Associated Exhibitions

Here and Now: Stitches in Time
Alice Kettle

Contemporary Applied Arts in collaboration with Circus

CAA have collaborated with boutique management consultancy Circus to create an external solo exhibition of Alice Kettle’s work as part of cultural programme ‘Circus Performance’ in the Circus exhibition space on Marylebone High Street, London W1.

13 January – 30 March 2016

Alice Kettle uses stitch for its narrative and expressive potential. Her work explores the deep material connection of the cultural and human condition. She often derives the narrative in her pieces from epic myth, contemporary events or a combination of both. These large stitched wall-hangings tell stories which resonate with feeling and layers of meaning, expressed through a masterful use of stitching and sophisticated composition.

The surface of Alice’s work is constructed like a painting, in which thread is used to build up dense areas of colour, tone and texture. Kettle begins with a sense of the images that she intends to create, making notes to work out the content of each composition. But the real drawing takes place at Kettle’s sewing machine. Usually she works in reverse, from the back of the canvas, visualising the outcome. She works intuitively, unable to see the images developing on the front. As the piece develops and takes form, she ‘reclaims’ her subjects by building up further layers of stitch to define (or obliterate) until a level of resolution is achieved.

Alice often works on a very large scale, which enables the viewer to appreciate the pieces as one would a painting. The narrative content is so strong and the execution so accomplished that the work rewards both close and repeated viewings. Her work blurs the boundaries between art and craft.

Alice’s piece Golden Dawn was acquired from CAA by the Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead in May 2014.

Circus: 58 Marylebone High Street, London, W1U 5HT
Open Mon - Fri 10am - 5pm


We occupy a lovely cabinet at Freshfields, 65 Fleet Street, where we showcase a changing selection of CAA members work…

Now on show: SUSAN NEMETH

‘My ceramics are about expressing individuality through the drawn line and the handmade mark. I am exploring the outcomes of rapid sketching and translating this into handmade forms relating to the pot. Starting with drawing in museums, I make, draw, remake and redraw to create doodles on paper and in clay. I am investigating how repeatedly sketching a piece from memory can make the drawing more animate as it mutates. I am expressing the outcomes of drawing in the ceramic material.

The eighteenth century porcelain vases of Meissen and Sèvres are my current references. These symbols of perfection carefully eliminated the marks of the makers. By transforming these from the impersonal to the personal, through the inclusion of my marks, I am aiming for a bare, essential quality while searching for the emotion, vulnerability and the essence of the human touch with all its imperfections. 

Construction methods of coiling, carving, squeezing, pushing, cutting, breaking and repairing... all these work towards a sense of flow, of movement. This is similar to the process of drawing, erasing and changing. Signs of the making are kept visible. 

I have chosen porcelain for its purity, sensitivity and its paradoxical qualities of fragility and strength. It has its own energy and motion during the firing. I also use layers of painted coloured slips, some glaze, decals and gold leaf.’

Susan was recently featured in Ceramic Review issue 276

65 Fleet Street, London  EC4Y 1HS
020 7936 4000
(By Appointment)


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