The countdown begins….

During the months that have passed since DIS/rupt closed after its successful run in Stroud, the group has been working to put together a programme of gallery dates, including workshops and artist talks, for DIS/rupt to tour. Here now are the dates for your diary:

We will resume our series of Studio Postings very soon, so please keep an eye on this blog as the weeks pass in the countdown to the DIS/rupt exhibition opening in Oldham.



DIS/rupt Tour information

Over the summer much work has been going on behind the scenes to organise the DIS/rupt exhibition tour and we are now able to give you some information about galleries and dates which is very exciting. Please check precise dates and opening times with the venues.

Gallery Oldham:         2 December 2017 – 24 February 2018

Opening by Dr Melanie Miller, 2-4pm Saturday 2 December

Artist Talk by Kay Greenlees, Wednesday 6 December. 2pm

Workshops by Sarah Burgess, Saturday 17 February 2018 10am and 2pm

Minerva Arts Centre Gallery, Llanidloes:        21 April 2018 – 28 May 2018

Workshops 28 April -Sarah Burgess. Lost and Found, (full day)
8 May Bobby Britnell, Barking up the Right Tree day (morning) 10-12.30
25 May Ruth Issett, Disrupting Repetitive Pattern, half day (morning) 10-12.30

Futher venues to be announced including:

Tweedale Art Gallery, Peebles:       June – July 2018


Keep watching the website TSG for information about the project and of course this blog for more information. Studio Postings coming soon…..

Studio postings

Following the success of the DIS/rupt exhibition, the symposium and workshops, the show came down on the 22nd May and many of the TSG will now have their work back at home, or in storage ready for the next stage of the tour. This begins in Oldham later this year.

Sheila Mortlock has been so busy interviewing other members that she hasn’t had the opportunity to share her work on the Blog. It’s relevance to the DIS/rupt topic is particularly moving this week as we come to terms another shocking terrorist outrage, this time particularly aimed at the young enjoying a concert. It seems to me Sheila, that under these particular circumstances your personal ‘take’ on ‘DIS/rupt’ has a renewed poignancy – can you tell us how you started your research for these touching pieces?

How did the idea develop as you made the pieces?

From the different areas of interest that formed the basis of DIS/rupt I was immediately attracted to the idea of conflict-created migration, not because it was an easy topic but because it wasn’t. I think, in part, that was because at the time of discussion the plight of migrants trying to flee oppression and war was in the news almost daily. The final thing that crystallised my response in my own mind was the distressing publication of a child’s lifeless body on a beach.

Original drawing, pencil, graphite and charcoal

When I did an Open University degree some years ago, I became interested in Mary’s various hand positions in the Annunciation paintings of the Renaissance and worked on a large graphite and pencil drawing of my own hand clutching fabric, expressing my interest in the universality of that gesture. My idea for DIS/rupt brought these diverse things together as I considered how any mother under extreme stress would desperately clutch at her family to keep them safe with the obvious distress when they were lost.

 I know you have particularly enjoyed using newer technologies for this exhibition. How has this affected the work?

 I was keen to explore different technologies and DISrupt my normal practice. I am principally a hand stitched, sometimes with print, so these pieces were certainly outside my comfort zone. I worked with hydro-chromic and thermo-chromic inks although neither ended up in my pieces, however the real challenge was the use of fibre optics and e-textile techniques. I was helped in my research by staff from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art here in Dundee and I feel I have learned a lot – although I knew nothing before, so not difficult to pass that bar. I also worked with iPad apps to DISrupt my large hand drawing and had the result digitally printed on silk crepe de chine. Being so far out of my comfort zone was uncomfortable and I only realized how uncomfortable when I returned to an unfinished piece once I came home from Stroud. That being said I will continue to develop these techniques and maybe use them in future work.

digital print on crepe de chine
If Not Now…1, detail

 What thought affected your choice of scale for the pieces?

 The digital print was the full width of the fabric and the other pieces were both a metre long. Working with hand stitch, my pieces can be smaller just because of the time it takes to produce but I am going to try to upscale!

