A Visible Thread on tour

The sun shone for us at Durlston Country Park as we installed our A Visible THREAD exhibition at the Fine Foundation Gallery on Monday. We were welcomed by staff into the light and airy gallery space which has to have the best sea views in Dorset!

Gallery view during set up

11 seam collective members are taking part this time: Angie Parker, Helen MacRitchie, Jane Colquhoun, Joy Merron, Dr. Linda Row, Lou Baker, Lydia Needle, Nina Gronw-Lewis, Oliver Bliss, Penny Wheeler and one of our new members Alice-Marie Archer.

You can expect to see a lively exhibition that celebrates the unique perspectives of this diverse group and their personal exploration of a range of textile disciplines from the traditional to the contemporary.  We are looking forward to stimulating thought, connection and conversation while here in Dorset, and you can take part too, by adding to our interactive sculpture.

Blessed with blue skies for our tea break, from left to right Alice-Marie Archer, Joy Merron, Jane Colquhoun and Nina Gronw-Lewis.

To complement the exhibition we are also offering a range of artist-led workshops and drop-ins, from planting seeds in textiles to weaving, knitting, felt making and collage to lace making demonstrations and much more, see below for the full listing.

DateArtists in the galleryEvents – all will be held in the gallery or just outside
Tuesday16Lou Baker,
Oliver Bliss
Baker & Bliss, Queer and Subversive Experiments – Free
Join Lou Baker and Oly Bliss as they experiment with queer and subversive textile-based processes using second-hand clothing. You are welcome to join the conversation, take part or simply watch them as they work. Developing ideas from their collaboration at seam’s Holburne Open residency, they want to test new parameters in terms of unified colours and size. They will make a series of sculptures for either a multipart installation or future large – scale work. Materials and tools will be provided. You’re welcome to join in.
Wednesday17Lou Baker,
Oliver Bliss
Thursday18Jane Colquhoun
Friday19Alice-Marie Archer
Saturday20Alice-Marie ArcherAlice-Marie Archer Seeding Textiles 11am – 2pm – Free
From 11am-2pm Alice will be inviting visitors to the exhibition to try their hand at applying seeds to textiles, to take home to germinate. Feel free to bring natural fabric swatches or even old wool socks for a playful hands on session. Resulting pieces are sticky so please bring Tupperware to take them home in!
Sunday21Joy MerronJoy Merron Cordage – Free
Joy will be demonstrating how to make cordage from some of the plants growing around the gallery, as well as other common plants that can be used to make cord. Have a go at making cordage from plants.
Monday22Joy Merron
Tuesday23Jane ColquhounAngie Parker Krokbragd Weaving Demonstration – Cancelled
Wednesday24Jane Colquhoun
Thursday25Helen MacRitchieHelen MacRitchie Lacemaking Demonstration – Free 
During the exhibition Helen will be demonstrating lacemaking. Visitors can come and observe her working and find out how lacemaking is incorporated into her felt pieces
Friday26Helen MacRitchie
Saturday27Helen MacRitchie,
Nina Gronw-Lewis
Nina Gronw-Lewis Book Making With Collage 
11 am – 1pm, £30 per person (Up to 8 participants) 
Nina has been making artists’ books alongside her sculpture practice for over 15 years. ln this 2-hour workshop she will lead you through the techniques needed to make your own individual folded book with abstract collage content, making each book unique. This workshop is suitable for beginners, all materials and tools are provided. Book here. 
Helen MacRitchie Free Knotting –Free
A demonstration of the binding and knotting processes Helen uses with naturally dyed wool yarns.
Sunday28Helen MacRitchieHelen MacRitchie Free Knotting (see above)
Monday29Nina Gronw-Lewis
Tuesday30Nina Gronw-Lewis
Wednesday31Nina Gronw-LewisJane Colquhoun Make a Stick Character – Free 
10.30 – 11.30am and 2.30 – 3.30pm (outside, weather permitting) 
Informal ‘drop in’ family workshops – make a stick character with found materials and scrap. Find a stick, or two, on the way to the gallery.
Thursday1Nina Gronw-Lewis
Friday2Nina Gronw-Lewis
Saturday3Lydia NeedleLydia Needle Needle-felt a Bee
11am -1pm, £30 per person (Up to 8 participants) 
In this workshop, you will learn the basic principles of needle felting, using beautiful British wool. We will look at the anatomy of bees and how it can be represented uniquely and beautifully in wool and stitch. This class is suitable for complete beginners or those looking to hone their needle felt skills and to experiment with stitch. Please bring a small tin or container to work into, although Lydia will have a few spares. Book here.
Sunday4Lydia Needle
Monday5Lydia Needle
Tuesday6Lou Baker,
Jane Colquhoun
Lou Baker Social Knitwork –Free
Come and be part of Lou Baker’s Social Knitwork! Focusing on mellow making and conversation, join Lou as she knits in the gallery. Bring your knitting, crochet or stitched work, use some of the tools and materials provided, or just come and chat. Everyone is welcome.
Wednesday7Lou Baker,
Penny Wheeler
Lou Baker Social Knitwork (see above) 
Penny Wheeler Back Strap Weaving – Free
An extension to Social Knitwork – come and try back strap weaving where your body is part of the loom. Tools and materials provided.

All the work looks so good together in this great space, don’t take my word for it, come and see for yourself! A Visible THREAD is open daily from 10.30 – 5pm from 16 May to 7 June 2023, there will be a seam collective member stewarding each day – we look forward to seeing you.

Team seam! From left to right Jane Colquhoun, Joy Merron, Alice-Marie Archer, Oliver Bliss, Nina Gronw-Lewis, Helen MacRitchie and Lou Baker.

Find us at Fine Foundation Gallery, Durlston Country Park, Lighthouse Road, Swanage, Dorset BH19 2JL, and check out @seam-collective on Instagram for what we get up to each day.

If you can’t come and see us at Swanage, you can catch A Visible THREAD on the rest of our tour at:

  • Black Swan Arts, Frome: 16 September – 29 October 2023
  • Llantarnam Grange, Cwmbran: 17 February – 4 May 2024
  • Thelma Hulbert, Honiton: 20 July – 31 August 2024

See seam collective’s website and Instagram for full details of the tour, workshops and participatory events and sign up for seam’s newsletter for regular news and updates. 

Nina Gronw-Lewis