Sometimes I wonder if I should make a few more of these small, stitched books using my versions of the Chinese horoscope animals. There is an art market coming up in Maidstone in September which I am planning to take part in so if I’m going to make more, I had better get going.
Stitched Time was installed at 2 Church Street, an empty shop in Folkestone, as part of WOW Folkestone Women of the World Festival, 2015 from 3 – 7 March.
The exhibition opened in the evening of 2 March with a conversation hosted by Dover Arts Development entitled Empowering the Individual through the Collective.
It was entirely fitting that Stitched Time in Folkestone should open with a DAD hosted discussion as DAD is a true collaboration between myself and Joanna Jones – allowing our individual voices and our combined voices to be heard.
All the artists involved in creating the scrolls for Stitched Time took part in the discussion:
I just wanted to reiterate my thanks for and engagement with Mon evening’s event – it both contextualised the Stitched Time work and opened an artistic discourse around collaborative practice, the like of which I have not heard done in that way. A collaboration to discuss collaborative work… (Audrey Green Oakes)
During the week the lunchtime bites programmed as part of the Festival took place in the same venue. Outside of the events, a few brave members of the public intrigued by the sight of artists stitching in full view at the window, ventured in to see what it was all about.
WOW Folkestone 2015 was curated by Allegra Galvin (The Quarterhouse), Diane Dever (Folkestone Fringe) and Leah Thorn.
I am really pleased to announce that Stitched Time is touring to Folkestone as part of WOW Folkestone, which “celebrates the incredible achievements of women and girls and looks at the most potent topics for women today.”
The exhibition opens on Monday evening, 2 March 2015, with a conversation hosted by myself an Joanna Jones as artist directors of Dover Arts Development entitled “Empowering the Individual through the Collective”. Time 6-8pm. Free but you need to reserve your place. Book Tickets.
The exhibition will be open 3 March – Saturday 7 March . Tues-Fri 12-3pm and Sat 11am-4pm.
Venue: 2 Church Street, Folkestone
A programme of lunchtime bites is also taking place in the space, starting on Monday 2 March 2015.
The artists involved in the project are Gwen Hedley, Rosie James, Joanna Jones, Claire Manning, Ruth Payne, Linda Simon and Bev Williams and one or two of the team will be invigilating the exhibition during the week.
I have been managing to get into the studio more often recently and have been doing some monoprints on Chinese rice paper. This is one I am quite pleased with.
The Stitched Time exhibition closed with a delicious celebratory meal cooked by Zhan Lu Smith and the presentation of the handmade zines. I am finishing the rest and will be posting them out to the other contributors soon.
On the back of the Stitched Time exhibition I was invited, with the team, to take part in a feminism event at Turner Contemporary to launch a project led by artist and writer Felicity Allen.
The event took the form of focused discussions in response to four questions, themselves relating to the writing arising out of the artist’s “Begin Again” project. The questions related to the feelings produced when looking at one of the portrait pairs (close up view and wider view), the idea of scrutiny, what it means to give time (and when it feels good or not) and what form recognition takes or what it means to me valued.
Not realising in advance how the questions all linked up left room to work that out for oneself. Looking at the selected portrait, I felt it could be someone I knew (recognition) but of course turning it round a bit, it felt too as if the sitter was the one doing the looking (which way does the scrutiny go? how is the power of looking played out between artist and sitter). We talked about the time given by the sitter (unpaid) and about time given by different members of the group but also about balancing that with the need to do paid work; also about how time spent in the studio seems to expand and I referred to studio time as slowing-down time. When it came to recognition, the focus was more on being recognised and valued oneself for the work one does; we touched on the kind of relationship created when ‘asssistants’ are paid or not paid and the pleasure of being acknowledged by name.
The above is only a very rough snapshot of the conversations as we talked a lot more and the relationship to feminism was in some ways oblique; it was a thought-provoking and enjoyable evening.
Despite the fact that I was admitted to hospital on Tuesday 11 November, Stitched Time opened on 14 November from 6pm-9-m at Limbo, Margate thanks in particular to the help and support I received from Joanna Jones, Steve Mace, Matthew de Pulford, my husband Roger Parish and my parents.
About 40 people attended and the Stitched Time team (myself included) – Gwen Hedley, Rosie James, Joanna Jones, Claire Manning, Linda Simon, Bev Williams – all wore their white boiler suits. Delicious food was provided by Zhan Lu Smith and Claire Budd handled the drinks.
I managed to get a draft of the book completed despite the hospital stay.
“Stitched Time is a seriously good show. The space is so appropriate for your work and the standout element is its performative, participatory nature.” (Cathy Rogers)
Stitched time: A project initiated and organised by Clare Smith
LIMBO, Bilton Square, Margate, CT9 1EE from 14 Nov – 23 Nov 2014
Preview: Fri 14 November 2014, 6-9pm
Exhibition Open Fri-Sun, 12-5pm
The project is supported by Arts Council England.
LIMBO is an not for profit artist-led organisation based in a former electrical substation off Margate High Street. It was founded in 2003 to provide affordable studios to fine artists and a programme of exhibitions showcasing experimental and cutting edge work by emerging to mid career artists.
In 2013 Limbo started an Associate Membership, open to all artists, which provides members with exhibition opportunities and support in developing their own projects.
After a short break, the stitched time project is under way again and we are making good progress towards the target of producing 10 stitched scrolls.
The project has evolved in a really interesting way, in response to ideas and suggestions from the other artists involved although driven forward by me. The act of stitching is opening up a space and time for conversation about day-to-day social concerns, as well as peer-to-peer support – problem solving ideas relating to our individual art practices through to critical reflection about the work.
Good news: my stitched time project has been awarded Arts Council England funding! I will be writing the project up in detail in a dedicated blog.