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Embroiderer’s work features in Craft Pods on a tour of Fife

Maker Francesca Rea is displaying her work in the Craft Pods that are on tour around Fife. (Pic: Courtesy of Fife Contemporary)

This year, the pods feature the work of emerging textile artist Francesca Rea from Northern Ireland.

Her intricately embroidered pieces are currently on display at Falkland Estate and are due to visit the Ecology Center in Kinghorn, local high schools and libraries across the region.

They will also be coming to Kirkcaldy’s new LGBT+ Centre, The Hive for the first time, as well as St Andrews Botanic Gardens.

The Craft Pods are currently at Falkland Estate but will be coming to The Hive, Kirkcaldy and the Ecology Centre, Kinghorn. (Pic: Fife Contemporary)

Stuart Duffy, from LGBT+ charity Pink Saltire who are behind The Hive, said: “We’re really excited to bring the Craft Pods to a new audience here at The Hive and can’t wait to hear the feedback from visitors when they arrive.

“As a venue which promotes inclusion and diversity, it’s great to work with Fife Contemporary to host this new display and hopefully inspire people in our community with Francesca’s fantastic work.”

Fife Contemporary first worked with Francesca as part of Materialise, an awards program that supports new makers of outstanding talent.

She graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone in 2020, one of the most challenging times for any visual art or craft graduate as there was no opportunity to exhibit work in a physical setting.

Some of Francesca’s embroidery. (Pic: Fife Contemporary)

Despite this, Francesca continued to develop her work, taking inspiration from a variety of sources including flowers, music, books and often dreams.

She considers hand embroidery to be a thoughtful process and one that encourages her to reflect on its history.

She said: “Throughout the pandemic, I kept up my embroidery by completing commissions for individual customers. I mostly stitch onto people’s clothing or make embroidered art pieces.

These projects have all been illustrative, and I’ve always been drawn to this more than abstract work.

Embroidery was always considered women’s work, a craft rather than art, and art was only for men.

When I get recognition for my work, I feel like I’m giving all the forgotten women from the past centuries the recognition they never got.”

Aside from enjoying the process itself, Francesca believes that as people look for hobbies that benefit mental health, embroidery is increasing in popularity.

She added: “Sitting with your embroidery slows your mind down and it feels good to make something with your hands.

“You don’t even need to be ‘artistic’ to pick it up – there are loads of embroidery kits designed by artists that include the pattern, instructions and tools needed.”

Find out more about the craft pods by visiting tinyurl.com/craftpod

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