Which Side of the Line

Which Side of the Line? is the second exhibition of work from the ongoing project Drear Diary, a series of works which originate from journal entries and remade as hand stitched embroideries.

Anyone and everyone following World events will have a lot of emotions about last year.  For the most part I hated 2016.  Which Side of the Line? was my attempt at dealing what was happening whilst trying to make commercial work.

Before that though.

My previous exhibition of embroideries Drear Diary and Other Cheery Tales had given me a bit of a boost.  It meant that I now knew I could create and organise a solo exhibition from scratch.  The work had received a good reaction, people seemed to really like it.  I had entered three of the pictures into a competion, one of them won second prize, another of them had been bought.  Great.  However I needed to reconsider how to get further monetary return which meant finding a bigger venue and making more work that was slightly less weird.

As the year progressed I continuously sidestepped around organising a new show but it was still very important that at least one exhibition of my work was presented in 2016.  I spent much of the Summer working on Useful Tactics and a couple of other connected projects.  I kept chopping and changing my mind about what to make but in the end it seemed most sensible to carry on with the methods I’d been using for years with a slight change of style.

Now is the time to talk a little about politics and art and me.  (Makes a change!)

The Drear Diary and Other Cheery Tales was displayed during the week in the run up to the 2015 UK General Election.  I was unsurprised by the result however I was still very sad (and now look what’s happened!).  It made me resolve to have more of a political dialogue in my work.  My knowledge of politics was resonable though not at a level where I could sustain a well informed arguement.  From then on I persued more knowledge and experience.  I’m still learning but I have a better idea of the workings within British politics now.

These experiences were, as planned, filtering into my work.  There is a taste of that in Which Side of the Line? without being too full on, I hope.  It is that old conflict of feelings where I want to be a sucessful artist who makes a living and a refusal to comprimise my integrity.

The pictures in Which Side of the Line? are journal entries starting from my birthday in 2015 up to the day in November 2016 when Leonard Cohen died.  Instead of using canvasses again, as with Other Cheery Tales, I opted to present the embroideries in Kiko glass frames from nkuku.com*.  To make sure they all fitted in the premade frames all the fabric was cut to the same size, not something I had conciously done before.

An extra step was added in the design process.  Previously I had taken pictures directly from my sketch book/ journal and redrawn them on to the fabric as a guide.  During the course of the year I was given a new tablet with some drawing apps.  Most of the pictures were redrawn digitially before I decided if they could work as an embroidery design.  Quite useful really.

The exhibition was a reasonable sucess.  As always I still have more to do.

*(Nkuku works with “independent businesses, social projects and co-operatives with a focus on building strong business relationships with all of [their] suppliers, so that [they] can work together towards mutual success.”  This company’s website is well worth a visit.)

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