Thursday, 7 February 2013
Alice Kettle: Looking forwards to the past
I am helping Alice Kettle with a project that involves lace, so while I was in Winchester I thought I’d go and see her enormous embroidery ‘Looking forwards to the past’. She is known for her large painterly machine embroideries, but the scale of this one, hanging in the Winchester Discovery Centre, still takes your breath away: it is 16.5 metres long and 3 metres tall. It depicts her impression of the history and contemporary life of Winchester and uses a vivid colour palette taken from the Winchester Bible’s illuminated manuscripts. It incorporates images from Medieval wall paintings and tiles, Anthony Gormley’s ‘Sound II’ statue in the cathedral crypt, as well as depictions of contemporary life and people. It provides an image of Winchester that only someone born and brought up in the city could produce; a feeling of ancient history combined with the everyday; the broad sweep of lived experience contrasted with jewel-like details. The image above only shows a small section, but it is an amazing textile and you can even sit in the café and admire it with a cup of coffee. The lace project I’m helping with will be revealed at the National Maritime Museum next month, so watch this space for details of that.