Guild Scholars 2017/2018

Jessica Grady

Sculpture Collection 2018I have always been interested in textiles, and enjoyed the tactility of embroidery and embellishment. I decided to do a textiles degree down at Norwich University of the Arts in 2011. During my time at university I had the chance to experiment with lots of different techniques and textile processes. As I wasn’t required to choose a narrow textile specialism I enjoyed creating samples with both print and embroidered elements, which has influenced the way I create mixed media textiles now as an artist.

I graduated in 2014 with a First class degree and was also chosen to exhibit at New Designers, where I was chosen by Twisted Thread to be included the Festival of Quilts graduate showcase. I then went onto become a freelance embroidery designer for the fashion industry. I created embroidered and embellished swatches for various companies throughout the USA, Japan and the UK. As well as creating commercial designs I have always continued to create my own work, and have exhibited and sold my embroideries in various shows and galleries across the UK and Europe.

Sculpture Collection 2I became involved in the Embroiderers Guild in 2016 and attend my local Guild over in York. The ladies in the York Guild are the most supportive and friendly bunch and really helped with my own confidence at pushing my work. I was chosen as one of last years RAW Talent 2017 award winners through Art & York, and part of my award included business mentoring which has been a hugely important part of my journey in my textile career as an artist. Having the mentoring helped me to set up my own workshop programme, which has been a fantastic success and I now regularly teach my embroidery techniques to groups, schools, colleges and individuals all over the UK. Having the support of my local Guild made me want to do something to help them and I became the Young Embroiderers leader back in October last year. I am hugely passionate about getting children involved with textiles and stitch, and I’m happy to say the City of York Young Embroiderers’s is flourishing and we are increasing our numbers dramatically! Receiving the Guild Scholar award is such an incredible opportunity for me to develop my new ideas of sculptural embroideries, and also being able to show my collection at such a fantastic launch pad - being the Knitting and Stitching shows.

Sculpture Collection 2018Currently I have been working on ideas for the beginnings of my new sculptural collection inspired by coral. This has been very successful so far and I am enjoying creating highly 3D embroidered pieces. I have researching new recycled materials that I can use within my work, including plastic coffee pods, food wrappers and old electric cables. I have also been on a research trip to Yorkshire sculpture park for ideas with creating 3D forms. I also have had a lot of local and international press about my work. I was the only British artist chosen for American textile publication FiberArt Now’s Emerging Artist showcase, and I also had an interview in online contemporary art magazine Art Reveal and up cycling magazine Reloved.

Please click on the link below to see an item about me in the local press.

Please see Jess's website

Melanie Kay Yates

I am a Manchester based textile artist with a strong desire for my artistic work to be meaningful, purposeful and to act as a visual language.

Can It Be by Melanie KayMy work is an investigation into what is perceived as worthless or classified as waste. I have become aware of the apparent lack of ownership, relationship and responsibility to waste, particularly packaging, because of the transient nature in which it appears. This awareness has made me question my responsibility as a textile artist and reflect on how my creative choices have the potential for a wider positive or negative impact. By salvaging waste and incorporating this into my process, I have found beauty in the mundane and become mindful of the usually thoughtless activity that is, disposing of waste. I aim to redefine ideas and beliefs about waste by taking it out of its usual context and presenting waste materials differently to influence people’s perception. These ideas provide narrative within my work, encourage a deeper connection, raise questions, provoke speculation, and encourage us to reconsider our perceptions.

Love Affair by Melanie KayThe deeper I research my subject area the greater my sense of moral obligation in respect of environmental impact, sustainability and consumer behaviour. I have a strong desire for my artistic work to be meaningful, purposeful and to be a means of communication. The distress of clutter or the harmonious feeling of order triggers and provokes the idea that the material world impacts our emotional world. I am interested in the ways in which a viewer engages and relates to an object and how an emotional experience can be encouraged and maintained with an object usually considered to have no physical or emotional value.

Overload by melanie KayIt is important for me to use materials that can appropriately convey my ideas and allow me to be contemporary with my use of hand embroidery. I am currently experimenting with a variety of transparent materials such as plastic, cotton organdie and wire mesh to recreate and decontextualise everyday packaging items. My material choices question the lack of transparency with many production practices and manufacturing conditions today. I am interested in how these materials give a sense of conservation, protection and deprivation of touch, whilst simultaneously allowing access to what is going on inside. The instruction ‘Do Not Touch’ means the eyes must compensate for the hands but the desire to touch remains which leaves us perplexed. Thinking of consumption as the consuming of ideas and knowledge as well as a material notion, my use of stitch, imagery and text is a response to mass advertising. The objects I create could be considered vessels of information. They do not have any physical need or use but instead promote the value of knowledge and of personal experience.

Please see Melanie's website :

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