The Fine Art Textiles Award Final Selection

"The Fine Art Textile Award provides an opportunity to showcase the breadth of exciting work being undertaken by textile artists today; its first prize of £5,000 demonstrating a sizeable investment in, and recognition of, the importance of this medium within the art world. As judges we were delighted to see such diverse and insightful expression evident throughout the shortlisted works, which engage both intellectually and aesthetically. Sensitivity, and in some cases subversion, are ably demonstrated through an informed and carefully balanced handling of materials and process, sometimes exploiting the unique properties therein. Yet these works move beyond the formal aspects of art, offering the spectator a different and often challenging way through which to see and think about the world."

2020 Fine Art Textiles Award Judging Panel

Winners and Shortlists

Locus of the Dress


Artist Name: Shelly Goldsmith

Judges Comments: The judges agreed that Locus of the Dress is a visually arresting and intelligent artwork rooted in textile history and practice. Its excellence derives from an artistic and considered investigation of ‘the landscape of a dress’ and how this relates to ideas of perception, personal identity and control. A thoughtful and thought-provoking work.

Artist Statement: I’m concerned with exploring the fine veneer of cloth that stands between us & the world, investigating the EXTERNAL & INTERNAL landscape of a dress, its zones of psychogeography, a place we inhabit as home physically & psychologically.

I collaborated with psychologist Dr. Hermina Hernaiz to explore Locus of Control a theory which pinpoints our sense of self, on a spectrum. Pertinent to our times, those with an EXTERNAL Locus feel powerless to life’s events, feeling like things are being done to them. We are all striving for a strong INTERNAL Locus, enabling command, responsibility & autonomy.

Materials: Dispersal dye on reclaimed polyester cloth, reclaimed polyester dress, silk thread, digitally woven tapes
The piece responsibly uses dispersal dye in 3 states to create the images on the cloth; digital printed dye, hand painted & vaporised dye


1. Manual process of pressing reclaimed polyester dress onto printed/dyed paper surface to REMOVE dye before sublimating onto cloth, leaves an almost photographic imprint of the dress behind
2. Cut strip from dress, sew on narrative tape
3. Stitch drawing to printed cloth
4. Juxtapose object & image

Height (cm): 190

Width (cm): 165

Daring Greatly


Artist Name: Marie Jones

Judges Comments: The judges agreed that Daring Greatly demonstrates an unexpected feat of scale and technique in a way that challenges expectations of knitting and our relationship to it. The inclusion of the mediums of sound and aroma, as well as the artist’s intervention in the viewing process, adds an intriguing dimension to the installation.

Artist Statement: Daring Greatly sets the scene for guests to take a moment to think about where they are in life now and where they want to be. For many, knitting has a connection to our past with memories of learning the craft at home on our laps with loved ones. The epic scale of Daring Greatly changes this relationship and narrative we have with knitting and whilst asking us to look back in time. I’m interested in how I can take what I know about domestic craft techniques to create something bigger than what we expect they can be. Creating new ways of making patterns in life and in the craft.

Materials: Landscape & Trees: 100% Cashmilon Acrylic Wool

Hanging Devices: wood dowels, metal poles, rope, wire rope & fixings

Process: Landscape & Trees: Domestic machine knitting with digital hack. Hand linked knitted panels.

Height (cm): 280

Width (cm): 1,500

Depth (cm): 200

Justine Randall:

The Night Sky Tapestries: Dusk
Fleeting changes in light, time, and the colour and temperature of our landscape and seasons and our emotional responses to it are my focus, I am interested in how the drastic changes to our climate and the loss of nature around us is changing our perceptions of the world we live in. My night sky series of tapestries explore different times of the night, the texture and quality of light and dark and the time between sleeping and waking, a limbo period where reality, dreams and the transformative qualities of darkness and moonlight alter our thoughts and twist our realities.
  • Wool
  • Cotton warp
Woven tapestry, gobelin technique

Height (cm) – 170

Width (cm) – 170

Kate Whitehead:

Black, Gold, Sun

My work is a protest against the way textiles are consumed in western society. Tired of a world in which clothes are produced and thrown away without thought to the consequences; where the fashion industry and media impose identities on us. My rebellion is to go back to slower processes, embrace tradition, salvage the discarded, fix the broken.

In my weaving and embroidery I explore the potential of the forgotten, overlooked and abandoned. I revel in discovering humble, quiet fabrics like calicos and cottons; the more worn, faded and story-laden the better; and giving them a second chance.

