Microgrant Update: Sharon Mossbeck

Earlier this year, Sharon Mossbeck was one of four artists awarded a Microgrant, receiving up to £500 to develop her practice & increase public access & engagement with her work.

Here, Sharon tells us about the development of her project The Thread of Life, which culminates in an exhibition at Exchange Place during Open Studios, 18-20 November 2016.

While working on The Thread of Life project and working in Contemporary Art cross-stitch in general, I came up against a lot of opposition, both from the art world and from some cross-stitchers themselves. The problem seems to be that Cross-stitch is considered too much of an easy hobby craft to be taken seriously as a form of fine art. However, trying to do something more contemporary with cross-stitch did not always go down well with some of the die-hard cross-stitchers, particularly online.

Part of the aim of The Thread of Life is to get people thinking about cross-stitch in a new way. Traditional cross-stitch as we know it conforms to strict rules of how to create the crosses on the fabric (always stitching from left to right, then right to left to form crosses). I would like people to throw away these restrictions and try something new. For example, making small changes, such as playing with the effects of stitching the crosses the opposite way around (i.e. from right to left). Or making huge changes, such as using non-traditional materials, for example wire or hair, or even not cross-stitching at all, but experimenting with the traditional materials to create something completely different.

Many of the Thread of Life participants did just that, and tried working with new materials, or using new techniques. To create something new and exciting, we need more people to push the boundaries of cross-stitch.

The exhibition will take place during Open Studios at Exchange Place, from Friday 18th (evening only) until Sunday 20th November. Come along, see work by all of the participants and get inspired!

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