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JUDY STEPHENS

JUDY STEPHENS www.contemporaryquilterswest.org I work with fabric, stitch and mixed media collage, trying to capture the energy of a feeling or an idea. It may be concern at plastics polluting the ocean or pleasure in a particular collision of colours and marks. Bold, graphic imagery often including heads and text appeals to me. This harks back to my working life as a newspaper journalist and the daily barrage of headlines, stories and photographs. It also links with a centuries-old tradition of abstract quilt design often in red, black and white. My output has evolved over the years from craft to something angrier. I made a series of fabric collages about the destruction of a large council housing estate with desirable sea views, taking hundreds of photographs of the derelict drug-graffitied site. A quilt about bees, catchily titled ‘Ban Neo-nicotinoids’ joined the fight against the use of pesticides which kill bees. Another series of quilts features the scrawled words ‘There is no safety net’ which have, sadly, gathered more resonance as time goes by. ‘Scrawling’ is not something that can be done easily in fabric. I put many hours into making something look as though it was scribbled in a moment. In search of some instant gratification my repertoire of marks now includes paint. I am keen to take textiles into the wider art world. My work has been hung in the annual Open Exhibition at the Royal West of England Academy, Bristol, Bath Society of Artists Annual Open at the Victoria Art Gallery, Bath and was shortlisted in 2017 for the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy. It will be included in an exhibition at the Penwith Gallery, St Ives, in 2018

Yellow Wing This image made me think of women swathed in Arab clothing waiting at the edge of the sea, possibly to be swallowed up by it. So many images on the news of refugee boats trying to cross dangerous water.

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