  • Linen
  • Linen dyed in Indigo
  • Silk
  • Silk dyed in Indigo
  • Silk – Gold
  • Silk – Pink
  • Silk – Black

Hand woven piece woven on a rigid heddle loom.

Natural Linen, over dyed Indigo Silk, Black Silk, Pink Silk and Gold Silk Warp. Linen, Gold Silk and Black Silk through the warp.

Height (cm) – 90

Width (cm) – 43

Mary Gatenby:

History At Their Shoulder

‘History At Their Shoulder’ is a work that uses folk art as a lens through which our contemporary climate can be viewed. The three Hobby Horses act as representatives of Britain’s lost oral tradition. The work draws parallels between the preservation of Britain’s woodland and the construction of British traditions. Taken from the novel ‘Autumn’ by Ali Smith, the title describes the way that folk is transmitted. Transmission is a key part of folklore, the handing down of ideas and knowledge through the medium of the arts, whether visual arts, music or performative masque, ensures its survival.

  • Linen
  • Wool
  • Stuffing
  • Air Dry Clay
  • Welded Mild Steel
  • Digitally Printed Cotton backed with Linen
  • Wood

The heads are decorated with free hand machine embroidery and appliqué on linen. The hand stitched hair is made of either wool or hand-made clay beads. The banners are digitally printed with information about Dutch Elm Disease, and also feature free hand machine embroidery and appliqué.

Height (cm) – 160

Width (cm) – 75

Depth (cm) – 75

Daniel Fountain:


Daniel Fountain is an artist primarily working with textiles and found objects. Their artistic practice exploits the marginal and gendered status of handicraft practices in order to create works that subvert traditional notions of gender, domesticity and sexuality. More recent works have also explored the affinities between discarded objects and the way in which queer lives are ‘refused’ in society. Through a camp recycling practice that embraces all thinks ‘low’ and ‘trashy’, they seek to recuperate the deprecated into a source of queer identity and strength.

  • Found textiles
  • Darning thread
  • Costume jewellery and found objects (including ring pulls, tin foil food packaging, buttons, and bits of broken glass, metal, mirror and plastic)

The term faggot was used as a derogatory term for homosexuals from early as 1914, but in needlework faggoting is a method of joining fabric with a small decorative ‘ditch’ left between. This work delights in the slippages of these terms, offering a camp celebration of the discarded and marginalised.

Height (cm) – 295

Width (cm) – 850

Cathy MacTaggart:

Manual Worker Woman

Cathy MacTaggart is a textile artist who reflects upon how women are valued in contemporary Britain. This work is part of a series “Stitching (In)Significant Women”. Cathy considers women who carry out under-recognised roles to draw attention to the skills and talents of those who are rarely represented in art, with the aim of inspiring viewers to think “Oh, that makes me think of … (a woman in their life)”.

  • Silk on linen

Traditional sampler, cross stitch and Holbein stitch.

Height (cm) – 99

Width (cm) – 33

Amanda McCavour:

Floating Garden

I use a sewing machine to create thread drawings. By sewing into fabric that dissolves in water, I can build up stitched lines on a temporary surface. The crossing threads create strength so that when the fabric is dissolved, the thread drawing can hold together without a base.

Through this installation, I have taken the flowers out of the samplers and botanical drawing books where I found them. I have embroidered them reintegrated them into a simulated garden space creating an environment filled with stitched line. There is a pathway in this work and you can lay down underneath.

  • Polyester Thread

Machine Embroidery

Height (cm) – 400

Width (cm) – 915

Depth (cm) – 600

Manuela Caniato:

Rooms A >< B

Needlepoint is a form of counted thread embroidery with a long and noble history. It is also known as tapestry, canvas work, Berlinwork. I like it because it is not an embellishment of an existing fabric, it is in fact the making of a new fabric. The first part of my creative work in entirely digital and the second part, the embroidery, is completely manual. I like to imagine that I’m throwing a thread that unites past and present.

  • Cotton canvas
  • Stranded cotton

My work consists of SIX pieces, 3 rooms in Leuven (brown tones), 3 rooms in Milan (pastel tones).
I took the pictures of my rooms on the iPad and then I drew them with an app to draw digitally. I printed the drawings on canvas and then I embroidered them.

Height (cm) – 275

Width (cm) – 20

Nigel Cheney:

Couple Goals

Upon seeing the interaction between these two gibbons of different species during a visit to ’Monkey World’ Dorset, I was compelled to try and capture their relationship. ‘Ella’ is a Lar Gibbon in her mid-thirties and her toy-boy is ‘Fox’ a 25-year-old Mueller’s Gibbon. These two primates have been through such difficulties in their lives in Taiwan, Vietnam and Russia. Oak leaves signify the rural England in which these immigrants found safety. In these troubled times, it gives hope that even though they should never have met they have been rescued to find happiness together.

