A New Reality

We have always been honest, you and I, warts and all. And so I find myself unable to return to this blog without being straight. This blog for me is a place to order my thoughts, so I hope you will indulge me. I look over old posts and see they have dwindled, and I read of my ridiculous bravado about being so tired. As an ex-academic, it is not so much a badge of honour, but rather proof you are just pulling your weight. I have also hinted my health has not been so good, but have been vague, I’ve lost a large amount of weight, blood pressure is stupid, lots of tests followed, GP saying don’t worry, we’ll just be sure, it’ll blow over. And you believe them, as I did when at my final appointment in November they said I had the all clear, no idea about the tiredness, but my thyroid was ok. The abnormal liver tests, just a blip, the anomaly in the ultrasound, nothing to worry about.

I was glad it was all over, even when you think there is nothing wrong, just having tests makes you think there might be. As you know I delayed my fellowship plans and now I had the all clear I brushed myself down and finalised the itinerary which was long overdue for submitting to the wonderful folks at the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. I would still have a sleep midday, if I got up at all, and was generally clock watching from teatime to see if it was too early to hit the sack, but the tiredness had to be in my head, nothing was wrong, I just needed to pull myself together. My itinerary was approved, and I was really going. But early December I came out of a meeting to find a few missed calls from my GP. It turns out some blood tests had only just been completed and were showing some antibodies – it was all out of his sphere of knowledge, he couldn’t tell me anything, but I would have to be referred to a liver specialist.

When he told me what the antibodies were though, I already knew what was going on. I am an intelligent and curious girl, as soon as there were hints there was something up with my liver, I of course did what everyone would do and went through all the possible diseases to see what my google and House trained eye could spot. I managed to convince myself I had PBC or Primary Biliary Cholongitis, an autoimmune disease that destroys the bile ducts in the liver, the backed-up bile causing cirrhosis and eventually liver failure for some. One of its main manifestations was chronic fatigue. When the GP told me I was clear for it in November, I was actually surprised. But also, obviously, relieved. The fatigue for some becomes so great, many are forced to give up work. That wasn’t going to happen to me. I’ve just found my place in the world, stopping isn’t an option now or anywhere in the near future. There is no cure for PBC, but a drug could slow the progress in some, but not all, and I didn’t like the odds. Besides I’m me, I’m not someone who has a chronic illness, this is not the future I envisaged for myself.

But those antibodies, I knew, were the diagnostic clincher for PBC. I was trapped in a period of limbo over Christmas. I knew I had this thing, there was nothing I could do about it. The appointment with the consultant was within weeks of when I wanted to leave, should I still be planning to go, should I be booking accommodation, arranging meetings, should I put it off until later in the year, what if I was too poorly then, what tests and follow ups would I need, could they wait. And it was here my brain would generally liquefy. It has not been a happy time. But I have tried to be practical, if this fatigue is here to stay, what can I do to adapt to it? It is something that will have to be managed. I investigated further other weaving techniques that are slower, less physical. I even joined some PBC support groups – quite a step for a misanthrope! It was here I was advised to see if I could get an earlier appointment with the liver consultant, especially when my appointment got cancelled to swap me from one clinic to another, delaying things further. There was a clinic the day after my birthday, so I rang, and the birthday fairies got me a cancellation appointment. The diagnosis of PBC was confirmed, but travelling was no problem, they could work round my plans. So there I was, newly diagnosed with a rare, stupid and incurable autoimmune disease that was going to do its best to relieve me of one of my organs, but I actually have to say a weight was lifted. I had already gone through the shock, and the tears, and the duvet-hiding, I could now plan, work out what to do. I can take the disease on the chin, but the uncertainty was driving me out of my mind.

I am not thinking too much about the future right now. I have accepted that is no longer something I can control, I may well be fine, I might not. No point worrying about it now, I could get hit by a bus tomorrow. I am not going to give up on weaving, that’s for sure. I’ve not hidden that I’ve had depression in the past and according to the consultant because of the fatigue I am at risk of it again and that is not a road I am going to ever travel down again, so no more bravado, if I am tired I am going to admit it. I will adapt, but I absolutely will keep buggering on, but it may not be at the pace it once was. And I have to really, really mean that.

