Textiles: In Transition - 3 February - 6 March 2020

Published: 24 February 2020
Ceridwen Sooke, City Lit Advanced Textiles

Exhibition open: 3rd February – 6th March 2020 

City Lit Gallery is pleased to present the work of 19 students of the City Lit Advanced Textiles course. The exhibition brings together students past and present and displays the breadth of skills these learners develop both during and after their course.

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Current students: Kate Beale, Rachel Gillard-Jones, Nina Gross, Karina Micallef Haake, Kathryn Hollingsworth, Julie Sellwood, Ceridwen Sooke, Annika Strandberg, Gill Swanson, Patti Taylor, Maxine Thomas, Veronica Thornton, Yvonne Watts

Past students: Saarah el-Bushra, Yvonne Blackmore, Karen Byrne, Shirley Hunter, Sue McKay, Chantal Vouillemin


Kate Beale


Title: Silk organza 3D form
Materials: silk organza, landscape dyes
Techniques: folded, clamped and stitched resist Shibori dyeing

'Although having long used Shibori dyeing techniques in her practice, Kate hasonly recently discovered the wonderfully structural potential of silk organza using these techniques. By folding, clamping and densely pleating the organza, then dyeing it in successive dye baths, she explores the potential effects achieved through the layering of colours, and of creating 3D forms.'


Rachel Gillard-Jones


Title: Austerity or Opulence
Materials: cotton, silk, synthetic and unconventional threads and beads on cotton, linen and silk or recycled clothing.
Techniques: hand stitch including “chicken scratch”; embellishment and fabric manipulation

'Rachel uses form with stitch, embellishment and fabric manipulation to explore the themes of contrast and constraint. For this piece Austerity or Opulence, Rachel was interested in researching and practising traditional sewing techniques; and using materials appropriate to these concepts.'

Nina Gross


Missing work in progress)
Materials: silk organza, enamel
Techniques: dye and hand embroidery

'This piece explores the shifting nature of memory, with each cloth depicting a day that Nina’s sister was missing. Layering is an important process – providing a conceptual language for representing hiding, covering, eroding, repressing and revealing. Memories can feel concrete and fixed but at other times remote and intangible.'

Karina Haake


Materials: wool, velvet
Techniques: embellishment, hand embroidery

‘Childwood’ seeks to explore the darkness of fairytale and dream, in which the night creatures and daemons of the imagination roam.

Kathryn Hollingsworth


Organic forms
Materials: Dyed cotton muslin
Techniques: Hand and machine stitch

'With a background as a basket maker Kathryn is interested in creating three dimensional organic forms and vessels by manipulating fabric with stitch. In these samples Kathryn is exploring a technique called faux chenille, which is made with layers of fabric stitched and cut on the bias to create a tufted texture.'


Julie Sellwood

Material: fabric, paper, thread, acrylic paint

'I use forgotten fabrics, paper and threads to highlight current issues. My work is diverse and aims to be thought provoking. Female domestic life, conformity and servitude are represented by the pinafores but the written messages reveal the wearer’s unspoken and subversive thoughts.'

Ceridwen Sooke


A Personal Journey

Materials and techniques: wool yarns/ felting/ wire/ stiffened organza/ heat set organza/ wrapped threads/ embroidered threads/ machine embroidery Ceridwen’s work explores close up details of plants in the landscape in order to create new forms. The work is based on her drawings and paintings. Her interest lies in constructing forms that come from the transformation of fragile materials into stronger ones using a variety of techniques and playing with contrasts of light and dark tones and unnatural high colour.


Annika Strandberg

Materials: cotton linen fabric, machine silk and cotton
Techniques: hand embroidery

'This piece is based on a slice of bread.Looking at everyday objects in a different perspective and giving them a new life with their own stories and symbolic meaning, Annika uses traditional techniques allowing the work and the narrative to develop organically.'

Gill Swanson


Materials: felt, cotton, beads, dissolvable fabric, wool nepps
Techniques: embellishing, free machine stitching, machine embroidery, nunofelting, dissolvable pastels

Inspired by nature, much of Gill’s work has an organic style. Fascinated by the curative qualities of plants, flowers and their fruits, Gill seeks to reflect their energy and vibrancy by combining strong, bold colours and textures. She enjoys working in an intuitive way, changing direction when reaching unexpected outcomes.


