A Visible THREAD at Fine Foundation Gallery

16 May – 7 June 2023

Daily 10:30am – 5pm

Fine Foundation Gallery, Durlston Country Park, Lighthouse Road, Swanage, Dorset BH19 2JL

seam collective presents A Visible THREAD; an exhibition which explores the visibility and invisibility of thread at the Fine Foundation Gallery, and a range of artist-led events in the gallery, see the timetable below. Through their unique perspectives and a diverse range of textile disciplines, eleven seam artists have created new works to stimulate thought, connection and conversation.

The exhibition aims to encourage viewers to rethink their relationship to thread, be aware of its materiality, its sustainability, its possibilities, and limitations. Thread, as cloth, is woven through our lives. It surrounds us like a second skin. Yet, precisely because of these close connections, it becomes almost invisible to us.

Rooted in craft techniques, work made with thread has historically been seen as ‘women’s work’, private, functional, decorative, and safe. Cloth itself is still considered a gendered material and there’s a gender divide between ‘high’ art and feminised craft. Whilst thread was, until recently, barely visible as a medium in contemporary fine art, the current national and international upsurge in major exhibitions shows thread emerging as an exciting and radical medium for expression.

Ahead of the curve, seam, a contemporary textile collective, has been provoking critical conversations about thread as a medium in contemporary fine art since their inception, 10 years ago. The artists taking part are: Alice Marie Archer, Angie Parker, Helen MacRitchie, Jane Colquhoun, Joy Merron, Dr. Linda Row, Lou Baker, Lydia Needle, Nina Gronw-Lewis, Oliver Bliss and Penny Wheeler.

The artists will be in the gallery during the exhibition and there will be a range of artist-led events held during the exhibition, see the timetable below. Please could all minors and vulnerable adults be accompanied for the events.

Artists 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.