Check out the Pages for latest updates - saves scrolling!

Threads of Memory - Windrush series

Windrush. Fading away with memories that will be lost. It's a history we should record. This is a blog of how my pieces are building.

1) Rachel  - Most Racist Was In White Church  2) Marcia - Validation  3)  The Background's Too Strong, it Needs to be Whiter 4) Jeff Brown - You Try To Do Your Best  5) George Saunders


16th November 2023
I'm starting another smaller momento mori piece today but will be back with Windrush soon.
14th November 2023

Putting on the binding, do will be starting a new piece in a couple of days. 

12th November 2023
It's taken a month to finally get to work on this one but I'm on the home straight now. I've just begun the stitching in the background. Then I'll stand back and alter the colours here and there and correct any errors. I think the thread colour I've chosen for the background - a deep gold - isn't strong enough to knock back the text, so I'll probably add a glaze of colour to do that instead, but that will be a decision I'll make when finishing up and the binding etc is complete. 
A few people have commented on the strange way the clothing on these 3 models has been stitched and painted, but the effect is one of fading away. True I could have made it stronger and probably more pleasing by painting in the normal way, but it's important to me that it illustrates my message of local stories being lost if we don't record them in some way.
Jeff Brown - You Try To Do Your Best.

12th October 2023 

Jeff Brown. Stitched and painted. 

9th October 2023 

I've stopped the painting of Jeff and am going to start again as I'm not happy with the way the stitching is too tight and is wrinkling the fabric. I tried free hand zig zag for the eyebrows which was a mistake. So, off to buy more fabric and an embroidery hoop to keep things flat when I stitch. 

6th October 2023
Today I started work on Jeff Brown, who came to the UK as a teenager and saw a lot of change in that time.

 30th September 2023

"Marcia Watson - Validation"

Quilt 100cms x 118cms
Marcia's experiences on moving to the UK from Jamaica when she was 8 years old.

24th September 2023

Benjamin Zephaniah has very kindly given me permission to use some of his poetry in this next piece of work. I have been reading his autobiography and poems and making notes of wonderful words I could use. In the end I thought his portrait which is one of the Windrush series, should feature his poem about Windrush, "The Men from Jamaica Are Settling Down".

I felt it was important that these words were readable, and not knocked back to become part of the piece so was wondering how I could do this. My background which is a collection of sketches/painting I'd made of Brum were too strong and the words wouldn't show, so wondered what I could do about that. I decided on a layer of gesso with the words then written on top.  I said to G, "the background's too strong, it needs to be whiter" and the title was born. My innards fizzed; it felt right. Thank you Benjamin!



22nd September 2023 


Starting the text

21st September 2023 

20th September 2023 


Beginning to work on hair. Hope to finish it tomorrow. Next stage is Marcia's words. 

The paint on the clothes etc is supposed to show the patterning on the cloth. The meaning behind the coffee cup and jumper will become apparent in a few days. 

 19th September 2023


A late summer burst of sun has put a stop to progress temporarily as I do battle with the garden weeds and overgrown stuff. I've managed to stitch Marcia's clothes, and will work on it more from now on as it's gone back to normal rain and tupperware skies.



6th September 2023 

Marcia's hands. 

4th September 2023 

Blocking in hands. 

2nd September 2023 

2nd round of paint. 

31st August 2023

I've begun to paint Marcia's face. This is the first layer of paint. I'm loving doing such beautiful skin tones.

24th August 2023


Ive started the 2nd quilt in this Windrush series. Marcia. 

Hands, drawing hands! Absolutely hate foreshortening 😏

The series off at a tangent for a moment 

20th August 2023

Well, it's definitely #2 but not sure who it will be a portrait of. I have 3 volunteers and want to do one of Benjamin Zephaniah who is very inspiring and definitely one of the Windrush generation, but not exactly local.

First things first though, I need to find a suitable bits of material to make them on. Benjamin's is sorted which may be why I want to get on with his portrait so much. The fabric is a collage of images I drew of Brum's landmarks.

Windrush portrait number 1, Rachel - Most Racist Was In White Church


16th August 2023

Knocking back the pink cloth by using blue thread. I started using a beautiful slightly shiny lyocell thread from madeira, but after adjusting tensions on top, plus bobbin, changing the needle, etc I had to give up and start unpicking, and then switch to my usual gutermann thread. Not such an exciting colour but no problems stitching. 

12th August 2023

"My couldn’t stand fish and chips because our fish used to be well fried and when dad buy fish and chips it’s white inside and I said no, I’m not going to eat this . But tell you now I would change any Caribbean food for fish and chips. I would change any rice and peas and ackee and saltfish. Give me fish and chips".

10th August 2023

The quilt is building slowly and I'm working on the hands at the moment. The idea is that you can see the fabric through the painting, which you can, but from a distance it gives a slightly mottling effect - bit to difficult to paint in a thinner way without losing the realism which is important to me for these Windrush pieces. I've also been working on fish and chips as they play a significant part in Rachel's life in the UK. 


 First layers of stitching and first layers of paint. 

No comments:

Post a Comment