I have to go off for an MRI just now so will stop. But it is my sincere hope that in my next post I will start the countdown to my fellowship and share some of the details of what it is I will actually be doing and how. This trip has been, I will confess, a source of some anxiety these last couple of months. But one thing I have realised this week, whatever the future holds for me, here with this fellowship is a chance for me to live, and I am not going to miss out on that.

And after all, all things are still possible, one just has to be open to change……..


A Stratigraphy of Ideas

Long overdue, I know. Truth is I’ve had my head down enjoying an incredibly creative and productive few weeks.

I know I am exceedingly privileged to be doing what I am doing, but I also feel a big responsibility to make the most of it and to be accountable. For this reason everything I do has to have a set purpose, an end goal. I find it hard to let myself experiment, play or just try things out, even though I know this is an integral part of any artist’s practice.

This has made me drive myself into the ground more than once including a couple of weeks into September, when I came to a complete stop physically and mentally. Rescue was on the way in the form of an unexpected holiday in Whitby with my aunt and uncle. I cannot begin to say how fabulous a time I had, we stayed in a beautiful cottage a stone’s throw from the beach.


We explored some amazing places including the ruins of a castle in a wood; coming across massive buttresses and walls in amongst the trees is something I will not forget, more like something a 1930s South American explorer would come across and very different to the clean landscaped castle ruins in towns and parks one is used to.

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I used to work at a Cistercian abbey, Bordesley, so I had always been aware of Rievaulx but had never visited before and the ruins were utterly spectacular aided by some fantastic late summer sunshine. Someone should paint it, no really, they should.

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As a break, as a change, as a laugh, as access to the sea and fresh air and exercise, it was a marvellous and much-needed reset. But it has lingered with me since and not least because of one day we decided to escape some coastal fog and headed for the town of Pickering.

I have a particular interest in medieval wall paintings, not that I had ever seen any beyond the pages of a book. I am very curious by the relationship of medieval tapestry to their contemporary art forms. For example the relationship between illuminated manuscripts and the Apocalypse of Angers and the Halberstadt tapestries are well known and I always assumed frescos and wall paintings too must hold some relevance considering their shared mural use. Being so interested in medieval tapestries – which have so rarely survived – I am forced to try to draw inference to what the tapestries may have looked like through other forms.

So I was very excited to see on the Pickering high street a small sign pointing to a church and its wall paintings. But nothing could have prepared me for pushing open the church door and being looked down upon by a gigantic St Christopher across the nave.

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All the walls were coated in figures depicting the lives of the Saints, the Passion and Resurrection, the descent to Hell. I was mesmerised. It was not just their liveliness and vibrancy, it was a communication, a link with the ancestors they were based on, the hand that drew them and the centuries of church goers who looked upon them until they were covered up during the Reformation. It was a reminder too of how much has been lost.

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My interest in the relationship between medieval tapestries and other art forms is not just academic, I have spent time wanting to explore this artistically too, but I could never figure out how to do it, I could only ever envisage a pastiche, something quite pointless to weave, and so it had drifted to the background. Before Whitby my plans were to make a start on a landscape as discussed elsewhere in this blog.

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But when I got home seeing those wall paintings made me all the more determined to respect my intuition. There was something there I wanted and needed to explore. The only way I was going to get it out of my system was to give in.

I let myself weave whatever I wanted, and with no end-game in sight, and without talking myself out of it. I followed my whims, experimented, played. The result has been the formation of a stratigraphy of ideas on the loom, half-finished, half thought-out samples and trials. I was right, initial samples based on the wall paintings were silly pastiches, but as the weeks evolved so did my ideas and so did my realisation of what I was trying to achieve as a weaver, a more honing down of my focus as an artist and an acknowledgement of how I can push the techniques I have been developing this year even further. I feel I know myself better. The result is a new design for a tapestry, far more complicated and colourful than anything I have attempted before, but potentially rather fab.

