Brighton Futures

It’s privilege to have a detail of the duster I embroidered for the recent Marks Make Meaning exhibition and symposium at the University of Brighton featured in the publicity for Brighton Futures – the five themes for research and enterprise at the University of Brighton. ‘The Brighton Futures tackle today’s most pressing challenges through collaborative research and enterprise, generating new insights and practical solutions to improve lives and transform the way we live’, which perfectly reflects the ideas that underpin this project.

Brighton Futures Banner_850x2200[FINAL]

Screen Shot 2018-06-20 at 10.27.01


Ditchling Museum of Art & Craft: Pop-Up Exhibition and Drop-in Workshop

I’m really excited to announce that the duster collection and myself will be taking over the workshop area at Ditchling Museum of art & Craft  for the whole of the first weekend in August.  We will be inviting you to view the display of over 100 dusters from individuals who have responded to my call to embroider perspectives on women and domesticity onto a duster from 11am – 5pm on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th August. There will also be a drop-in workshop inviting you to begin to stitch your own duster if you wish. The workshop is free with the usual cost to visit the museum, with an optional collection for Women’s Aid if you’d like to contribute.

The duster collection has not been exhibited in it’s entirely since it started in 2014, so there will be some old favourites on display alongside plenty of new additions. If you’d like to stitch a duster beforehand so that yours can be included in the exhibition please contact me for more details.

The duster collection will compliment the current exhibition by Corita Kent, known for her ground-breaking banners and posters. It will be such a privilege to join this work.

I hope to see you there!

Duster 1 PRINT

Carnival of Invention

Delighted to be part of the Carnival of Invention conference at the University of Brighton today. Dusters are hung in one of the lecture theatres ready to ‘perform’ alongside other exciting arts based projects. I’ll be running a workshop inviting new embroidered additions to the collection too.

Memory with Christine Chester

It was exciting to see that the duster Christine Chester made for the collection has been featured as part of an interview about her work for Her piece ‘memory’ reflected the domestic life of her mother when she found herself caring for a husband with dementia. Christine was one of the first to respond to my call for embroidered dusters and generously hosted the first exhibition at her studio in Eastbourne.

Christine Chester crop

The full interview with Christine is available here:

Sutton Library Workshop – 12th June

Yesterday was spent at Sutton Library where I met mother and daughter duo Elizabeth and Felicity.

Felicity is just 10 years old; it was great to have younger opinion on the domestic debate. She was dedicated to completing her duster, spending a solid three hours working hard to design and complete her submission. She is pictured here as with her work of art, the first duster to be completed at Sutton. Her duster reads ‘the domestic woman never tires’, it was inspired by the idea of buying this service like a commodity in a catalogue.

Well done Felicity!



Workshops at Sutton Library

Over the next couple of months I will be running regular workshops at Sutton Library where you can begin to stitch your own duster to join the collection. You can book beforehand or simply drop in. All materials and plenty of help/inspiration provided. No previous skills required but expert embroiders are also welcome – it’s what you stitch that counts. A selection of dusters from the collection will also be on display.

I’ll be there between 11am and 4pm. The dates are as follows:

Tuesday 12th June
Tuesday 26th June
Tuesday 3rd July
Saturday 14th July
Tuesday 17th July
Saturday 21st July

I do hope you can join me!

Marks Make Meaning Exhibition & Workshop at University of Brighton

I’m delighted to have a duster stitched by myself in the Marks Make Meaning drawing exhibition at the University of Brighton, which runs until the end of next week. The piece I created was inspired by the Drawing/Phenomenology conference I attended at Loughborough University last year.

Over the course of one month (January 2018), I engaged daily with a duster, embellishing it with intuitive marks that responded to the materiality of the cloth and its significance as a mundane domestic object. The result is an expression of the experience as well as a personal voice. Sometimes the day’s efforts resulted in areas of intense stitching, others in sparse marks, depending largely on other activities or commitments. Sometimes I felt inclined to make no more than a few stitches, other times I lost myself in the process and embroidered intensively.

The repetitive process of sewing in this way mimicked patterns of behaviour experienced when completing domestic tasks – motions such as wiping that repeat without conscious thought. Tasks begun and forgotten; a few quick wipes in comparison with intense scrubbing. The marks made like this with a needle and thread reference those created through drawing, leaving a trace if unpicked and permanence through application and style.

As a designer by training it was a challenge to embroider without a plan and without focus on the aesthetic qualities or ultimate outcome. Inevitably a pattern emerged, but it is one that I feel represents my domestic life; moments of focus interspersed with light touches to ‘keep things going’ through the working week.

In addition to to this I ran a workshop, inviting students and staff to join me in contemplating the materiality of the duster and all it stands for. We had a wonderful afternoon sharing  stories, academic texts and experiences alike. The most notable outcome was that as we touched, scrunched and simultaneously drew the duster, first in pencil then embellishing with stitch, a number of 3D forms emerged for the first time. Thank you to all who attended and for your invaluable input.

MA Inclusive Arts Practice ‘Bright Talk’

I was delighted to be invited to speak at one of the University of Brighton’s MA Inclusive Arts Practice ‘Bright Talks’. This is a student led initiative, which invites a selection of different artists and practitioners to share their knowledge.

One student in particular had seen the duster exhibition at the University’s Grand Parade site earlier this year and since then our paths have crossed several times. It was a pleasure to meet the group and to share ideas. We’d planned a workshop, but following my talk the questions flowed until our time was up, so dusters were taken away for contemplation and embroidery in their own time. I can’t wait to see their ideas!

They also filmed my talk, so watch this space…

vanessa marr pic 2vanessa marr pic 5