Ace comic artist Hunt Emerson has been doing designs for a series of eleven “tapestries” (not actually tapestries, but stitch-based pieces) for Walsall Silver Threads, which will all be brought together today, Saturday 20th August 2016, at the New Art Gallery in Walsall, to see the work in progress.
The panels are big – 1 metre x 1.6 metres – and are based on local history and culture of Walsall in the West Midlands and surrounding towns. His designs are printed, which feature the likes of King Henry VIII and Slade front man Noddy Holder (twice, once receiving the keys to the city and again on his home turf of Beechdale Estate), and are being enhanced by multitudes of Stitchers in local community groups.
The project is the brainchild of the Walsall Council Creative Development Team, celebrating 25 years of delivering community arts in Walsall, which received a £73,740 Arts Council England Lottery Funding to deliver this unique year long community arts project for Walsall Borough.
Walsall Silver Threads involves an army of over 600 local people and engaging over 40 local groups, to create the eleven unique tapestries representing the six towns and other areas in Walsall Borough. The tapestries will reflect the borough’s living history, diversity and commonality; acknowledge the past, reflect the present and embrace the future.
Creating the tapestries will provide the common thread to produce a commemorative book featuring 25 of Walsall Council’s Creative Development Team projects, which include The Brownhills Miner, festivals and a host of other projects from the 25 year history of the team’s work. The book will tell the story of the engaging creative processes and the impact participatory arts have made in Walsall’s communities across an area so diverse in history, heritage and geography.
“Just wait til you see how [these designs] look with the stitch work applied,” enthuses Hunt, whose association with the Development Team goes back to the 1990s, when he produced illustrations for one of the first projects the Community Arts team produced, a programme called Dreaming for Real on the Beechdale Estate . “My colours are for guidance only – the stitched versions are absolutely glowing!
“Watching the work of the ladies making my drawings beautiful in coloured thread is lovely! They’re scheduled to be finished in January next year.
“This is a new medium for me, and the intricate, tiny stitches applied to what are pretty big designs is exciting.”
• Waksall Silver Threads progress event is today (Saturday 20th August) at Walsall Art Gallery tomorrow is from 10.00am to 3.00pm. More information at http://creativewalsall.com/silver-thread | Facebook | Follow the project on Twitter @silverthread25
• More about Hunt Emerson and his work at http://largecow.com