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Lapwing by Irene Earl. Slow stitched background with hand dyed fabrics, mounted on canvas.

‘Contemporary twist’ on Dales textiles heritage

Tuesday 31 May, 2022, by News Release

Artists from Harrogate have picked up the threads of the rich textiles heritage of the Dales to stage a special exhibition at the Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes.

Known as The Small Group, eight artists are showing their vibrant works in ‘Dales, Land and Sky – Contemporary Textiles’.

Lapwing, a hand embroidered bird applied to a background of hand dyed fabrics by Irene Earl, and Limestone Pavement with Lone Tree by Jacquelyn Estell (below) are two of the artworks on display.

The special exhibition is designed to complement the museum’s permanent textiles gallery, which displays ancient knitting sheaths, rag rugs and quilts. The artists have used the same techniques as can be seen in the permanent collection, but with a contemporary twist.

The Small Group has exhibited at more than 20 venues since 1991, including at Halifax’s Piece Hall in 2012, but this is the first time the group has held a show in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

‘Dales, Land and Sky – Contemporary Textiles’ will run until 10 July and includes a wide variety of Dales-inspired works for sale.

Kevin Frea, who is Member Champion for Promoting Understanding at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, which runs the Dales Countryside Museum, said: “The Yorkshire Dales National Park has always produced or inspired artists and we are delighted with ‘Dales, Land and Sky – Contemporary Textiles’.  It’s a vibrant and varied textile exhibition exploring different aspects of the beautiful Dales landscape.

“Landforms and dwellings, plants in the wild or cultivated in gardens, living creatures which make their home here and the words found in dialect poetry have all provided a source of inspiration.  A stimulating experience awaits at the Dales Countryside Museum.”

Most members of The Small Group met whilst studying City and Guilds Embroidery courses and some teach at colleges or privately. The group meets regularly to exchange ideas.  Eight members – Margaret Bush, Catherine Chew, Irene Earl, Jacquelyn Estell, Kathy Hammond, Gill Kirk, Diane Freeman and Jo Linley – are showing work at the museum.

The Dales Countryside Museum is open seven days a week. Weekly tickets are £4.80, an Annual or Family Pass is £9 and entry to the special exhibition is included in the admission price.  Children are admitted free. 

Picture of News Release

News Release

Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority


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