|Christine Kelly: 'Go Gently Through This World'|
In July 2013, I took a collar and an idea for a collaborative piece of work to lunch with fellow textile artist, Christine Kelly. The use of vintage or pre-used fabrics is central to the work of both Christine & I, so when she agreed to my suggestion that we each take a collar and make a piece based around it, the inaugural Group Gathering project was born. If Christine hadn't said yes then maybe you wouldn't be reading about this project now.
Textile artist Christine Kelly is perhaps better known to many as the figure behind Gentlework: noted for her beautiful handstitched treasures in warm, creamy shades and sepia tones. Gentlework is a calm & tranquil place with whispers of things past. The work is made using vintage finds and is inspired by the subtle variations of colour found in the antique linens & lace Christine favours and which find themselves transformed into papier mache dolls with handstitched clothing, linen birds and boxed mixed media pieces.
|Gentlework dolls: vintage linens, papier mache, hand stitched|
|Christine Kelly: 'The Littlest Birds Sing the Prettiest Songs' detail|
After this initial struggle, how did inspiration strike Christine?
"It took me a long time to decide what to do with my collar although early on I decided that the finished piece should still look like a collar and reflect something of it’s former use. I kept the collar nearby in my workroom and kept picking it up and putting it back down again…."
|Once bright white, now stained with tea to age & soften it's appearance|
For the exhibition at the Shell House Gallery Christine's collar is displayed next to a 1930's collar box. The 'mock-croc' texture of the box also giving a nod towards financial wealth.
An extract from Toads by Philip Larkin
Why should I let the toad work Squat on my life? Can’t I use my wit as a pitchfork And drive the brute off? Six days of the week it soils With its sickening poison - Just for paying a few bills! That’s out of proportion. Lots of folk live on their wits: Lecturers, lispers, Losers, loblolly-men, louts- They don’t end as paupers; Lots of folk live up lanes With fires in a bucket, Eat windfalls and tinned sardines- They seem to like it.