  • Digitally printed 100% Polyester ‘Faux Silk’
  • 100% pure wool filling
  • 100% digitally printed cotton backing
  • Cotton Linen, bamboo, polyester, viscose and acrylic threads.

Original hand-drawn images are scanned, manipulated and digitally printed. Hand embroidered with an array of threads in simple but expressive stitches. Layered onto the wool filling before machine embroidery. Washed to achieve the differential shrinkage 80% quilted texture.

Height (cm) – 115

Width (cm) – 165

Caren Garfen:

Down The Line

‘Down The Line’ focusses on Richard Kann and his family during World War II in Berlin, Germany. Like millions of Jewish people, the lives of the Kanns’ changed irrevocably when Hitler came to power. Over time they lost their rights, their homes, their families, their livelihoods and their dignity because they were Jewish.

In 1942, during a surge in deportations from Berlin to Auschwitz, the suicide rate of Jewish people soared in the city. Tragically, Richard Kann and his wife were left in a desperate situation where they too felt there was no other option other than to end their lives.

  • Cotton
  • Silk threads
  • Vintage spectacles circa 1930s
  • Vintage opthalmic lenses

Hand stitch, print

Height (cm) – 6

Width (cm) – 28

Molly Kent:


My practice sits within the fields of fibre and installation art, with my practice concerned with representing my personal doubt in the digital age through the traditional medium of rug tufting. I draw on contemporary existence with reference to social media and living in an internet driven environment through the visual aesthetic of glitch art. Through acidic/toxic colours, unsettling phrases and organic amoeba like forms, the work intends to overwhelm the senses and mirror the feeling of doubt.

  • Acrylic yarn
  • Wool yarn
  • Polyester tufting cloth
  • Monks cloth
  • Latex glue

The work is made up of a series of rug tufting/needle punch works. The works are made with a combination of hand punched and machine tufting design elements.

Height (cm) – 240

Width (cm) – 100

Depth (cm) – 120

Lizzie Kimbley:

Walking Wheatfen: Winter

Lizzie Kimbley is an artist and maker working with woven textiles. Walking and a connection to place form the narrative behind her work. Walking in the beautiful Norfolk landscape, she gathers plants for natural dye and makes drawings in response to the textures and patterns within the landscape. Conscious of the volume of waste sent to landfill each year and the need to value our natural resources, Lizzie explores responsible textiles and circular design. She works with only natural materials, often those that are locally found or re-purposed from other design processes.

  • Paper yarn dyed with birch
  • Ash
  • Alder
  • Iron

Walking, drawing and gathering plants for natural dye at Wheatfen Nature Reserve in Norfolk. One warp has been dyed with birch bark, the other has been dip-dyed with ash leaves and alder cones, deepened using iron. Woven on a 16 shaft table loom.

Height (cm) – 170

Width (cm) – 38

Nerissa Cargill Thompson:

No Man is an Island: Mapping the Issue

My work investigates change over time, not just eroding or decaying but new layers of growth, giving juxtapositions of structure and colour. Recent work highlights the issue of plastic pollution and the permanence of disposables through sculptures that combine embellished textiles and cement cast in plastic waste, inviting us to consider the packaging that we use and discard on a daily basis. Naturally inspired textures emphasise the way our waste becomes subsumed into the natural world around us. “No Man is an Island” refers to how personal actions have a global effect.

  • Assorted recycled fabrics
  • Cement (cast in waste plastic packaging)

World map created using embellishing then cut and stitched into waste plastic packaging then cast with cement.

Height (cm) – 2

Width (cm) – 120

Depth (cm) – 90

Selby Hurst Inglefield:

Harmony Between the Selves

Selby uses the technique of rug punching to create wall hung tapestries. Her artwork focuses on themes of storytelling, autobiography and fantasy. Her practice often starts from personal writings, based on her own life and past. The initial autobiography tends to disappear blending the lines between reality and fantasy. The stories, drawings and rug punches have become a space where she explores ideas of comfort, nostalgia and safety. She’s also interested in the relationship with the mundane domestic space and how she uses the concept of the domestic rug to create this safe space.