Sketchbook page

 As we move the show ‘on tour’ will you make any alterations to the work?

If Not Now…3, detail

I think the main thing will be finding an alternative means of powering the fibre optics. I used lithium batteries in Stroud but a full day being switched on and I discovered that the batteries quickly ran out. A lead to an electric socket is obviously the best solution but I will need to find out how to do that. It is all a learning experience and it has been fun but not without its challenges.

If Not Now…2, detail

What message do you hope that viewers of your work will take away from the exhibition?

I hope that viewers will have responded to the pieces without necessarily needing to know all the details of what they are about although I hope they are interested in that too. I wanted the strength of the hand image to be central and how the gesture of holding, clutching and grasping cloth is common to us all, across all cultures from the minute we are born until the day we die. And the little fibre optics represent the glimmers of hope in an uncertain world.

 Thank you for sharing your views Sheila, it’s a really interesting response. Next stop Gallery Oldham!

Kay Greenlees

Studio postings

This week the doors opened on DIS/rupt at the Museum in the Park and the Landsdown Gallery in Stroud. Footbridge banners and other SIT select 2017 publicity  all round the town. The Symposium featuring Alice Kettle, Melanie Miller, June Hill and Michelle Stephens and official opening by June Hill takes place this weekend and we hope this next interview will be of enormous interest now that you have the chance to actually see the work. Jan Miller produces work inspired by the landscape around her home so I was interested to learn what she has been investigating for DIS/rupt.

In 2008, I parked near the lifeboat hut on the cliffs at Happisburgh, followed the signs ‘To the Beach’, on to a scaffolding tower enclosing steps which indeed led down the cliff face to the beach. Looking right and left, was a glorious chaos of rusty poles extending along the beach and into the sea – the remains of the most recent sea defences. In 2016 I revisited this dramatic sight/site again: no lifeboat hut, no view of the coast, no rusty poles, no houses as landmarks. Only the Happisburgh Lighthouse identified that this was the same place, just different. And with replacement sea defences.

Along with familiar walks and beachcombing along this stretch of sea/land, I have accessed photographic evidence in newspaper archives which record the impact of tides, surges and flooding. This is not limited to the receeding cliff face but extends to properties on Beach Road. Both road and houses are now in the process of disappearing.

Scientific research would address the causes and recommend priorities and solutions. I simply observe the recent and present visual changes to this landscape and to the sea defences that in themselves have become a dramatic indicator of coastal erosion.

 What are the materials and processes that you are working with?

“Tide marks : Land lines” is made of the place: found objects; reclaimed domestic cotton and linen cloth, folded, crumbled, rolled or bound and stained with local earth, metal and vegetation. Four handstitched panels overlap to make a loose ‘whole’ on the gallery wall.

Are you able to give us an idea of the scale of your piece?

 “Tide Marks : Land lines” is my height and finger-tip to finger-tip width.

 Is the finished piece to be free standing or wall mounted?

 Wall hung, underscored with a mantlepiece on the gallery floor.

What message do you hope the viewers of your work will take away from the exhibition?

 The impact of high tides and storm surges on coastal erosion requires national policy, local management and, of course, extensive and continuous funding, to repair present damage and limit future disruption. Sea defences installed as protection, eventually themselves become damaged, the remnants removed and replaced with new structures. There is no permanent solution: maintenance and vigilance are always present. Villages and surrounding agricultural land may suffer irreparable damage and the landscape will change irrevocably. I hope that the reclaimed mantlepiece, which once held a family’s display of domestic ephemera, underlines the impact on humans wrought by environmental change. In Happisburgh, residents may have relocated to the land side of the village, perhaps with their backs to the sea.

Thank you very much Jan, beautiful photographs and such an interesting topic. I, for one, am looking forward to seeing your work and of course all the other pieces. This exhibition has been over two years in the planning and now that it is open it is very exciting. More information about the ideas behind the exhibition can be found here TSG

There is also a full programme of workshops running during the exhibition and booking details can be found here SIT select 2017

The Symposium is ticketed but information about availability can be found here Symposium

Next stop Stroud!























