Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Places and the Stitches Between

Monday 15th July 

This month, Saltaire-based artist Hannah Lamb took us on a journey through her inspiration for her collections of textile art. From early days as an graduate from Manchester Metropolitan University, producing exquisite vessels out of vintage gloves and then as a designer-maker creating quirky pincushions to hold a collection of found objects. Her decision to study for a Masters degree gave new confidence to her practise and this shows in her choice of materials and experimental approach to printing and dying.

Our branch meetings can often result in a busy exchange of information, but Hannah's quiet approach brought instant calm to the afternoon.  She is an advocate of walking for meditation and as a creative source of inspiration and this has been the driving force for her most recent work.  The leaves she collects from a nearby wood provide both colour and stencils for a Shibori style of dying.  She even notices the weeds that grow between cracks in the pavement and elevates them to high status objects when she creates cyanotype prints on cloth or postcards.

Her stitching adds emphasis to her work: small button-hole stitch around a vintage broderie-anglaise top in just the right shade of citrus tells you that she is looking for signs of spring.  This work formed part of her collection "In Search of Green" which was recently on show at The Bowery in Headingly.  But it was the intensely personal work "Visible Mending" that she created for an exhibition of War at the Yorkshire Craft Centre, Bradford that resonated with me.  The piece reflected the wartime experiences of her grandmother and great uncle by the use of two different forms of stitching that took place during the Second World War:  traditional embroidery depicting an idealised English cottage and garden that was issued to service personnel for recreation and the utilitarian darning that was necessary to keep clothing wearable in POW camps.

It was a great pleasure to spend the afternoon in the company of such an inspirational tutor.

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