  • Wool
  • Acrylic yarn
  • Straw
  • Beads
  • Lace and buttons
  • Hessian

Rug punching

Height (cm) – 135

Width (cm) – 250

Joan Brass:

Dora and Maria Anna

The inspiration for the pieces was Pablo Picasso’s Dora Maar and Diego Velazquez’s: Maria Anna (Las Meninas). I drew from both of these artists unusual figure shapes and provocative formations. I really enjoyed making these sculptures and would like to add more to the collection. I enjoy colour and texture and subverting the form.

  • Cotton material
  • Cotton threads

Hand embroidery, stuffed with batting.

Height (cm) – 26

Width (cm) – 17

Depth (cm) – 6

Cecilia Charlton:

Water Matter (Earth series)

Cecilia Charlton creates technicolour, highly-patterned textile works that complicate notions of medium by bringing together traditions of painting, craft, abstraction, and folk art. Shape-shifting compositions appear with a visual flickering as their forms simultaneously subsume and embrace, and their colours confound and complement. Aesthetically revolving around formal references to abstraction, the works’ titles often reveal autobiographical content, such as issues of mortality, drug use, sexuality, family relationships, and mental health.

  • Hand-embroidered wool
  • Acrylic paint
  • Gold leaf

Hand-embroidered wool needlepoint on canvas, with watery acrylic wash, stretched over a wood panel that is covered in gold leaf

Height (cm) – 80

Width (cm) – 120

Vicky Streater:

Hanging by a Thread

Dementia slowly robs us of memories and skills and can change our personalities. At what point is the sufferer no longer the person they used to be? In dealing with the loss of someone I loved to dementia, I turned to my own creative process and reflected on what that would look like through the same lens. ‘Hanging by a Thread’ begins at the neckline, where the pattern is evenly maintained and the colour a healthy blush. But as the jersey progresses downwards, colour is lost and blotches, and pattern becomes distorted.

  • Hand-dyed single-ply pure cashmere.

I hand dyed 26 colours in a gradation from pink to grey using acid dyes. As the colour turns from pink to grey I disturbed the dye process to increase blotchiness. I designed a jersey pattern knitted top down and in the round; I deviated from the pattern by making mistakes and tearing the fabric.

Height (cm) – 80

Width (cm) – 60

Depth (cm) – 5

Abigail Booth:

To \ From

To \ From is a reflection on the transnational nature of cotton. Pieced entirely from offcuts from the UK and Indian cotton trade, this work represents a closed cycle of production where the pigment used across its surface is derived from the burnt remnants of its own making. In the piecing of hundreds of pieces of discarded cloth to make up the whole, evidence of the human hand on every level of production, from the industrial to the artisanal, are allowed to occupy the surface of the work, opening up a dialogue around displaced origin and cultural identity in the handcrafted object.

  • Cotton charcoal
  • Beeswax
  • Linseed oil
  • Mixed reclaimed cottons
  • Indian ink
  • Thread
  • Charcoal fired cotton
  • Ground pigment
  • Prepared oil medium
  • Pieced patchwork
  • Hand-quilting

Height (cm) – 160

Width (cm) – 230

Dionne Swift:

Silver Lining [fresh growth]

Inspired by speedy and energetic car drawings during long, tedious road trips: my stitches aim to capture the spontaneity of my drawn marks. I completed this piece in the latter stages of lockdown, as restrictions began to ease my monochromatic palette symbolically gave way to new growth, a re-birth of colour and a fresh start.
My relief was audible.
Uncontrollably, my stitches reflect my state of mind, I am entwined with my process: acting as the conductor of an orchestra of threads, cloth and sewing machine.

  • Wool base fabric with cotton
  • Viscose
  • Polyester
  • Silk
  • Metallic threads

The fabric has been stained with ink and covered with free machine embroidery.

Height (cm) – 100

Width (cm) – 97

Rosie James:

Waiting for this Meeting to Start

I asked people to send me a photo of themselves during lockdown, and I would stitch them, and they did.
Each square gives a view into that person’s life, the work reveals the preoccupations of a lot of us at that time. We see the usual things but also, nude modeling, wearing animal heads, a box on your head, or your boots on your shoulders, or just sitting at the computer.
The loose threads dangle across the squares reaching out to neighbours.
This whole piece is a version of a Zoom/Teams meeting, you are all invited, and I am the one doing the talking. Look for the green square.

  • White cotton sheeting

  • Black cotton

  • Coloured and printed recycled fabric scraps

  • Machine embroidery thread in various colours

  • All stuff found in my workshop during lockdown, even used my old student printed samples from 25 years ago.

Images of people in lockdown, drawn using free machine embroidery.
Appliqued coloured and printed fabrics added to the drawing.
Squares stitched together with black cotton edges, except for one which has green cotton edging.
Loose threads allowed to dangle from square to square.