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I love the tapestries I’ve been weaving this year, and that I’ve found something unique to me as a weaver, but I have been conscious that there were limitations with how far I could go with it and the extent to which it would give me scope to explore what I want to narratively. I’m super pleased to have broken through that barrier. The cartoon is drawn, the colours selected the samples woven and recorded. All that is left is to get warped up and to get on with it. I need to finish it before I start my Fellowship so I suspect I am going to have to keep my head down for a while to get it done. I’m not trying to be a tease about the nature of the new tapestry by showing the samples, I just thought it best to talk more about it and the ideas behind it once it has properly got going.

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I ‘ve also made some changes to how I work, whether I will stick to them or not I don’t know. The most significant is that I have started to ban myself from the workroom at the weekend. Whilst I am not yet spending the time running through flower-filled fields and basking in the sunshine, it has given me the space to try things I wouldn’t have allowed myself before, exploring off-loom weaving techniques, blowing the dust off my sewing machine and mucking about with free-form embroidery and more drawing and sketching.

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In amongst all this I am happy to report the 1in4 exhibition (above) discussed in my last post was fantastic. The quality of work was phenomenal and I was really proud to be amongst them. I have just learned that several of my tapestries have been selected for an exhibition at the Platform Gallery next year – more on that later. I also had a great day with the Bradford Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers talking about tapestry, I was made to feel very welcome and really enjoyed myself. And I was thrilled to take part in Crafted by Hand in Masham (below), always a wonderfully organised event and a great opportunity to get young folks weaving. Much work has also been done getting plans together for my travels in the Spring.


I am looking forward to visiting the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate this week and very glad to see a weaver has been included amongst the gallery exhibitors, the very innovative tapestry artist Cos Ahmet. I can’t wait to see his work in the flesh. Of course I’ll tell you all about it. Until then, ta ta for now xx

1in4 Art Exhibition, Salts Mill

It is funny isn’t it, the lies we tell ourselves. Or rather how we want to portray ourselves to others. I’m conscious that I have a persona online, in this blog, in social media. I guess I try to make sure I appear professional, sharing perhaps, but accessible too. In control, that I know what I am doing, throwing a bit of self-deprecation into the mix. My Facebook friends might think perhaps I can be funny, that I am having the time of my life, exploring this new world I am in as a weaver and an artist. But there is something about myself that I’ve never really hidden but up until this evening, as I sat down to write this post, I didn’t realise that I am in fact ashamed of it. It has been a bit of a slap in the face.

I do quite a bit of voluntary work with folk with mental health problems. I’m a hospital manager under the Mental Health Act, for Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust (BDCFT), sitting on an independent panel to which folk who have been sectioned can appeal their detention. I’m also an Appropriate Adult, supporting vulnerable adults who have been taken into custody. I’m also one of the trustees of a local charity, The Cellar Trust, that helps people with moderate to severe mental health problems back onto their feet and into work. And it was in their corridors that I saw a poster on a noticeboard asking for entries for an exhibition organised by BDCFT to be held at Salts Mill and open to anyone with experience of mental health problems.


It was on my doorstep, the venue rather prestigious, and I worked for the Trust, so off I sent my application, proffering them my voluntary roles as justification of my experience of mental health issues. In the blurb that accompanied one of the images I submitted, No Longer Mourn, (below) I made reference to the fact that I had had a period of depression after my brother was killed in 2000, that the tapestry was of a fractured figure sinking into the blackness but emerging from it too, it was an image of hope, not despair.

Happily the tapestry was picked to be included. No Longer Mourn has been on show at the marvellous Weave exhibition, and it was touch and go as to whether I would get it back in time, but it arrived today and I took it down to the Trust HQ based here in Saltaire.

I mentioned the exhibition on my Facebook page when I learned I had been accepted, giving as an excuse for my inclusion my voluntary roles, but as yet have failed to update my website page. Why? Perhaps, secretly, I didn’t want people to know I was doing it. People would wonder what I was doing in an exhibition aimed at people who have had mental health problems.

