fish merchant. The industry declined over time, but allusions to it remain in her work.  Stone started sewing early on, learning from and working with her mother who was a tailoress until her early death. This sense of loss, and of displacement, in both emotional and economic terms, is an ongoing theme for the artist.

Sue Stone: Fate, 2017 (mixed media, hand/machine stitch, acrylic paint)

Sue Stone: Hope, 2017 (mixed media, hand/machine stitch, acrylic paint)

While she will often make preparatory designs and studies, Stone “draws” her figures by directly stitching on fabric. At times she will use odd swatches from a piece of clothing once worn by the figure she is creating. At other times she carefully creates the figure’s clothing through a series of exquisite stitch techniques. We see parts of the unadorned base fabric come through, an indication perhaps that what lies beneath is as important as what is above. Hand-stitched text, relating a certain figures’ story, will sometimes also be added into the background.

Sue Stone: Remember Me Study #7, 2014 (mixed media, hand/machine stitch, acrylic paint)

Sue Stone: Study for The Boys Go Down To London Town, 2014 (mixed media, hand/machine stitch, acrylic paint)

The figures that populate Stone’s imagery waft back and forth through time. In some works she shows several generations of relatives, all at once but at different ages. For example, in The Boys Go To London Town (2014) we see the artist’s father-in-law, along with his own father and uncle. They are dressed for a jaunt about Grimsby, with a classic car from the period. However, they are standing in a present-day London street. Interestingly, sometimes the location is Grimsby Street, in London’s East End. Sharing the same name as her home town, the area in London has also seen seen better days in the past, but is now currently undergoing gentrification as one of the city’s more interesting artistic hubs. Stone photographs graffiti during her travels, and has recently been incorporating it into her works. Graffiti can serve as a liberating symbol, a statement of fact to the world that an artist once existed in a certain place at a certain time. In this same way Stone often incorporates the image of a fish, a personal symbol of Grimsby’s economic past, and of her own. This combination of the real and the unreal, and of the then and the now, is also a balance between playfulness and intimacy.

Sue Stone: Study For The Unknown Statistic (Never Forget), 2014 (mixed media, hand/machine stitch, acrylic paint)

Sue Stone: The Boys Go To London Town, 2014 (mixed media, hand/machine stitch, fabric paint)

Sue Stone is currently the chair of The 62 Group of Textile Artists, an international select membership of textile artists. She studied fashion at St. Martins School of Art and embroidery at Goldsmiths College, London. 

Check the Owen James Gallery for more details of this exhibition, and much more.

All imagery and text were kindly supplied by the Owen James Gallery.

Sue Stone: When Will This Ever End?, 2014 (mixed media, hand/machine stitch, acrylic paint)

Saturday, January 21, 2017

SCREWED by Mary Mazziotti

Mary Mazziotti: Eagle, 2016 (hand embroidery and applique on vintage textile)

I make memento mori (remember you must die) primary in textiles. Notwithstanding the seriousness of the subject I try to lean more towards wit than morbidity. 

SCREWED is a response to the “election” of an unhinged con man with the connivance of a hostile foreign power.  And I’m appalled and disgusted that so many Americans fell for his misogynistic, xenophobic, racist blather. The path he’s leading us down will not make American Great Again. It’s a death sentence for the best principles of democracy. Nations can have life spans, just as people do. SCREWED is a memento mori for America.

SCREWED, can be found along with a range of other work by Mary, at her comprehensive website:

Mary Mazziotti: George Washington, 2016 (hand embroidery and applique on vintage textile)

               Mary Mazziotti: Lincoln, 2016 (hand embroidery and applique on vintage textile)

Mary Mazziotti: Mt Rushmore, 2016 (hand embroidery and applique on vintage textile)

Mary Mazziotti: Statue of Liberty, 2016 (hand embroidery and applique on vintage textile)

Mary Mazziotti: Thomas Jefferson, 2016 (hand embroidery and applique on vintage textile)

Mary Mazziotti: Uncle Sam, 2016 (hand embroidery and applique on vintage textile)

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

New Quilting at the Rheged Centre

A new exhibition at Rheged, Cumbria’s foremost arts centre, supported by Arts Council England, will challenge perceptions of quilt making this spring, revealing a strong and vibrant contemporary craft form.

New Quilting, an exclusive exhibition at Rheged, will reveal the new face of contemporary quilting, an art form now just as likely to be found hanging on a gallery wall or urban loft apartment as it is in a rural farmhouse. Quilts by over 30 national and Cumbrian makers have been selected for their craftsmanship and design, colour and innovation. The unique story behind each piece will also be told in the exhibition, either through accompanying sketches and material revealing how each quilt came to be, or through the storytelling ability of the quilt itself.

Alicia Merrett: The Island

John Stokes, Arts Manager at Rheged, said “Quilting has been part of the needlework tradition in Europe since the fifth century and our exhibition celebrates those continuing the tradition today. Quilting is alive and kicking in the modern art world and from handmade fashion to 3D quilts, modern, traditional, pictoral and geometric, visitors will discover the handiwork and dedication required to produce these extraordinary creations. The work which goes into producing each quilts is immense. One quilt, ‘Log Cabin Craziness’ features more than 40,000 pieces of fabric and took 5 months for the artist, Joy Salvage, to complete.”

