Unfortunately our annual Christmas “bring and share” lunch did not take place this year but we were still able to enjoy a talk by a surprise speaker over Zoom. Thirty five members took part and two guests, Catherine, Vernice’s friend from the Maidenhead & Windsor branch and my friend, Pascale who was sitting in her workroom in Luxembourg!
What a privilege it was to hear Alice Kettle who is Professor of Textile Art at Manchester Metropolitan University and the current President of the Embroiderers’ Guild.
Alice started by telling us all about the wonderful wall hanging she created for the Discovery Centre in Winchester in 2007. It was so enormous, being 16 x 3 metres she could not lift it and had to stitch it on site with the public watching. As Professor of Textile Art at Manchester Alice’s work involved research and she chose to explore digital embroidery in order to take embroidery to another level – more details and images: https://www.art.mmu.ac.uk/research/crafts/
Alice is one of three sisters and has three daughters and connections with Greece so all feature regularly in her work. Alice showed us Golden Dawn in which the leader of a Greek political movement was depicted as the Minotaur (image: https://alicekettle.co.uk/) and another where a dog was the symbol of austerity protests in Greece with three girls in the crowd. Over the years Alice has been commissioned to create numerous hangings, one of which can be seen at the Lloyds Register Marine Insurance in Southampton. Entitled “A map to the future”, it measures 8 x 3 metres and shows a world map and the hull of a ship in the Atlantic. (Image: https://www.lr.org/en/latest-news/a-map-to-the-future-alice-kettle/ )
A selection of Alice’s other work can be seen in the gallery area on her website together with details of various projects: https://alicekettle.co.uk/gallery-new/
In 2017 Alice started an art project which used textiles to learn from, show solidarity with and raise funds for displaced people and refugees. Details of the project and images of the various activities can be seen on their website (https://threadbearingwitness.com/
Three large hangings were created and displayed at the Whitworth Gallery, Sea, Ground and Sky
Recently Alice has been involved in the Stitch a Tree project with over 11,000 contributions. Hopefully this will be displayed at the next Knitting & Stitch Show. Images: https://threadbearingwitness.com/stitch-a-tree-project/stitch-a-tree-karachibiennale19/
In conclusion Alice kindly answered several questions from members and explained her technique of producing a free machined, layered background which she then turned over and stitched the detail and people from the reverse. She said it was very exciting because she never knew exactly what it looked like until the end.
We are very grateful to Alice for giving us such a wonderful talk and hopefully she will visit us in the future but in the meantime I do hope you will explore more about her interesting work.