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seam collective

A Visible THREAD

I’ve been working on a series of works for A Visible THREAD, a travelling exhibition by 14 members of seam collective, its third iteration opening on 19th September 2023 at Black Swan Arts. Frome, Somerset. 
For the first two shows, I wanted to created work which answered simple questions around ethics and environmental issues within the textiles industry – OH, what to choose? 
It’s complicated, many layered and an area that every single person on the planet is linked to.
So, two areas that I’ve been looking at are 

What textile waste is created in the UK?

What are the techniques for its disposal?

lydia 1.JPG

The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth

Part of my interest is in how worms and other small, overlooked creatures break down natural materials, including textiles, and sequester the carbon.


This piece is ‘The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth’

Did you know slugs and snails, marvellous creatures, have evolved to eat just about everything; they are herbivorous, carnivorous, omnivorous, and detritivorous - they eat decaying waste from both plants and animals?

To do this, they have between 1,000 and 12,000 teeth. Most snails have a tongue that is covered in rows and rows of tiny little teeth which they use like a file to munch through stuff, as you can see here. 

This is a piece of paper that I left out in the garden for the tiny creatures to interact with and break down.  I then stitched it onto old fabric using vintage threads.

I imagine these holes with the semi-serrated edges have been made by snails with those pink and white cartoon sweetie teeth. 


This piece is framed with glass.



These sculptures are made from:

3 x pair combat trousers

1 x dressing gown

1 x American army shirt

1 x American army formal jacket

2 x long sleeved T-shirt

1 x blanket ribbon edges

1 x boiled wool jacket

1 x baby grow

1 x wool tank top

1 x woollen scarf

1 x broken curtain tape

2 x scrap fabric textile paintings

1 x 1960s mohair coat

3 x short sleeved T-shirt

1 x British Army jacket

5 x double sheets

And lots of vintage threads


Did you know that the UK is the 4th largest textile polluter in Europe? 

On average, each person in this country ‘wastes’ 3.1Kilograms each year. It is disposed of by recycling, reusing, incinerated, and landfilled.

In addition to the ‘waste’ we create, we also produce a large amount of used clothing for export. 

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