Kathleen Murphy: "On a hot & humid day in July 2013 I met with fellow textile artist, Christine Kelly, in the market town of Ludlow, for a catch up and to swop materials. I had the germ of an idea I wanted to share.
The use of vintage or pre-used fabrics is integral to the work of both Christine & I, although the end results can be very different. I had recently been given a bundle of vintage shirt collars and, with Christine responsive to the idea, suggested that we both take a collar and see what we could make from it.
The initial idea gathered momentum; if two of us were agreeable to this idea, why not invite a few more to take part?
By October 2013 I had accrued a group of nine willing textile and mixed media artists from across the UK who agreed to participate and whom, for the most part, I had got to know & engage with through online social media.
Increasingly social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest, for example, have become popular vehicles for artists & makers often working alone in their studios to 'meet', publicise, share & evaluate each others work. If you're reading this then there is a good chance you are already privvy to such practice.
My previous collaborations have been face-to-face in the 'real world' so I thought it would be interesting to collaborate creatively with some of these online friendships by inviting them to transform a shirt collar and thereby become the first Group Gathering project members.
By pure chance, last Autumn also saw the well received publication of 'Connected Cloth; Creating Collaborative Textile Projects' by textile artists Cas Holmes & Anne Kelly, both of whom have a strong online presence. The scent of collaboration was definitely in the air!
The basis of my work often forms around an item or piece of fabric which someone has passed on to me, arriving with a set of parameters which I either work around or use to shape the final piece. It is with great curiosity & delight that I have presented such a set of parameters to this year's Group Gathering artists. "