Tons of garments have been the inspiration for my art practice, initially producing over 30 site-specific installation sculptures with garments identified as rags. My work with clothing labels has evolved from this process and developed in ways that I could not have predicted.
A turning point was when I wrote to fashion designer Paul Smith to ask him for some of his designer labels to use in my practice. He said NO, but he was so impressed with my technique that he commissioned ‘Red Rabbit’ assembled with his Paul Smith jean label. Paul has the original in his private collection but a Limited Edition Giclee print is available with some proceeds going to Maggie’s Cancer Charity.
I use 1000s of dressmaker pins to attach woven and printed labels to canvas, a technique that has evolved through experimentation. The labels and pins work together forming rhythm, pattern and texture. Over the last 20 years I have pinned out over 30,000 clothing labels, some of my larger pieces can be viewed during open studios.
Savile Row has provided a unique window from which to showcase my work using bespoke tailoring labels. Collaborations include a portrait of Sir Winston Churchill selected from the archive of tailors Henry Poole, also an installation in the window of Huntsman for Wool Week.
I enjoy the anticipation of applying for Open Exhibitions and my work has been hung twice in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, two portraits selected by Grayson Perry.
As the rag trade continues to evolve the future of my work with used clothing labels is uncertain. The last 20 years has seen many changes, and instead of being identified as rags, many garments now end up for sale in pound shops, an initiative that is much better for the environment.
For now however I still have a few labels to assemble. To view my work with 1000s of clothing labels and pins please call by the studio during my opening hours above. Please bring along any clothing labels, or old name-tapes that you would like to donate, labels need to be unpicked from their garments (not cut), thank you. If I receive enough donated labels I will endeavour to use these in a new piece of work.
Looking forward to meeting you.