The two holders of Northumberland National Park’s first Val Stoddart Textile Fellowship will showcase their work at a special art exhibition in the Queen’s Hall, Hexham, from Saturday 16 April to Saturday 4 June.
Professional artists Lindsay Duncanson from Newcastle and Zak Jones from London were awarded the fellowships in 2015 following a generous legacy left to the Park from Val Stoddart, a talented local embroiderer, to support and enhance its arts programme.
The work featuring in the exhibition is their response to the inspirational landscape of Northumberland that Val loved so much.
Lindsay’s exhibition titled ‘We are trans humans’ explores the landscape as a place where farmers, hunters, tradesmen and soldiers pass through, all leaving their traces. The work explores the lines and layers of habitation, blending interactive sound elements with textiles and embroidery.
Zak’s work presents a banner triptych which focuses on three distinct themes of the natural landscape; the historical and industrial past and living in the Park today.
His powerful hand-stitched banners are reminiscent of trade union artefacts and feature his trademark satire, political undertones and comment on social issues. His bold and intriguing pieces are loaded with narratives and details that are not immediately obvious.
Current members of Hexham Branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild, and friends of Val, have worked alongside Zak on these pieces.
Mandy Roberts, Northumberland National Park Engagement Officer, explains: “Val was a great friend of the National Park and a very talented textile artist in her own right.
“It is thanks to her generosity and passion for the arts that we’ve been able to create the Fellowship programme in Val’s memory and provide gifted artists like Lindsay and Zak with a unique opportunity to develop their practice and create new work which responds to the environment and varied geography of Northumberland National Park.
“It promises to be a fantastic exhibition. Val’s work will also be on show, and I’d encourage anyone with a love for the countryside to come and see it. Both artists have spent a great deal of time working with local communities and drawing on the rich landscapes, heritage and people within the Park to discover their stories and history for inspiration.”
The Val Stoddart Textile Fellowship and exhibition form part of a rapidly developing arts and culture programme which is supported by Arts Council England and connected to The Sill; Northumberland National Park’s flagship £14.8m project in partnership with the HLF to create the UK’s first dedicated Landscape Discovery Centre at Once Brewed on Hadrian’s Wall.
The Val Stoddart Textile Fellowship Exhibition is in Galleries One and Two at the Queen’s Hall, Beaumont Street, Hexham, NE46 3LS from Saturday 16 April to Saturday 4 June. Entry is free. Showing times are: Monday to Friday10.00am – 5.00pm and Saturday 10.00am to 4.00pm.
Val Stoddart lived in the north of Northumberland National Park for many years and had a lifetime’s interest in textiles and embroidery. She was a strong supporter of the textile arts and played an active role in the Embroiderer’s Guild in Northumberland and the border regions.