Dip Your Mind in Gold is Kate Well’s gentle retrospective exhibition describing a line of thought and creativity over the last ten years and more.
Beginning with a step away from representational embroidery, Kate went in search of a new vocabulary that could suggest a rich, abstract quality. After many years of drawing on a love of landscape, the new direction of travel is bright and full of metaphors. Not only having a simple palette of threads to work with; it opened up many unexplored avenues – such as Medieval Goldsmiths work, jewellery and metalwork collections in museums.
Kate’s first samples, ‘Fragments of Splendour’, combine fine metallic threads with delicate under-threads in the machine, producing a filigree lace with a veil-like quality. Working on dissolvable fabric and fine silk crepeline enables this translucency to develop and the variable stitch-width of the Industrial ‘Irish’ machine gives a fluidity to the work.
‘At Your Feet’ takes the gold lace to a stronger construction altogether, created in homage to an Indian master-embroiderer met at Art in Action, and a dawn walk in a divine garden. ‘Field of Gold’ is simply a glorious field expressed in shining thread, made to commission, while ‘Dip Your Mind in Gold’, a spiral design, on fine silk, was exhibited in the Labyrinth Festival in Lincoln Cathedral under the title of life-journey and an inner, contemplative path.
Much of the work in Kate’s studio is made to commission, a process of consultation and collaboration with a client. This is a challenging but satisfying way to work, bringing together over forty years of experience, yet still demanding a fresh way of looking at design and embroidery. A new commission is included here, in its design, research and sampling stage, to show something of the monumental volume of preparatory work that takes place before the final piece is created.