Monday August 02 2021



Village Art & Literature

Celebration of creation

Posted on October 21 2013 at 2:32:22 0 comments

Snowflake patterns

Hopwood-based artist Paula Hamilton visits an inspiring exhibition.

It’s well known that our area used to be renowned for its needle making industry. Maybe that’s why there are so many creative textile designers around here now. 

One group, The Forge Mill Embroiderers, are a group of like-minded textilers who meet regularly and who are all committed to, and passionate about, sustaining the historical tradition of needlework that is associated with Redditch.

They have an exhibition of their creative work at Forge Mill Needle Museum until November 24, where both traditional and modern interpretations of embroidery are shown. 

Currently running, but unfortunately soon to finish, is a show some of you may have noticed advertised in the last issue of The Village, an exhibition called Creation: A Celebration, at the Ecumenical Centre in Redditch town centre. If you’ve seen it you’ll know what I mean when I say it is breathtakingly gorgeous. 

Think illuminated manuscripts with their wonderful calligraphy, illustrations and applied gold leaf, plus amazing hand and machine embroidery with appliqué and embellishments.

Better still, think of the Book of Kells only with a beautiful modern feel and with wonderful textures as well as vivid colours. The ingenuity of these designs is stunning and they have clearly been made with a lot of love. 

So who is the artist who made these fantastic pieces of work? Her name is Sue Symons and she was born in Hampshire in 1942. Her childhood was spent in Dorset and she studied Art at Bath Academy.

She taught at schools in Wallingford and Malvern before moving to France for four years with her husband and small child, and then spent sixteen years in British Columbia, Canada, where she taught Further Education classes and exhibited widely. In 2005 she returned to England, and now lives near Bath. 

The 42 pieces of artwork which make up Creation are in 22 frames and extend over 50 feet in total.  Altogether, this entire work took two years to complete by hand – which seems rather quick, having seen the fine detail achieved.

The work was partly carried out in the artist’s small studio which measures just 11 by seven feet!

The exhibition depicts the story of Genesis in a stunningly beautiful and imaginative combination of painting and needlework. It is not so much a religious work as an illustration of a colourful story to which Sue Symons has applied her skills in painting, needlework and design.

The artist uses the poetic King James translation from Chapters 1 and 2 of Genesis to depict a great variety of plants, animals and insects – 112 different butterflies are illustrated on the endpapers of the book which accompanies this exhibition.

These stitched butterflies are literally breathtaking and could almost fly from the page. There are many other wonderful details including a kangaroo (with joey) on the page of living creatures.

I guess part of the point of an exhibition like this, apart from encouraging us to marvel at the artist’s ingenuity, is to make us think more deeply about how we look after the amazing world we inhabit; how we protect the plants and living things which inhabit our planet and also how we prevent ourselves from destroying each other.

If you have visited the exhibition – lucky you! If not, it may not be too late as it runs until November 5 and then travels on around the country.

Creation: A Celebration is on at Emmanuel Church, Evesham Walk, Redditch B96 4EX; last day of opening is November 5.

Please get in touch if you would like me to write about an art event near you. Contact me via The Village or at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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