Patti Taylor


Materials: include fabric canvas, sacking, linen, paper, tissue, vintage threads, cotton and linen yarn, acrylic paint, oak gall and Indian inks
Techniques: machine and hand stitch, image transfer, collage, print and paint; single page book binding

'This book reflects the centuries of impact natural forces have brought to bear on the Humberside coastline at Spurn Head. Generations of families eked a harsh existence from often short-lived economically viable activities, each dependent on the sea and each ultimately destroyed by it, leaving redundant ruins and heartrending narratives.'


Maxine Thomas 


Materials: silk cloth, natural dye, mordants and modifiers, acrylic fabric stiffener, threads Techniques: natural dying, steam manipulation of cloth, stitch, burning

'Exploring the archetypal image of the ‘crone’ in myths, legends and fairy tales and where they intersect, unconscious alchemical symbols, led Maxine to experiment with the creation, destruction and transformation of cloth. White silk was coloured using Logwood, with changes in colour resulting from the use of different mordants and modifiers. Spherical forms took shape through steam manipulation and the use of burning and stitch destroyed and transformed them.'

Veronica Thornton


Title: Coastal Erosion
Materials: dyed recycled cotton, dyed bandages and scrim
Techniques: collage, embellisher, hand stitch

'With a longstanding interest in maps and aerial photography Veronica is investigating the erosion of different parts of the coast in East Anglia. Recent years have seen dramatic changes on this vulnerable coastline as water levels continue to rise both nationally and around the world.'


Yvonne Watts

Materials: linen, organza, procion dyes, threads, pens
Techniques: polychromatic dye, machine and hand stitch

'Yvonne is interested in landscape, trees and plants. This piece has a background printed with polychromatic dye, with additional layers of organza and stitch. It is attempting to create the natural chaos of foliage. Playful colours are used to explore the boundaries between real and imagined.'


Saarah el-Bushra

Title: Sudaniyya 

'Sarrah’s artistic practice explores issues around her mixed Sudanese/British identity. She works with a mixture of printmaking and textiles, combining and layering imagery and textures. Natural pigments from Sudan, including henna, sandalwood and hibiscus are used to dye her fabric and as inks. Her work includes calligraphic markings and forms.'


Yvonne Blackmore

'I am interested in exploring the boundaries between visible and invisible, stability and fragility, energy and stillness. The exploration of these states has evolved from an interest in ideas about light, which can be observed to behave both as a wave and as a particle. I use transparent fabrics, thread and fishing weights.'

Karen Byrne


Title: Tones are muffled
Materials: Lycra, cotton and wool jersey, horsehair, linen thread, perspex

'My work explores the use of language to constrain human behaviour and shape societal responses.  I am interested in the policing of behaviour through language and stereotypic media portrayals in particular as it relates to sexuality and body image.  Sometimes humorous in expression, I give form to words making real what is expressed verbally, highlighting meaning and through humour and surprise diffusing the ability to hurt and control. In this piece, the harsh controlling sounds of ‘cunt’ are softened literally in form and then trapped but visible to allow examination. Vivid and disquieting they become distant and powerless.'


Shirley Hunter

Title: Peregrinate 
Materials: cotton organdy, textile dyes, stitch

'Stemming from an interest in how the calligraphic, arabesque and geometric lines and shapes found in Islamic art have been used as a means of recording and transporting stories across time, geography and cultures, Shirley has used a repetitive and rhythmic folded surface as a means to explore the passage of time. peregrinate: to journey from place to place. To travel through or over. To live in a foreign country. To go on a pilgrimage.'


Sue McKay

'I have studied many courses at City Lit including the Advanced Textile course. These works reflect my interest in collage and colour and were based on a series of screen prints.'


Chantal Vouillemin 

Title: Bundles
Materials: Fabric, telephone wire, metal, plastic, thread, rafia, paper string

'Asked to identify a piece or a group of items at the Victoria and Albert to inspire us, online I came across images of bundles of rags, textile fragments, temple detritus, found on the silk road by Marc Aurel Stein at the beginning of the 20th century.  Dating back as far as 100 BC they are amazing. These tell stories of siiks and sacking, of paper and thread, of cut off trimmings and unused paper flowers, left over from unknown projects and commissions.  As a maker I gather scraps and bundles, sometimes faded and jumbled.  To capture a sense of bound bundles of fragments with a story I have mixed stiff textures with soft, paper twine with wool, wire with thread.'

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Clockwise: Julie Sellwood, Nina Gross, Rachel Gillard-Jones, Ceridwen Sooke

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