Clare LaneHow to capture a city? Poets, painters and photographers all have their particular vices, and versions of cataloguing ours.

But textiles? That’s a new one for us.

The ‘Metropolis’ exhibition at the Bluecoat Display Centre highlights the work of ceramicist Dan Stafford, whose animated angular pieces freeze-frame the city’s kinetic convulsions. But we’re particularly enamoured with the heady, dreamlike representations of our docklands created by multimedia artist, Clare Lane.

And we’re especially excited at the news that Lane will be holding a workshop next month. Well, let’s face it, we always like to tackle a new skill as the year turns. Look where last year’s ‘build your own website’ nightschool classes lead us.

The day workshop promises to furnish us with just enough education to create our very own 21st century Bayeux tapestry (well, a stencilled monoprint, to be absolutely accurate, but Lane does see the technique akin to a contemporary tapestry).

“The Stanley Dock has been a regular haunt of mine since 2007 when I passed the site one July with the kids in the car on the way to see the “Gormleys”. We never got there…at least not that time. I pulled up at the side of the road, and spent the next hour trying to find a way in, taking photos of what I could,” Lane says.

Recording the physical environment through drawing, painting and photography, Lane selects images, digitally manipulates them, and uses this as the building block of a unique, printed textile montage.

“Since then I have returned at intervals and negotiated access to spend hours walking the warehouses and recording its gradual decline,” she says. It’s these sorties that have informed the work on display, now, at the Bluecoat Display Centre.

“Despite my initial thoughts on this site as one of empty dereliction, it is in fact buzzing with activity. Not the industrial activity of its nostalgic past but the various and creative use of a modern urban society. I hope my own story, one published in textiles, in some way makes its own contribution to this fascinating, lively and gritty place.”

It does, Clare. But just prepare to move over. Printed textile montages? We were born to do it. Be warned – you can fully expect SevenStreets to be in flick book fabric sample format only, from spring.

Clare Lane Workshop,
Sunday 13th February 2010, 12.30pm till 4.30pm.

Tickets are priced at £25.
No previous drawing or printing experience is necessary.

Bluecoat Display Centre,
College Lane
Tel: (0)151 709 4014

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