This was supposed to be a blog post about my amazing holiday, an unexpected fabulous time in Whitby with my aunt and uncle. I was going to throw in at the end a brief mention of the exhibition as I ought to do, but I was going to mention my voluntary work alone. I suddenly felt very uncomfortable, and that was when I realised how embarrassed I was, how ashamed I was to say, I have had a mental health problem. I am one of the 1 in 4 who will be affected by mental illness, a statistic from which the exhibition takes its title. The utter ridiculouness of this is astounding to me, not least because I have alluded to it before, here in this blog. Friends and colleages know. And I’ve had no qualms about making public the generations of women in my family who, rightly or wrongly, ended up in lunatic asylums as was, and who have provided an endless source of inspiration to me as an artist, thank you very much. And yet, I could not type, could not confess to people who do not know me, to people to whom I suppose I wish to portray myself in a certain way, that I have had depression, that I have had a mental illness. And not just once. I had depression too when I was a teenager, no idea why, even tried to take my life, a call for help I suppose, rather than serious intent.


I am exceptionally well now, have been for fourteen or so years, and in the last leg weaving has been a massive part of that, I know who I am in the world, I know what I was built to do, I know where I am heading, I have amazing opportunities before me. I do struggle with anxiety and self-esteem, I don’t perhaps give the attention I should to my well-being, but I live, I am forceful for others, I have goals, I am more than able to work. And I work with people in desperate, awful situations, people, who despite that, want to fight, have the will to fight and I have nothing but massive admiration for them all. Yet here I was trying to sweep under the carpet that I myself was once lost, was once ill too. Perhaps I feel it is ok to confess I have had depression, it can be read a number of ways, it is common enough, I was grieving. But perhaps to say I have had a mental illness, which of course it is, made me wonder if folk would think that I was somehow not in control, that I am not a professional, that they might think less of me. The aim of the 1in4 exhibition is to break the stigma, is to get conversation going, how could I possibly take part if I was from the outset trying to fudge why I am part of it, to maintain that stigma and to stifle the conversation?

So go and see the exhibition, Gallery 2 Salts Mill here in Saltaire, West Yorkshire, 6-10th October, coinciding with World Mental Health Day on the 8th. My name is Chrissie Freeth, I am a tapestry weaver, I work with people with mental health problems, and I have twice suffered with depression, I have had a mental illness. It happened, it wasn’t my fault, and I shan’t be ashamed. Would I be ashamed of a physical illness? No. Except that one time I dropped a loom on my foot and ended up in A&E..That was totes my fault.

Tapestry at Art in the Pen

Art in the Pen, Tapestry Weaver

Art in the Pen was fantastic. If you are not familiar with it, the pens in Skipton’s cattle market are handed over to selected artists to turn into their own micro galleries.  It was my second time, and I did feel in the run up a bit more organised; the hard work thinking how to dress one’s pen and display one’s work had been done last year. Whilst I was proud of the new work I was showing, that which made me glow with pride every time my eyes fells upon it, was my stand for cards.  I dismantled a display stand and stapled hessian to it and balanced some other pieces of wood on some nails for the shelves. I did that! Me! And best of all, I can still use it as a display frame if need be. I had plenty of cards made for the event and they sold incredibly well. In the next couple of days I’ll be adding them to my online shop (links above).


I couldn’t have done it without the wonderful Barry from Hawksbys gallery in Haworth who helped get me set up and taken down. Artist Ian Burdall very kindly ferried me about during the weekend. I even came away with a little pressie from Jill at Touchy Feely Textiles. My heretofore naked front door key now puts a smile on my face whenever I use it. As I am so tired these days, at least I can comfort myself in the knowledge it must be because I am extra-fabulous.


I had intended to take some time off once it was over, but instead went back to basics, something I have been meaning to do for a while. I think it is easy to get stuck in a rut technique-wise, and with workshops in the offing it seemed like a good excuse to make some small samples. That I would have to treat myself to a new sketchbook to store them all had no influence on this decision at all. It proved a very useful exercise and has filled me with ideas. I know that experimenting and sketching is utterly essential to what I do, but I do find it hard to justify the time, and perhaps because I find it hard to call it work. But with a bit of breathing space between events I have let myself explore wherever my interest led me over this last week or so, and I am pretty pleased with the new tapestry design that has started to emerge from it. But more about that once it gets underway.


