It has taken me a while, and now they are completed:
These are my Textile Stories banners about coal mining and South East Northumberland. The only way I could think of to photograph them was to hang them on the clothesline! The first one in the top left hand corner depicts coal mining during the industrial revolution. At that time very young children, including an ancestor of Stephen’s, were employed to haul heavy tubs of coal. They wore leather harnesses, with chains attached to the tubs. I dyed
some calico fabric with tea to create an aged appearance, and used leather for the hanging loops as a representation of the harnesses. The second banner, in the top right hand corner, depicts the promise of safety and security by nationalisation. The wording on one of the black and white adverts I have printed on cotton, and quilted, reads: “Miners, the skilled men the nation will always need”, now so ironic. The coloured pictures are copies of two works by The Pitmen Painters. I printed them on photo canvas and padded the back. I covered them with chiffon to knock back the brightness of the colour, and give a feeling of the past. The third banner, bottom left, has images of the Miner’s Strike of 1984. This is probably the most controversial topic! I used images of: striking miners being manhandled by the police; women protesting in support of the miners; and Margaret Thatcher, blamed by most people for the death of the deep mining industry in the UK. The only bright spot of colour is Maggie’s blue rust stained pussy-bow, symbolic of her Iron Lady status that eventually decayed. Lastly, on a bright background fabric, with colour photos, is the Hope in the 21st Century banner, depicting some of the things we have to be proud of. I hope my work will be included in the exhibition, which runs from 2nd to 5th May at Newbiggin Maritime Centre.