Studio postings

Well, as I write, the ‘A’ Team are hard at work in the Landsdown Gallery, Stroud. Yesterday they achieved what to many would have seemed the impossible, and successfully hung the work in the Museum in the Park  but they are back at work today in the Landsdown. It is all very exciting as we are now so close to the official opening and those of us not involved with the actually hanging are looking forward to seeing how it looks when we visit to steward, teach or give a Gallery Talk. Time therefore to hear about the work of another of our members, Rosemary Campbell. As a textile tutor of enormous experience Rosemary is well known for the many exhibitions in which she has participated both with the TSG and edge – textile artists scotland including several two-man ventures with another TSG member Alison King. I asked Rosemary, which aspect of DIS/rupt she has been working with for the exhibition.

This was difficult and it took me some time before I decided I could be brave enough to tackle the highly personal disruption in my own life, which was my divorce. Later, it was very interesting to find that two other members of the Textile Study Group were doing the same and on comparing notes, fascinating to discover how similar our experiences and emotions were and how our resulting work is so different.

Can you tell us something about the piece you are working on for DIS/rupt

I divorced over 20 years ago so my approach is very analytical.

I believe that during the divorce process communication becomes confusing and difficult, the language conflicting, while in the healing process one inevitably ‘searches for answers’ so I looked to text as my starting point. Initially phrases such as ‘out of tune,’ ‘a life in shreds’ came to mind. I like word search puzzles so using ‘ relationships’ as a starting point, I made one up. I also decided to disrupt my working practice, which normally involves a great deal of decision making in paper if I am working large scale and to begin by sampling and working in cloth instead.

What are the materials and processes that you are working with?

Many of the materials and techniques I used are directly related to the 60 plus words and phrases I collected. ‘Fingers burned’ led to burning the edges of cloth, ‘cracks appearing’ led to the use of wax. White and black lace and net I still associate with both weddings and mourning while not used as frequently today as they once were. I enjoy the use of mixed media, collage and found objects, so I used photo copies of my wedding album to create tone beneath some of the stitched surfaces. Painting and dyeing, printing and stitching the fabric are used to form ideas and create surface texture e.g. I used scraps of shredded paper and stitch to create a surface which is intended to be ambiguous, ask yourself, does it represent confetti or shredded divorce documents? I have incorporated the use of the music played at my wedding which you can listen to through earphones. I am very grateful to Catriona Eunson who helped me to achieve this. Air on a G string’ by Bach is initially played in tune using both hands, then out of tune with lots of mistakes! In the end it is played well using one hand. I think the analogy is fairly obvious. The headphones are decorated with a removable fascinator as both women and men are equally affected by divorce.

Are you able to give us an idea of the scale of your piece?

Yes, it is 2m by 80 cms and will be wall mounted.

What message do you hope the viewers of your work will take away from the exhibition?

I hope viewers will look closely at the work and find some of the hidden references within the piece. That they will feel an association with it, whether in a successful partnership or not and realise how complex relationships are, how we are all connected, how there are no winners. Divorce is a very a difficult experience emotionally and practically and your world can feel a very black place at the time. However, you can emerge from that place with a stronger sense of self. No bad thing!

Thank you Rosemary, the subject of your work will resonate with many people. If, readers, you want to know more about Rosemary’s work and the ideas behind DIS/rupt look on our website. TSG

There are still a few remaining workshop places available and full details and booking information can be found at SIT select 2017

In the meantime, keep an eye on our Facebook page and here on the blog for more updates, photographs and news about the Symposium which takes place 6th May. Information and availability of places can be found at Symposium



Studio postings

It is hard to believe that at the end of this week, in fact in two days time, TSG members will assemble in Stroud to start the hanging of the exhibition. Long in the planning, collectively hours of work have gone in to the organisation and details of the exhibition, and then there is the production of the work. So tonight, another member’s work spotlighted here, this time Alice Fox. Alice is another member well known through her books and the workshops she holds all over the country. Many people will remember the exquisite work on show at last year’s Knitting & Stitching Shows so I asked her what visitors to DIS/rupt will find.