There isn’t long left to catch the Weave exhibition at Craft in the Bay in Cardiff, but some photographs sent by its curator is making it pretty tough not to make the trip. Such a stunning array of how the idea of weave can be translated in different mediums, I can’t think of another exhibition like it. I am looking forward to getting No Longer Mourn returned though – I’ve missed her!

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One final bit of news. It has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride health-wise over the last few months. It was a really tough decision but it seemed sensible to delay my Winston Churchill fellowship travels until things settled down and I was fit enough and well enough to do this amazing journey justice. I’m now heading off in the Spring. On the one hand it is very frustrating, but it is absolutely the right decision, and on the plus side I’ve got plenty more time to get prepared.

Right I have a long list of admin to do, and am refusing myself access to the workroom until it is done, so better dash off. Ta ta for now x

Extreme Weaving! A new tapestry woven.

I should imagine I am pretty incoherent tonight, I am pretty tired, but I know you will forgive me.

Chrissie Freeth Tapestry 'Delia Jo' in Progress

Next weekend, 13th and 14th August, is Art in the Pen, in Skipton. I did it for the first time last year and loved it and am looking forward to it immensely. I always want to show new work, especially with my tapestries having changed so drastically over the last twelve months. But with one of my main new pieces over at the Weave exhibition in Craft in the Bay, I knew I was going to be pushing it. Nonetheless I felt I needed a new large piece, returning to the full width of the loom. I had enough left over warp to do it, and while I’d need to dye some new wool, I could use the colours and sampling I had done previously. The cartoon materialised quite quickly. I’ve long wanted to revisit the story of my female relatives needlessly trapped within a cycle of asylums in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, I didn’t do them justice last time.

When I got the cartoon on the loom I calculated how much time I would need to complete it, marking off where I would have to be at a certain date in order to finish it in time. I soon realised I was looking at several weeks of sixteen hour days. I’m not sure how I have done it, except to say I pretty much just battened down the hatches, gave myself over to the project and just got on with it. I’ve pretty much lived off what my workroom kettle could provide, and moving a comfy armchair into the workroom was a mark of total genius on my part.. I am quite surprised how unscathed I am considering my bleating in a previous post. There was something – can’t think of the right word – ?monastic, about the experience. I’ve actually enjoyed it. I have so many hats, juggle so many things, and although I felt rather selfish not making myself available for my other roles, it was good to focus on one thing so solidly.

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I do feel I have rushed her, but I am pleased with the results nonetheless. It was rather nerve-wracking unwinding the loom yesterday and seeing her complete. I was thrilled actually, and although I went straight to bed, I found myself getting up every now and then to check she was still there and I had really done it.

She is just shy of 120 cm x 130 cm. It was the first time I was able to utilise the style and techniques I have been developing on a larger scale, and I much prefer it, much more room for the tapestry and the technique to breathe. Although I say I rushed it, I’m not sure what I would change if I had the chance.

After such a concentrated period of uninterrupted Freeth-time, during which I’ve had plenty of space to think, my mind is so full of ideas, including lots that are quite embryonic but growing fast that I can’t wait to explore them further. Fortunately there is some space between events after Art in the Pen and I’ll be able to take some time to think things through as well as carrying on the prep for my Fellowship which is now due to start in the Spring. It will be good to regroup and think about future directions.

In amongst this weaving marathon , I did have some respite after being invited over to East Riddlesden Hall to do some demoing. They have a lovely collection of rag rugs and they were a good excuse to get folk having a go themselves. It is not often you get to poke a hole in something inside a National Trust property. I trust you will be able to tell which part of the rug was mine. It is such a simple activity for younger hands to try, and for older visitors it always seems to bring back memories. Although I am not making rugs myself anymore, I do love these opportunities to blow the dust off my prodders.


It was also wonderful to see the volunteers again and to have been made so welcome. Strange to see Maides Coign after a year or so. I look at her and can’t quite believe I made her. Hopefully there will be lots more events at East Riddlesden in the future and I’ll keep you apprised here or over on my website or Facebook page.


