In These Shoes

Textiles Exhibition at Peepul Enterprise, Leicester

Well it has been a while since my last post but there is a good reason. I have recently been working on a textiles hanging that was finally hung in the foyer of the Peepul Centre yesterday. The exhibition will stay up until May 2015.

It has been hard in the making of but well worth the effort I hope you will all agree.

Below are images of the large collaborative piece entitled ‘In These Shoes’ followed by my own response to the work entitled ‘In These Boots’, an homage to my own collection of Dr. Marten boots which have seen me through many tough times.

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The following piece was created by the BE group at Peepul Enterprise with Jemma Bagley from Charnwood Arts, it is entitled ‘300 Flowers’.


The 300 flowers are made from scrap pieces of fabric sewn round with a running stitch and ruched up to form little scrunchie flowers that have then been embellished in the center with a button or sequin. This is a very simple project to do but gives a very effective result.

This work represents all the ladies from the group as they brought in their own materials; spare fabric and clothing from which the circles were cut and spare buttons and trimmings. They worked together to make the finished piece over a month of coffee morning sessions on a Monday.

Elders 3 Be textile piece 13 12

‘In These Shoes’ features pictures of shoes created by members of Glebe House with learning disabilities. The pictures were scanned and manipulated in Photoshop by Jack Barsby and printed onto canvas. I then compiled them into the finished pieces whilst the fabulous Lydia Towsey ran two poetry workshops with the Khushi group at Peepul Enterprise.

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I have to take a moment here to mention the two workshops at the Peepul Centre with Lydia. It was a delight to watch her work with the ladies from the Look-A-Ladies Ukelele group and the Khushi group. She has such a manic energy that just delights the room and makes everyone feel prolific and poetic. I sat in the room in the first workshop and ear wigged to what the ladies were coming up with and wrote down a few lines of my own. I hadn’t intended at this point on doing any of my own poetry but I just couldn’t help myself in that environment. After half an hour the amount of work the ladies had produced was astounding, they had already created their own group poem which adorns the first of the banner pieces and had made a start on their own poems.

What came from the two workshops was marvelous and I wanted to include all the poems on the textiles piece but the combination of the slow process of free machine embroidery, the hand-stitched embellishment and the time constraints I was unfortunately, and to my great disappointment, unable to include all the poems. It is for this reason that we hope to pull together a digital magazine which includes all the poems from the workshops and images of the work. So stay tuned for that…

The ‘sole’ shape which the poems are embroidered onto is in fact my own shoe print. I was originally asked to compile the Glebe house images into a textiles hanging and to incorporate my own work and add my own mark. What better mark than a shoe print!

I have also embroidered into some of the original drawings as can be seen in the images below – however the alterations were done to compliment the images and so I think now that this detail may have been lost. But if you go and see the exhibition do take time to get up close and see if you can spot which of the shoes have been embroidered.

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That said I found it difficult to incorporate my own drawings into the main hanging, my images stood out too much as I have a tendency to lean towards expressive bold drawings and they made the overall banners look jarring and without continuity. This is when I came to do my own smaller banner piece. I mimicked the length of the original banner but made it wide enough for a single image and some embellishment down the edges.

I have an interest in politically activist textiles, the written word and I have of course a deep love of boots. I have had a deep seeded relationship with Dr. Marten boots in particular which stems back to my childhood and has run through my adolescence and well into my adult life. But till this project I have never, as an artist, thought to explore this relationship. I have never even drawn my boots! which now seems a terrible oversight on my part. This project spurred a body of work for me which I should have done a long time ago but which I am glad I have done now as I have been given the opportunity to work with Jemma, Lydia and the ladies at Peepul Enterprise.

If you would like to visit the exhibition you can find the Peepul Enterprise here:

Orchardson Avenue, Leicester, LE4 6DP

or visit the website:


Further links:

The “In These Shoes” project was funded by Loughborough Universities Community Grant Fund.


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