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Horace's Portrait

THOSE FORGOTTEN

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Many families have inherited collections of photographs, and as they get passed down through the generations, there are inevitably pieces of information that get lost along the way. Names and connections dissolve and are forgotten.

I buy collections of these photographs from eBay.  They arrive bundled up in plastic bags - pictures of strangers who have been separated from those who remember anything about them. I use embroidery thread to bring these objects back into relevance in a contemporary world, converging the past life of the object with our present.

I use the thread and stitch design to draw out narrative which, although not explicit, stirs the imagination of the viewer and encourages them to look again into the eyes of these strangers, and to perhaps reflect on the photographic evidence that they will leave behind.

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Any factual information that I can glean from the photograph will often form part of the title. Sometimes there are names, dates, places, or short greetings to others written on the back.

I always work on the original photograph, responding to the quality of the paper, the size of the original image and incorporating any damage into my design process. Initially, I digitise the photograph and use digital tools to explore design possibilities, but I find satisfaction in the tactile process of physically piercing holes for threading directly into the original object, embracing the element of risk it entails.

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Horace's Portrait

Brimming

Grace

Conjoined 1934

with love

Brenda, Alone

My work is not about decoration or embellishment. I use thread to draw the eye to the potential narratives that the image holds. Sometimes the works are strange and unworldly, or suffused with darkness and sadness.

Donated photographs can be in any condition and from any era. Blurred polaroids hold just as much poetry as the formal studio photographs that were often the preserve of the wealthy.

Those Forgotten will rescue photographs that might have otherwise been discarded and transform them into art works, in the hope that with a new story to tell, they might be passed forward through the generations. 

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Alfie

Lived in Bridlington

Letter of Support from Worthing Museum and Gallery

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