Talking of which, do have a look at the Facebook page or Instagram of Craft in the Bay. They are showcasing the work in the Weave exhibition and the quality and variety of the work is astounding. I really am terribly proud to be part of it.


I do hope you can pop into Art in the Pen. I loved attending as a visitor before I started exhibiting there. As I am sure you know, the cattle pens of Skipton Auction Mart are given over to selected artists, including sculptors, painters, potters, jewellers and others to turn into mini-galleries. It is a great way to spend a day, and to meet artists and in a very friendly environment and if mooching is your thing there’s no pressure at all, but if you are after a little something, it is a great chance to buy work direct from artists, often at great value. You can find more details about Art in the Pen here.

Finally, my dear friend Moira Fuller, an incredibly talented designer, is about to embark on a new business adventure to help encourage and support creativity in others. She would love your input through a wee questionnaire (she’s Scottish, you know), it’ll only take ten minutes or so. Do please have a look if you can spare some time.

Anyway, I hope all this goes some way to explain my absence, for which, as always I am very sorry.

Cheerio for now xxx

Conservation Ethics at Harewood House

I have put off writing this as I have been, quite frankly, too devastated by the awful calamity that has been imposed upon our country by misinformation, lies and scaremongering. I’ve been looking towards Europe a lot during the run up to my fellowship, and that the ease and opportunities I have taken for granted might not now be available for those in the future, fills my heart with utter sadness.

Before all this awfulness happened I spent last Monday having a fabulous day. A while back I was contacted by the conservation team at Harewood House, a stunning eighteenth century stately home here in Yorkshire. I was invited to join a panel to debate the ethics surrounding the conservation of a pair of eighteenth century Axminster carpets. I was a little unsure at first, not clear what I could contribute as a non-conservator, but the more I looked into the issues they were facing, and the effort they were going to to make the right decision, the more I realised that I wanted to get involved.


The carpets are in a particularly sorry state. There are a great deal of repairs undertaken over the years, but many are now threatening the longevity of the carpet. Some, for example, are causing unhelpful tensions, others have been done with inappropriate materials, there has also been extensive use of adhesives. The carpet in the Yellow Room is currently reverse rolled and thus displayed pile down, the lining on show and it looking like, as mentioned by one staff member, like a  crime scene. However interpretation materials are clearly available to explain what is going on, and to highlight particular areas of concern. There is also a questionnaire asking visitors for their views towards the future of the carpets.


A number of issues are involved. Should it be conserved? What gets conserved, what doesn’t? Should the repairs remain, or be removed, are they not a legitimate part of its story? Should the carpet be renovated to look ‘new’ or should it be left as it is? Should it in fact be put in storage, and should a replica be made?

Although I wasn’t there to contribute as a conservator, it was a good excuse to read round the subject, especially around tapestry conservation and to get a grasp of something regarding the ethics involved in conservation, something not entirely unfamiliar thanks to my previous incarnation as an archaeologist. It was readily apparent that one particular aspect that Harewood faces is that the carpets form an integral aspect to the design of the rooms in which they sit. They reflect the design of the ceiling, just as Robert Adams envisaged. Any changes to the carpets will affect the whole.


I’m not in favour of reproductions, I want to see the work of the original craftsmen, my professional ancestors, that is what they have left us, a replica involves a different conversation with different people. But anyone involved in tapestry would have to have had their head in the sand to not know there has been a set of reproductions made for the refurbished rooms at Stirling Castle. These seven tapestries were woven over twelve years by a team of nearly twenty weavers. Whatever one’s feelings about the tapestries as replicas (they are based on fifteenth century Unicorn Hunt tapestries at the Met), and although much of the weaving took place behind the scenes at the studios in West Dean, tapestries were also concurrently woven in situ at Stirling Castle, in full view of the visitors, a great opportunity for public engagement. But unlike carpet weaving, the techniques of the 21st century tapestry weavers were little different to those of the original craftspeople, lending some element of authenticity to the new works. But of course, any carpets made now to replace the Axminster carpets would be woven in an entirely different manner to those woven centuries ago.

