The art of thoughtful stitching.
As an artist I draw my inspiration from the every-day: every-day people and every-day things. I am fascinated by ‘ordinary’ people and their stories, particularly of their home and working lives.
Wherever possible I use old & used materials as I love the thought that an old piece of clothing is implanted with stories of the wearer or that piece of vintage table linen holds the secrets of a household.
I layer, patch and piece my materials together with hand stitch. The act of stitching by hand is very important to me. There is something very personal about the slow, thoughtful process of leaving your mark with needle and thread.
Title: ‘Not Just Blue’
Media: Deconstructed antique christening gown, old & used textiles with hand embroidery.
Dimensions: 51cm (W) x 70cm (L)
Not Just Blue shares often hidden experiences of motherhood in a fragile cot sized quilt created from a deconstructed antique christening gown pieced and stitched onto old and used silk and cotton voile.
The words and handwriting were gathered by the artist as mothers shared their personal stories of postnatal depression during a community art project several years ago. The words made a profound impression, as did the fact that people had not previously spoken out and shared their experiences. The aim of this artwork is to open up conversations, for people to see that they are not alone with these thoughts and hopefully to enable them to speak out and seek help.
The words are simply but meticulously stitched. It seems appropriate that each small paragraph takes hours of stitching – giving the words the attention and thought that they deserve. The quilt is fragile and imperfectly patched together – in the words of one mother ‘barely holding it together’. It is suspended allowing the light to pass through, adding to the frailty – thoughts left hanging.
This piece is part of an ongoing series by the artist exploring perinatal mental health.
Ali is currently collecting personal stories of postnatal depression to be stitched into a series of vintage baby gowns. If you have a story that you would like to share please contact her directly. You can find out more about this ongoing project at: