Batley East Family Forum

Project: Changing Spaces
Participants: 6 parents
Partnering with: Field Lane JI&N
Artist: Fiona Goodwin

We are planning to explore the idea of changing seasons and spaces through the medium of textiles to create a collection of fabrics and a piece of artwork for the exhibition.   With Fiona the group plans to experiment with fabric manipulation and bonding techniques, sampling, needle felting and similar processes, as well as developing ideas for the design and presentation of our artwork.  In between our sessions with Fiona we will be working independently as a group to try out stitching and attachment methods which she will show us, and to collate our collection of fabric samples into an archive.  We are aiming to create a site-specific piece for the ceiling of the foyer at Batley East Children’s Centre, and are excited about the journey from here to there.

Session 1 – 6th February

textilessession1pic2batleyeast textilessession1pic1batleyeast

In preparation for the session a very lively group of inspirational ladies had already begun their research, referencing other textile artists’ work and having a space in mind for the piece they would create. With existing experience and knowledge of handling fabrics they were keen to start experimenting with paper and fabric manipulation techniques, pleating, folding, smocking, constructing.  We looked at a range of fabric possibilities, discussing, analysing and carefully selecting fabrics that we could sample with and that would be fit for purpose, excitedly exploring the idea of changing spaces and how this could be interpreted. With key fabric decisions made we’re well under way and looking forward to the next session. Fiona – artist

“Exhilarating, can’t wait to start using my fingers”

“This piece has a life of its own! Gathering momentum and evolving in such a way I hadn’t imagined. It won’t accept excuses; ignores any insecurities and drags us screaming to an unknown destination. AND I’M LOVING EVERY MINUTE OF IT!”

“I can visualise the end piece and I know it’s going to be a magnificent piece of work on a grand scale. This project is definitely taking me on a whole new journey of being creative, I’m very excited”

Session 2 – 27th February

textilessession2pic2batleyeast textilessession2pic1batleyeast

With most of the sampling achieved, material selection, measurements and calculus agreed, the final piece is well under way. Some of the decorative elements to be suspended from the main fabric manipulated structure are complete, referencing season changes beautifully. These have been designed so as to be fit for purpose for the ceiling space and are fully wipeable. Attachment methods for these have been discussed but are yet to be finished and refined.  Fiona – artist

“Learnt a bonding technique, whereby we used plasterers tape, wonder web and different
coloured mohair, ribbon, string and wool. We used a crochet needle to embellish the
sample. We considered using sequins, mirrors, beads, words to further enhance the

“I had a fabulous time exploring and using the different materials and can’t wait to get

“I was amazed to create this sample with the materials we used, would never have thought
a plasterers tape would be of artistic use.”

“Working with the mohair was really interesting, trapping different materials between the
bonder-web created amazing pieces.”

“It was really interesting using materials that you wouldn’t necessarily think of in relation to art. The textures and colours were wonderful.”

Session 3 – 20th March

textilessession3pic3batleyeast textilessession3pic2batleyeast textilessession3pic1batleyeast

The main body of the piece has been created in an off white, rigid pelmet fabric which sits well against the matt, almost clinical ceiling in the space. The group spent a lot of time developing paper folding, pleating and smocking methods to arrive at the end result, I’m sure it will look stunning in situ.  Outside of the artist led sessions, group work takes place on a regular basis, they are so committed and creatively spark and feed off each other.  Fiona – artist

“We can do anything together…between us we’re a rocket scientist”

“We used white and silver coloured lace, mesh, mohair, string, sequins and glitter to create mobile snowflakes for the Winter scene. After discussion we considered the longevity of the piece, hence laminating each snowflake.”

“Wow! Had a brilliant time creating the snowflake, my imagination ran wild.”

“Had great fun took me back, got me creating different snowflake designs.”

“It was fantastic getting back to being creative! Really enjoyed working on snowflakes with
the materials on hand, and having limited colours which make you think about the possible
designs from other angles.”

“This week’s session reminded us all of when we were children and making snowflakes at
school. It was very therapeutic and the outcome was brilliant!”

Final thoughts:

“I’ve had a brilliant time doing the project and am already missing our Wednesday mornings together! I feel our relationships have grown and strengthened from our last project together to this one; We have supported and worked well each other. Our art piece had to be functional and decorative.  After much deliberation we decided it should be a ceiling piece.  We discussed the size, placing and durability of the piece. I believe the art piece not only looks good but is practical for the Sure Start centre. I’m very pleased with the final piece. I have learnt new skills such as felting, fabric manipulation and using remnants to create mini art pieces. I’m already looking forward to our next project!”

Leave a Reply