HOME   Press for HOME 'Jeanette Sendler' in Gothic Script


The Golden Rule

June 2010
project supported by
Scottish Arts Council logo
Innovation & Creative Development in Craft
University of Dundee
Dalhousie Building



Seven Minutes of Explosion

April 2008

Collaboration between Jeanette Sendler & Barbara Ridland.


Shetland Museum and Archives

Barbara stretches a red fabric piece across grey gravel



Stiched Up

January 2007

Crescent Arts

Pair of Glass Scissors
'Finding your way home' – long knitted textile in wool. This time 2 of the 5 in the collection hung from the ceiling
Pair of Frosted Ice Scissors in glass
Green Oct 2006
Japan 2006
Part of Jeanette’s Installation for Japan, summer 2006
paper cocoons hanging from wire
Vilnius 2003
Collection of felt balls on wooden floor
Royal Botanic Garden 2002






Collection of Aprons suspended from Ceiling
Wasps 2006
red sections of felt rope on spikes of railings
 Ayr 2003
Big Cat Textiles Newburgh

Big Cat Textiles
3 Clinton Street
Newburgh, Fife

Scotland KY14 6DP

email: Jeanette
landline: 01337 841004
Hat Shop: 01738 624213
mobile: 07813 023607
webpage: davejford
Review in ‘Crafts’ magazine September/October 2006

Waterside Arts Centre, Manchester
19 May-15 July 2006
Catalogue: £3

As the catalogue for Threadbare, which is curated by Lesley Sutton, proposes:’ By using the familiarity of ‘dress’ as a metaphor for relating underlying deeper issues associated with memory, life, death and personal narrative each artwork encourages us to listen and converse with others, the world and ourselves.’ It’s broad remit, and was perhaps the exhibition’s weakness – while, for viewers familiar with explorations of dress in the textile art context, it was frustrating that the bulk of the exhibition featured celebrated, well-known work.
In many ways, the work on display spoke of dress in such tangential ways that it seemed more of an aside than the exhibition’s focus. Caroline Broadhead’s Tunnel Dress, a series of wire dress shapes hung in increasing size that project the shadow of a wobbly figure on the wall, suggests – on both emotional and physical levels –erasure and ambiguity. Shelly Goldsmith’s Fragmented Bell: Reclaimed Dress and Knickers from the Children’s Home and Cincinnati also explores scale and fragility, but Goldsmith (see feature on p.56) asks us to take a huge leap connecting the child-sized dress form, acquired from an orphanage, and the pixelated disaster scene digitally printed onto the dress. Nearby, Jennifer Collier presented an elongated dress of uncanny proportions that towered above viewers. This theme of unease and discomfort appeared throughout the show. While most of the artists have chosen the medium of female dress, Jeanette Sendler’s haunting costumes from her Ghost Letters performance stood out as the androgynous exception. Displayed like carcases after slaughter, these powerful works suggested skin rather than dress to my eyes, especially the ‘imprint’ that the heat of the performer’s bodies has left on the felt’s memory. Julie Cassel’s looped videos stood out too, as one of the few works to explore positive associations, capturing the innocent emotion of ‘joy’ with a waist-high image of what looked to be a young woman moving in idyllic settings, such as dancing with sea’s surf. In her catalogue essay, Dr Jane Webb notes that the artists included ‘do not want to represent something, but rather they utilise the inherent shifts and twists of thread itself to awaken meaning within us. ‘Webb’s observation throws into question both the central theme of dress and the exhibition’s title. To my mind, it’s confusing to collect together a group of work based on the form of the dress without interrogating the definition of the dress. With the exception of Sendler’s forms, the shape of dress displayed here referred to a female experience only, rather than a general human experience –but this distinction is not touched upon. Furthermore, the exhibition title Threadbare could be understood as laying bare and exposing the threads of thoughts as well as those of the textiles that become worn with use. Nothing was made of this. Perhaps some clarification would have helped. The waterside Arts Centre provided an ample exhibition space, but not concealing its double life as a conference centre. The background music piped into the space was a distraction, as were temporary walls, and there was a lack of natural light. Broadhead’s Tunnel dress, for instance, could be viewed from one angle, but the shadows it cast against a second wall opposite were distorted by seams and temporary partitions.
I’m sure the education initiatives established by Sutton in conjunction with this exhibition have been great for the local community. But when textile art exhibitions are already few and far between, it seems a shame that this one did not manage to explore its theme in sufficient depth, and relied so heavily on key works already widely seen elsewhere in Britain.
Jessica Hemmings