Ramona Conconi: CMYK

Thanks to funding from Arts Council England, New Quilting will also incorporate a community arts project with locally based artist Maddi Nicholson. She will work with the Levens Quilters group to produce a new piece of contemporary artwork that uses quilting as its medium. The themes of the piece will be local folklore, with more details to be revealed soon.

The exhibition is open to the public from Friday 3 March till Sunday 23 April, from 10am to 5pm daily. Admission is £2.

The complete list of artists: Abigail Booth, Alicia Merrett, Eileen Blood, Elfriede Grooten, Elizabeth Brimelow, Eszter Bornemisza, Greta Fitchett, Helen Howes, Janet Twinn, Jen Kelson, Joy Salvage, Judith Wilson, Kate Crossley, Kate Dowty, Marijke van Welzen, Marita Lappalainen, Michael Fitchett, Monika Steiner, Ramona Conconi, Sandie Lush, Sandy Chandler, Sara Impey, Susan Briscoe, Trudi Wood, Vera and Ctibor Skoček , Janice Gunner, John Winn, Sheena Norquay, Margery Milnes, Cas Holmes, Christine Chester

Vera and Citibor Skocek

About Rheged
Rheged is located just off the M6 (J40) at the northern gateway to the Lake District, which is the birthplace of modern rock climbing and home to some of the world’s most famous mountaineers. Rheged is a family run centre for Arts, Food and Family activities, all of which are of this place. Rheged is also a building of architectural merit, with one of the largest grass covered roofs in the country. The Gallery at Rheged won Gallery of the year in the 2016 Cumbria Life Culture awards.


Michael Fitchett: Shambles

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Fiber Fusion Travelling Exhibition

Deborah Taylor: I Like The Way You Dance

The Surface Design Association of Washington State announces the Opening of Fiber Fusion, a year-long juried exhibition and celebration of textiles and surface design techniques, at the VALA Art Center in Redmond. The exhibition opened at Redmond Town Center’s VALA Art Center on November 10 and runs through January 15, 2017.

Axford: Counterpoint 1

A public Opening Reception at VALA was held on Saturday, November 19. Rock Hushka, lead curator at Tacoma Art Museum and one of the Fiber Fusion jurors, were giving a talk at the Opening.

Arisa Brown: Trepa

Additional locations include: Northwind Arts Center in Port Townsend (February 2-26) and Schack Arts Center in Everett. (March 10 - April 3). The debut location was the Gallery at the Park in Richland, WA.

Claire Jones: Whole Surface Vitality 2

Fifty-four artists were selected for the four-city exhibition. Fiber Fusion jurors were Layne Goldsmith, University of Washington Professor of Art and past chair of the Fibers Program, Young Chang, MFA in Fiber and Owner­­–– Gallery IMA, Seattle and Rock Hushka, MA Art History and Director of Curatorial Administration, Tacoma Art Museum.

Nancy Loorem-Adams: Birth Of The Grid

Local Members Selected
Local Eastside chapter members whose work has been accepted include: Christina Fairley Erickson, Bellevue; Gale Whitney, Bellevue; Crystal A Edwards, Redmond; Maura Donegan, Issaquah; and Rebecca Wachtman, Renton.

Gwen Lowery: Wheels

Additionally, GJ Gillespie, Kirkland and Erika Carter, Renton will display work at the Schack Arts Center location. In conjunction with the exhibition, several of the Eastside members will have additional pieces on display at VALA.

Jeannie McMacken: Dinner At La Belle Equipe Smoke Dress

Eighty-eight artists representing 39 Washington cities and towns entered the competition with 246 entries. Artist techniques include fabric manipulation, hand and machine embroidery, painting, wet felting, shibori, bojagi, and botanical dyeing. Some of the unusual materials used include stainless steel, sock monkeys, gunpowder, vintage kimono, acrylic, newspapers, sand, wood, gut and hair.

Seiko Purdue: Bullet Cloth

Workshops Scheduled
Concurrent with Redmond’s Surface Design celebration, VALA will host a mini-workshop on dyeing and embroidery at the Redmond Senior Center. The instructor, Christina Fairley Erickson, also serves as the Executive Director of the Fiber Fusion exhibition. For information and registration contact the Redmond Sr. Center: or call 425-556-2314

Geraldine Warner: Cryoscape

Surface Design
Surface design art uses elements of surface design—which includes dyeing, painting, printing, stitching, embellishing, quilting, weaving, knitting, beading, felting, and paper making— or that in some way manipulates or alters the surface of a “textile.” A textile is defined as any material that takes on the properties of cloth. Work can be functional or non-functional, and can be for the wall, the body or as decoration.

