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Annual Celebrity Lecture: Stitch Stories – Creating Narrative in Stitch
with Cas Holmes
on 28 October 2017

Cas feels that that her work is about the role of cloth and stitch in our lives and asked the question why is it so important to us? She feels that cloth is part of our cultural history. She is a gatherer of things which bring back memories and, when she layers up cloth, she layers up memories. On the front of her book, “StItch Stories”, there is an image of Edith Cavell and there are associated words and images to do with the First World War. Layered with them are images of flowers - some on handkerchiefs - all overlaid with embroidered flowers. The reference is to the fact that soldiers, even in the darkest of places, enjoyed growing and cultivating plants. The piece of work was featured in a “Handkerchiefs and Garden of Remembrance” exhibition in Lambeth with Age UK. Cas trained in community arts and collaborates with other people such as Ros Woodhead who works with prisons and youth, improving their engagement.

Her exhibition, “Hop Kilns”, in an old hoppers’ hut at Kent Life, looked at records of the Kent hop fields which today have declined to nothing. These included written records and photographs; she searched for all those overlooked details to lay down the memories of the hop fields on her pieces hanging in the hut.

Her stories evolve because she is constantly looking around although it is not all observation. Touching cloth can evoke thoughts about its history, as cloth “interferes” with all aspects of our lives. She saved her father’s painting cloths that he wiped his brushes on.

Cas gets her inspiration from travelling or from her local environment. A 2014 exhibition, “40 Yards”, took inspiration from things within 40 yards of her home. She produces installations that hang in office buildings, light ships or even Farnham Pottery where her “Common Land, Common Spaces” was exhibited. Many images of her work can be seen on her website.

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