Height (cm) – 224

Width (cm) – 224

Polly Pollock:

Once In A While ......

“Once in a While …” is process-led, referencing darning and repair to explore tensions and textures within defined spaces. I use weave and stitch to explore themes of nurture and homemaking, protection, relationships, damage and repair. Seemingly random stitch within formal outlines symbolises taking control of complex family life within a chaotic world. Like drawing, or doodling, each piece gives ideas for another : warp arrangements, yarn thicknesses, weave densities, textures produce different outcomes. The pieces can stand individually, or be grouped together.

  • Palouti Cane
  • Woven with hand-dyed paper yarns
  • Incorporating small amounts of additional materials eg raffia, silk threads, hemp, flax, cotton

I mainly work with paper yarns dyed with gentle eco dyes from my vegetable peelings to give soft colour palettes. I aim to use up odd lengths of paper yarns, and scraps of other materials to minimise waste. I make warps on a ‘knot’ of cane, then weave and stitch into the warp.

Height (cm) – 60

Width (cm) – 100

Depth (cm) – 12

Lucie Summers:

Colour Field I

My textile research centres around the effects time and weather has on the surfaces I record on my daily walks in the fields and meadows on the farm where I live. These accidental marks and textures on wood, metal, farm machinery and found items were the starting point for Colour Field I. I spent the weeks during lockdown gathering plants on my isolation walks to colour my cloth. I have used these naturally dyed cottons and linens alongside my farmer husband’s ripped and faded work clothes to create a textile inspired the beauty of decay and deterioration.

  • Naturally dyed cotton and linen
  • Repurposed cotton
  • Denim work clothes.

Fabric collage, cut and reassembled in strips. Machine stitched.

Height (cm) – 150

Width (cm) – 150

Claire Benn:

Salar II

The Atacama Desert. A place where I can experience solitude, stillness and silence. Desolate places take hold of me. I am seized. I am grasped. I submit. I do not wish to reproduce the Atacama as I saw it – I seek an abstract representation of it.

Using earth pigment connects me back to the land. Binding them in acrylic medium allows me to soak the cloth or build up layers to communicate the texture of soil, rock or saltpan. Thread enables me to represent the rain that fell in what’s supposed to be the driest place on earth.

Be still. Just look.

  • Cotton Canvas
  • Natural earth pigments
  • Acrylic medium
  • Hemp thread

Mono printing, painting, stitch.

Height (cm) – 67

Width (cm) – 114

Jacob Monk:

Pink Princess III

Inspired by nature this piece reflects a plant of the same name; Pink Princess. Jacob creates designs that play with a range of rich and vibrant colour, often contrasting combinations with exaggerated gradients between shades, in different proportions.
Combining ikat with other traditional dip dyeing techniques, creating a fresh and contemporary style for the modern interior space. Creating the pattern in this way gives the sense of movement vertically as colours change, merging into each other, and the finished piece has an almost hand-painted quality to it.

  • Cotton

Hand-dyed and hand-woven

Height (cm) – 57

Width (cm) – 57

Ealish Wilson:

Lava Flow

Lava Flow is part of a continuing series inspired by observing the world from a distance, whether an expansive view or from a plane. I’ve become fascinated with views, how they merge, creating repeating patterns and forms. I paint or photograph to record what I see; these images then form the starting point for my textile designs. After creating a repeating pattern I smock and distort the fabric to manipulate its shape, evolving the repeat. My work takes inspiration from traditional fashion techniques, contemporary Japanese textiles and my travels.

  • Cotton/Linen fabric and thread

Digitally Printed fabric, smocked by hand and stitched into place.

Height (cm) – 55

Width (cm) – 55

Jane Mckeating:

Those Sneaky Silver Conversations

A commemorative scarf to mark the conclusion of a long University career. Covert drawings in meetings recorded the veiled conversations going on beyond the room. Who would guess it wasn’t notes on the KPI data that was tap tapping on those silver Macs, but chit chat, love notes and eBay bids? Presenting the duality and absurdity of our interior and exterior selves in the workplace using the fluidity of the silk as an antithesis to the solidity of the hardware and the hard edge of the discussions. It records and reflects on characters, interactions and hints at the world beyond the room.

  • Crepe de Chine silk fabric
  • Silk ribbon

From initial ink drawings in office notebooks, the images were composed into a multidirectional format and digitally printed. The scarf was then hand stitched using silk ribbon.

Height (cm) – 90

Width (cm) – 90

Depth (cm) – 3