A Visible THREAD research residency

We’re delighted to announce that seam collective has been selected to take part in a month-long residency at the Andrew Brownsword Gallery at The University of Bath, starting on Friday 23 March. It’s part of a new experimental arts programme curated by Will Cooper of The Holburne Museum, Bath. We’ll be working alongside another artist, Jack Lewdjaw.

We’re looking forward to using the time, space and money that this opportunity provides to research ideas together, as we plan for our next exhibition, A Visible THREAD, which is due to be launched in November 2022. It will tour until 2024. For opening times of the research residency and further details please go to our A Visible THREAD page.

13 seam members are taking part in the residency, some in person and some remotely. We’ll be researching 5 different threads:

  • Thread and experimentation
  • Thread as connection
  • Thread as conversation
  • Thread as thought
  • Thread and sustainability

We will be transforming the gallery into a lively, welcoming, dynamic and thought-provoking exhibition and test space, which will change as time passes. We will share our skills, knowledge and personalities with one another and with our visitors, encouraging each person to use their unique perspective and a diverse range of textile disciplines to follow their chosen thread, wherever it may lead them. Come and see what happens.

We’ve asked some of the seam members to share their intentions for the residency and some images of preparatory work in progress. Who knows what will actually happen? We’re excited to find out.

Julie Heaton

Speaking about the unthinkable through body and form.

Jane Colquhoun

Developing an interactive game based on ‘exquisite corpse’/picture consequences games. Inviting members of the public/ seam members and my daughter and family members to become involved, who will be asked to donate to the ‘Orts Jar’ and make use of these old random threads in the outcome.

The outcome could include drawing/stitching/threading/wrapping evolving into doll like figures.

Lou Baker

I’m planning to research the connections between used cloth/clothing, the body and memory. I will use stitch to explore ways to transform some of my parents’ used bedding and underwear to provoke a range of conflicting responses. I will trial ideas for sculpture, installation and performance with whatever I make and also with a growing collection of flesh-coloured knitted sculptures. I will investigate the disquieting boundaries between self/(m)other, embodiment/disembodiment, comfort/discomfort and, ultimately, life and death.  

In addition to this, I will collaborate with Oly, developing our ideas about queering/subverting stitch and facilitating active engagement for our visitors, inviting them to make with us, to join the conversation and give feedback on whatever else the group is doing in the gallery. I also look forward to getting to know the other seam artists and Jack Lewdjaw, and to the conversations and ideas that will arise as we work alongside one another.

Oliver Bliss

Starting from Scrap – I’m coming over to Bath with my bag full of scraps and my tubs full of cut off threads. I’ve always wanted to use these remains to create something new. This residency is the perfect opportunity for me to start!

Helen MacRitchie

  • Exploring the links between walnuts and cognitive brain health as per ancient Doctrine of Signatures.
  • Using ink and naturally dyed wools to test visual connections and fine motor skills with audience.

Lydia Needle

I’m experimenting with the idea of WASTE, rather reframing waste – waste is only waste when it has no use.

Joy Merron

Exploring the connections between clay and textiles in collaboration with Gill Bliss, using keywords as prompts: emerge, erupt, explode and referencing the five elements, earth, water, fire, air and space.

Gill Hewitt

Exploring the link between the Cornish landscape and the uplands of Lancashire.

Nina Gronw Lewis

The potency of textile metaphors.

Thread as a pathway;
how thread and cloth symbolise connection, wholeness and strength;
how textiles symbolise birth and growth;
how cloth serves as a wrapper or container;
Cloth and it’s interface with human life.

During the residency I will attempt to investigate these five avenues and create a work(s) for each referencing common themes, language and the tales of Greek Mythology.

Angie Parker

What has come before, where we are now and what comes next?
Explored through: combining techniques and recycled yarns.
I will bring a small, portable loom, sketchbooks and recycled yarns.

Penny Wheeler

What would happen if there is no thread? I will be experimenting with a reducing amount of thread, retelling the story of Sleeping Beauty and the banning of all spindles, from the point of view of a weaver…
I am also looking forward to having conversations, making alongside, and exchanging ideas with fellow seam members, Will Cooper, Jack Lewdjaw and our visitors.

Do come and join us, as we develop our ideas in residence at the Andrew Brownsword Gallery, University of Bath, Bath BA2 7AY from 25 March – 23 April 2022, Wednesday – Saturday, 11am – 4pm, free to attend.

Lou Baker and Penny Wheeler