Embroidery map of Northumberland National Park goes on display

An embroidery map pf Northumberland National Park has gone on show at Queen's Hall in Hexham

The embroidered map of Northumberland National Park
The embroidered map of Northumberland National Park

More than 100 stitchers have contributed to an exquisitely-embroidered map of Northumberland National Park.

The map, the result of a two-year project, has gone on display at Queen’s Hall in Hexham. Stitchers have either attended one of five public art workshops or have been asked by the map artists to contribute something personal.

The artwork, featuring plants, animals and the varied landscape of the park’s 400 square miles, was created by Clare Satow of Bill Quay Fabric Workshop in Gateshead and Clare Armstrong a fabric artist based in Newcastle, together with many contributors from around the county

Northumberland’s new map was the brainchild of Mandy Roberts, national park engagement officer, who envisaged a portable artwork celebrating the natural and cultural heritage of the area. The two Clares were given the task, with the aim of involving as many people as possible in its creation. The journey began in July 2012 at the Great North Museum in Newcastle.

Museum visitors were shown items and information relating to Northumberland National Park and were able to try out various art forms to represent them, which led to a wealth of material that Clare and Clare could consider when determining how to produce the map.

The carefully mapped out rivers, hills and valleys were screen printed on to a linen base which was then developed with individual components. As it grew, the map was housed at Bill Quay Fabric Workshop where regular stitchers contributed.

At Haydon Bridge Creative Embroidery Group, members worked on individual interpretations of the flora which now adorn the lower edge of the map.

Many others made their mark at events such as Greenhead Farmers’ market, The Star and Shadow sewing event in Newcastle and at Clare Armstrong’s studio in the city.

Clare Satow has 25 years of fabric printing experience and on the map she has included examples of screen printing, stencilling, lino print and free hand lettering.

Clare Armstrong is a Newcastle-based fabric artist who has developed many of the hand and machine sewn techniques that sit alongside established embroidery stitches.

Mandy Roberts said: “What I thought would just be a fun thing to do with a few groups has turned into something vastly more precious and lasting, and I don’t intend keeping it in a box.

“If any groups would like to see it or have a talk about making a sewing artwork I’d be pleased to hear from them.”

The exhibition at Queen’s Hall runs until March 1 after which the artwork will make public appearances throughout the year.

More information about the map and its journey from conception to finished piece can found at www.northumberlandnationalpark.org.uk

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