The 62 Group Show continues the tour at the NCCD, Sleaford. Private View Friday 1st February 6 to 8pm
The Naseby 11 continue their tour. From February 2nd to March 21st they will be at the Old Chapel. Please see their website for opening times.
As a textile artist I am inspired by family history and a love of nature, using digital print and embroidery as a means to explore ideas of memory, myths, fact and fiction. I am fascinated by the different ways our identity is shaped by place and experience, which has led me to understand that my interests and taste have been forged by the wonderful upbringing I have been fortunate enough to have.
This exhibition of drawings and textile artworks uses the lens of mother’s life as a vehicle to look at our shared experiences of the contrasts inherent in living in a rural farming town whilst working in the textile industry. Colour, texture and materiality are underpinned by a rich palette of craft and textile processes.
The Shepherd of Bumblebee Cottages
My mother’s birth certificate lists her father’s occupation as ‘Shepherd of Bumblebee Cottages’. It is the stuff of fairytales. In response to this landscape and experiences take on magical, poetic and fantastical qualities.
As the 4th daughter of 9 children she talks so fondly of her childhood in a small village outside of Market Harborough, Leicestershire, where her freedom to explore and discover a love of nature more than made up for any lack of material possessions. She remembers her father as a vital farm labourer, a man of all seasons in tune with the rhythms of the land. In her mind he is driving the Ferguson tractor and dealing with all aspects of livestock and arable farming, whilst I can only remember him as my elderly grandfather suffering from chronic ill health.
After school she went on to become a machinist in ‘Symingtons’, the long since closed lingerie factory that dominated the town where she met my father. As a child I grew up with an industrial sewing machine in our living room as she was an outworker. Instead of wandering the fields with rabbits we had a pet rabbit in the hutch in the back garden. Listening to her anecdotes has always provided limitless inspiration.
The exhibition encompasses several themes that range from the nostalgic black and white photographs of family and buildings, in contrast with detailed drawings of farm animals and colourful interpretations of a magical forest filled with wildlife.
Hope to see many old friends and meet new ones at the final leg of the Decorated Tour of Duty with the Knitting and Stitching show. In Hall M next to the Royal Hall at Harrogate Convention Centre. Showing a new configuration of the exhibition.
I am honoured and humbled to have been asked to show the series of artworks entitled ‘Naseby 11’ (from the Decorated show) at the Excel building in Tipperary on the 16th November 2018.
I am delighted to be showing the Naseby 11 in Dublin in November. New work will be on show so I hope to see many friendly faces then.
PRESS RELEASE : Nigel Graham Cheney
Knitting and Stitching Shows
11th to 14th October, 2018 : Alexandra Palace, London
8th to 11th November, 2018 : Dublin, Republic of Ireland
22nd to 25th November : Harrogate
Nigel Cheney is a textile artist, designer and educator with over 30 years of experience. Until 2017 he lived and worked in Dublin as Lecturer in Embroidery at the National College of Art and Design. At the Knitting and Stitching shows this Autumn he will profile a selection of his recent work reflecting on WWI, especially the ‘Naseby 11’; whose names appear on the village War Memorial.
’Decorated – Tour of Duty’
This exhibition encompasses over 4 years of research and practical textile experiments that reflect on the ideas of loss and commemoration. It explores just what we mean by the term ‘decorated’. 2017 saw the centenary of the death of my Great Grandfather, a person who for me was never anymore than an old photo of a soldier that used to be on my grandmother’s sideboard. Like many of those who served and died in WW1 he was ‘decorated’ with three WW1 medals. Before starting this project I had only a vague sense that these existed or what they signified. It has been a vast undertaking to try and be both respectful to the memory of those who died in the First World War and also to try and reflect what it must have been like for those who survived. The sight of the vast graveyards and memorials in France and Belgium are places that seem so far away from our everyday experience. They are in sharp contrast to the war memorials in every English town and village that seem to blossom and become visible only when they are decorated with wreaths of poppies on Remembrance Sunday.
Taking personal starting points of family and local history, I have produced a number of ‘body bag’ forms that graft actual uniforms with army kit bags in the form of ‘sentinels’. United by an enquiry into the nature of ‘decorations’ in both form and function there is an extensive use of vintage, digitally printed pieces of cloth, embroidery and textile processes to alter these existing objects and allude to narratives of individuals.
Uniforms are designed to make everyone of the same rank and regiment equal. A military decoration is an award of medal and ribbon that denotes heroism. To decorate expresses the need to personalise or make more attractive. For those whose loved ones have served in the armed forces I feel there is a fundamental need to imbue these pieces of clothing with more individual and personal memories that go beyond serial numbers or army insignia. As transitional objects we hold clothing to us to experience some sense of the person to whom they belonged. Mythologies are created through repairing, altering and embellishing these. As an embroiderer the methods and tools I have at my disposal lend themselves to the act of repair. The making of the work has been a method to explore many of the questions that I have had about remembrance and sacrifice and of how people put themselves back together after experiencing a traumatic loss. For me this is a domestic and highly personal act that is concerned with creating memories and re-telling stories through colour, texture, materials and imagery. During the centenary of the Great War many people have embarked on researching their ancestors and discovering through these connections. As a nation we have lost the ability to understand the language of military regalia and most of us would struggle to recognise and name a WW1 medal or be able to identify the cap badge for a specific regiment. Many contemporary military historians are preoccupied with banishing the myths and making the tragedy of war more understandable. Moving away from blank, colourless memorials, even going so far as colouring archive footage to allow it to resonate with the viewer.
I was featured in the August 2018 edition of the Selvedge magazine.
Taking place in the iconic Alexandra Palace, the Knitting & Stitching Show is the biggest textile event in the UK and features some of the top textile artists exhibiting their work. Textile artist Nigel Cheney’s exhibition Decorated – Tour of Duty will be on display at the Show. He talked to Jessica Edney about the story behind the exhibition.
“I have been working on this project for over five years and it began at the junction of three elements. The first was physical. There was a time in the summer of 2012 when I was simply creatively exhausted. I picked up some simple Aida canvas and just started sewing. Playing with colour relationships; trying not to over think, just enjoying stitching. Very quickly they started to look like medal ribbons and I began to consider the language and codification of these.
I was; but I do find more pain in banishment
Than death can yield me here by my abode.…
What were you snarling all before I came,
Ready to catch each other by the throat,…
And leave out thee? stay, dog, for thou shalt hear me.
If heaven have any grievous plague in store…
2016 by Dr. Paul Caffrey