Joyce Wilkerson: Cloth Shadow Line

The Fiber Fusion exhibition is underwritten by the Surface Design Association and sponsored by Blick Art Materials.
The Surface Design Association is a non-profit arts organization founded in 1977 and is comprised of artists, students, educators, gallery owners and curators. It has 215 members in Washington, and over 3,000 internationally.
VALA:- VALA (Venues for Artists in the Local Area) Eastside, was founded in 2010 by Jessica Kravitz and John Lambert based in Redmond, Washington. VALA’s mission to connect artists to artists, artists to the community, and the community to art is achieved by featuring local artists who are particularly interested in connecting to the community in meaningful ways.
For more information about Fiber Fusion visit:,

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

No Serial Number - Eco Print

No Serial Number - A new magazine to me, and probably a new magazine to others. No Serial Number is on its seventh issue with a theme that is probably going to appeal to a lot of those who visit this site.

Dyes, fabrics, fibres are a central focus of this magazine, their central core in fact. It is interesting to have an arts magazine that embraces tradition and innovation within textiles, a number have tried before and never quite got the balance right, but No Serial Number seem to have got it right, even to the point of printing on recycled paper, something that is sure to appeal to many of you out there.

This new winter issue of No Serial Number focuses on eco printing, something that is gaining in popularity, gaining momentum within textile art and textile craft, and gaining space within the textile industry. The subtleties of the visual effects of natural dyeing and printing are also beginning to be appreciated. High, dense colour has its place, but so too does textured low-keyed colour. The complexity of natural dyeing is a near art form in its own right.

This issue of No Serial Number has reports on dye workshops, foraging for plants to use in printing, eco felt, practical dyeing details, recipes, experimenting, weaving, sustainability, traditions, All subjects connected to eco dyeing and printing, all subjects with long traditions, but also subjects with a very healthy contemporary feel and understanding to them.

I must admit, this is a great magazine for anyone interested in taking an holistic approach to textiles. It definitely has a feel of being connected to both past and present, to both textile art and textile craft, of being both global and regional, individual and tribe. Excellent!

For more information about No Serial Number, which is a pretty cool name by the way, check their website:
Also check their social media: 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Rita Summers - The Making of Mary Mordaunt

Trapped, constricted, tied down by societies rules of norm. It is a shared history for many, and depressingly a largely female one. Whilst many men had at least some room for manoeuvre within their lot, some could work their way into different fields, different positions, some could emigrate, start afresh, anew, women could only really change their circumstances under the shadow of another. 

The men in their life, whether father, brother, husband, son, often set the parameters of a womans life, and the opportunities, or lack of them. Women had few if any outlets for growth, and were expected to support and compliment the world of the men in their life, that role was rarely reciprocal.

I know from the stories in my own family history, as well as that of others, the staggering amount of women, generation after generation after generation, who lived in frustration, angry at the tiny world they were deemed to need. Many of them more sharply aware that they were more talented, more energetic, more dynamic than many of the men that surrounded them, yet, powerless to make a significant mark of their lives, to drive it in a direction that suited them, to have a purpose that didn't involve household and family.

Which inevitably leads us to Rita Summers and The Making of Mary Mordaunt. Rita Summers is a mixed media artist who produces work in a range of mediums from textiles to books, from fashion to art prints, and assemblages. She uses eco printing and dyeing, as well as mixed media techniques, and stitching and drawing.

The Making of Mary Mordaunt project was an important one for Rita, as a woman, and perhaps more specifically as a contemporary woman. Rita is fully aware that the contemporary world is in many ways a different place than it has been for so many countless generations of women, but she is also aware that in many ways it is still exactly the same. So in some respects, the Mary Mordant project reflects the past constriction in the role of a woman as individual, but can equally reflect the present constriction that many women still find themselves in within own present world.

I am going to allow Rita to give the detailed description and purpose of The Making of Mary Mordaunt, in her own words. There is little I would want to change or add, so it seems fitting.

Mary Mordaunt was a young woman in the early 1900's who, like everyone, had hopes and dreams that she put on hold for family and financial reasons.  She deeply wanted purpose in her life, beyond the usual daily routine activities.  Sometimes the frustration became almost more than she could bear, and she would feel herself unravelling.  Her dilemma is an age-old one, especially for women, even today.  The vintage clothing I've repurposed, the torn silk, the rust - all these express in visual form who she was and how she felt.  The vintage suitcase represents both her desire to travel and see the world, and her willingness to drop everything to be with those she loved, even if it meant putting her own wishes on hold.  The shredded paper symbolizes how she felt when she was torn between her responsibilities and her dreams.  Mary Mordaunt's story could be anyone's, including mine!

Just like to say a big thankyou to Rita for the opportunity to feature Mary Mordant, it was both a pleasure an an honour, and also to give credit where credit is due, Mary Mordant being a finalist in the national Bibliography Art Award 2016, in Port Fairie, Victoria, Australia. 

Rita has a website: She can also be found on social media sites: twitter, facebook

One final note, the imagery for this article was supplied by the artist, and you really do need to ask her permission before sharing any of the imagery. Thanks

I leave you with the final few words Rita penned regarding Mary Mordaunt:

a ticking clock
shreds time

my secret dreams

my patience ripped

can hope emerge

or is this all there is