I am working within the area of environmental disruption. My initial thoughts were sparked by an interest in galls: the structures that plants create in response to disruptive activity by certain insects. But I was also thinking early on about responses species have to make to climatic or habitat changes. ‘Adapt or die’, ‘sink or swim’; species are already finding ways to survive as climatic conditions affect the habitats in which they live. Others are unable to adapt or move quickly enough. Many species construct cocoons or nests; structures that provide shelter, safety, or in which metamorphosis takes place.

Gall drawings

Can you tell us something about the piece you are working on for DIS/rupt?

My piece is called ‘Galling’. Initially I studied a variety of galls, many that I had collected myself or seen in natural history collections. Drawing is part of my practice. I draw found objects as a way of getting to know them, studying the detail. Many of these drawings were made using home-made oak gall ink: drawing galls, using galls. I then started to explore ways of constructing similar three-dimensional forms. These are like sketches but in 3D rather than flat on paper. I started to construct 3D forms using found plastics, imagining what sort of structures might result from an evolution of insects adapting to make use of the plastics that are persisting in our environment.

Galling group

What are the materials and processes that you are working with?

I wanted to use found materials in this piece. I am presenting an imagined future scenario where insect species have adapted or evolved to make use of plastics and man-made materials rather than the plants they currently use as their hosts. It was therefore important to use those plastic materials to construct the piece. Most of the materials were collected on beaches, often in remote places where the rubbish is being washed ashore from far away. I am using a variety of 3D stitch techniques: looping, wrapping, stitching, weaving. I am building up structures, either attached to a plastic object or added on after construction. I get a huge amount out of the process of working with found materials. By working with the material I learn about its properties, what I can and can’t do with it. I was surprised to find I really enjoyed working with some of the plastics. Some of the bright colours are a complete departure from what I normally work with too – a refreshing change!

Found objects

Are you able to give us an idea of the scale of your piece?

‘Galling’ is made up of a series of 15 small ‘objects’, presented as if they were a collection of specimens in a museum. They start with objects that are natural but wouldn’t normally have galls forming on them (bone and shell) and then move onto plastics, becoming gaudier in colour.

Is the finished piece to be free standing or wall mounted?

The piece will be plinth based; a series of three Perspex boxed collections.

What message do you hope the viewers of your work will take away from the exhibition?

I hope to raise more questions than answers through ‘Galling’. Such imagined forms could be seen as light hearted, even playful. But there is also a sinister side to them: How far might evolution have to go to cope with human-induced climate and habitat changes? Perhaps there is an acceptance of the current situation within these pieces, an attempt at being realistic about future scenarios. Or these could be seen as a statement against the situation we are creating. I certainly find it ‘galling’ to see the plastic pollution that is such a norm in our environment. Is it heartening to think that some species might adapt to our enforced environmental changes? But what of all those species that don’t manage to change fast enough…

Gall forms

You are one of the TSG tutors running workshops during the DIS/rupt exhibition, briefly, what can your students expect from the class?

We will be exploring a series of natural 3D structures through drawing and construction techniques. The emphasis will be on process and experimentation rather than specific outcomes. I am hoping that there will be discussion and reflection about disruptive processes in the natural world.


Thank you Alice, your work will be of enormous interest to visitors and as always it is fascinating to hear the thinking behind the work.

For more information about DIS/rupt and full booking details for Alice’s and the other workshops find them here SIT Select 2017.

Places are filling so don’t leave it too long before you act. Information about DIS/rupt and Textile Study Group can be found at our website TSG

Bookings for the Symposium, DIS/rupting Tradition featuring Alice Kettle, June Hill, Melanie Miller and Michelle Stephens  can be made at Symposium

TSG is on Facebook TSG Fb and Twitter @textile_study