Anyone interested in the arguments regarding ‘authenticity’ and the making of the Stirling tapestries, do check out Caron Penney’s excellent article, Rediscovering the Unicorn tapestries in  Gordon et al 2014 Authenticity and Replication: The ‘Real Thing’ in Art and Conservation published by Archetype.


I am not going to go into details of what was discussed, Harewood will be producing that in due course. But I can report it was a fascinating day. We were very much welcomed, and the discussion and debate was vibrant. On arrival myself and the other panelists were given a tour of the house, prior to a fascinating discussion by Rosie Hicks. After lunch there was a talk by Tabitha Mchenry who has been studying the carpets and then the debate itself. My fellow panelists were Dr Crosby Stephens, a textile conservator looking after the carpets, Frances Hartog, the senior textile Conservator at the V & A and Caroline Carr-Whitworth, the curator at Brodsworth Hall. We were chaired by Professor Anne Sumner an advisor to Harewood and the Head of Cultural Engagement at the University of Leeds. The event took place in front of a largely invited audience and was part of a series of events to mark the Yorkshire Year of the Textile. I was really thrilled and honoured to have taken part.

The whole event was incredibly well organised and although no immediate answers may be apparent it is clear that once the decision is made, it will have been done after extensive consultation with a very wide group of people. It is nice to see that in the UK, informed decisions are still possible!

Meanwhile I’ve been working on a new cartoon for a new tapestry for Art in the Pen and which will return to the full width of the loom. The loom has been re-dressed – not a small task as I tried to use as much of the left-over warp as I could; would have been easier to start afresh!


And if you want to know how long it takes to wrap a tapestry to post to a gallery, it is about a day, 5 rolls of poppy plastic, a great deal of cardboard and about two rolls of kraft paper. My tapestry No Longer Mourn will be amongst the work of 24 artists at Craft in the Bay, the line up looks spectacular, the work of Gizella Warbutron in particular looks amazing. The exhibition, Weave, will run from 16th July to the 11th September.

Anyway, cheerio for now, from a still slightly deflated me x

Arts Trail – Thank you!


I know I ‘m a week late, but I wanted to thank everyone who came to the Saltaire Arts Trail. One reader of this blog came all the way up from Leicester!


I wanted to get in early on Friday to hang my work, just in case there were any problems. From the start the plan had been to hang the tapestries using hooks over some unused doors. But the doors proved too thick for the hooks. June Russell, the chair of Saltaire Inspired arrived with helper, an array of tools, fixings and fearless determination and managed to hang the pieces nonetheless. It was a strange thing to see my work hanging all proper like! I was really thrilled with how it looked, and not a little proud.


The event was fabulous, lots of wonderful visitors, very engaged and full of questions. But without doubt the best part for me was meeting the artists I was sharing the space with, especially Janis Goodman, Salma Patel, Gemma Lacey,, and of course our host, Jacky Al-Samarraie who looked after us so well. They all made the whole experience absolutely delightful and a laugh a minute. In truth I didn’t want the event to end, I had such a great time. It was also great to get feedback on the work and observe people’s responses to it. I certainly feel a few feet taller as an artist. My only regret was not getting to look round the other houses and exhibitions, but it was clear there was a fabulous atmosphere across the village.


The gift cards were a virtual sell out so I will definitely be doing those again! The frames were a big hit too, so I am going to look at doing some smaller framed pieces that are more affordable for Art in the Pen in August.


I am really glad I did some little samples that folk could touch, they were very popular and certainly helped reduce the amount of folk going for the tapestries themselves. There were a few. I know who you are.


With the Arts Trail done with, I’ve taken a few days to catch up with my Fellowship plans. I know where I want to go, but it has been good to start getting in touch with potential contacts. I’ve also made plans to do some experiments with different cameras to see how best I might best photograph the tapestries I’ll be visiting. The sixteenth-century tapestry at East Riddlesden Hall will serve as a stand-in. Talking of which, on the 30th July I’ll be at East Riddlesden doing some demos. Once it is all confirmed and I have more details I’ll let you know. Later this month I’ll be heading to a rather grander stately pile here in Yorkshire to discuss some conservation issues, but more on that in a later post.

hyIn the meantime, the loom needs warping, and I need to get some more work underway! Cheerio for now x