Maggie Ayres

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Newsletter - March 2009

Welcome to the March Newsletter. Don't be fooled into thinking it's actually April - according to my calendar it's March 34th...

Coming up in less than 3 weeks is my solo exhibition, Connection, in the Castle Douglas Art Gallery. More, I promise, before then - I'm determined April's Newsletter will be in April :)

Meanwhile, I thought I would write a brief introduction to a Victorian Corset Making Course I was on at the end of March.

Following on from last month's video about threads and fibres, this is about using stitching as mark making.

And, of course, at the end of the page is a high resolution image for you to download to print off or use as desktop wallpaper for your computer



From 21st April until 2nd May there will be a solo exhibition of my work here at Castle Douglas Art Gallery entitled “Connection”.

I have a particular fondness for this venue; I love the space and natural light. And not only is it conveniently placed for my husband to nip across the road with fresh coffee, but it is also the place of my first solo exhibition 2 years ago. I'm really looking forward to it. Do come along if you can.

Spring Fling 2009

Spring Fling is the annual open studios event in Dumfries and Galloway at the end of May each year.

From 21st March to 18th April examples of my work will be included in the Taster Exhibition at Gracefield Arts Centre, Dumfries.

From 25th April to 16th May, the Taster Exhibition then moves to Stranraer Museum, in Stranraer

The event itself runs from 23rd to 25th May when visitors will be able to see artists and makers in their own studios (including mine!). Contact 01387 262084 or for a free brochure.

Connecting the Threads - Farfield Mill

From 18th July to 31st August there will be a solo exhibition of my work in the Dover Gallery, at Farfield Mill, Sedbergh, Cumbria. I'm excited about this exhibition as Farfield Mill is growing in reputation as a venue for showing textile art.


I will post more information about these events as time goes on.


Victorian Corset Making

This month I thought I would write an introduction to the ideas behind my going on a Victorian corset making course at the end of March at the Northern College of Costume in York.

Our society is moving progressively further away from an acceptance of what is natural and normal in a quest to attain the "perfect" youthful body. It seems to me the constraints of extreme dietary regimes, body enhancing cosmetic surgery and frighteningly unrealistic expectations and aspirations as to how we should look are no less contorting of our bodies than the idealised forms created by the radical foundation wear of history.

I was really excited at the prospect of learning some specialised sewing and construction techniques and not a little daunted at the prospect of making a corset for my own body. Like almost all women, it seems, I have always had issues with my shape and size. But at the core of doing this was the subjective experience of working with my own body as it is physically constrained and shaped. It was a powerful experience and will certainly have an influence on my future work.

I am exploring these ideas of constraint against a historical and cultural background of social control, combining unyielding, manmade constraints with the softness of silken materials as a depiction of vulnerable flesh.

I will be writing more about this as the work progresses over the coming months.


Video of Stitching as Mark Making

In last month's video, I spoke about the importance of threads and fibres in my work and how the amazing variety available contributes to the ability to blend texture, light and colour. This time I will talk about how they work as mark-making in pieces I make.



Download a free high-resolution image for your own wall or computer desktop

This is a detail from an artwork which shows how different kinds of stitching not only hold the piece together, but help give it shape, colour and form.


Right-click on the image and select Save Target As. You can then save the image on your computer and print it off on photographic or watercolour paper at up to A4 size without losing any quality, or use it as a desktop background for your computer.

Be advised the image is approximately 2MB big, so might take a little while to download

If you run into any difficulties then please let me know.


Questions and Comments:

I would very much like to hear from you. Please email me with any questions about my artwork, or with ideas of things you'd like to see and read in future editions of this newsletter.

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Wishing you all the best until next time,



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