Five2Watch: Threads

For #Five2Watch this week we've selected five artists who have explored the potential of threads within their work: Shelly Goldsmith, Sabine Jeanne Bieli, Maxine Attard, Francoise Dupre and Emma Osbourn.

Lodz Blouse Trilogy, 2017

Shelly Goldsmith

Lódz Blouse Trilogy and the related exhibitions utilise the photograph ‘A Party in the Ghetto’

by Henryk Ross. The work seeks to explore and present memory (retrieved memory and inherited memory) and experience imbued in the clothes we wear. The work develops my investigation into dye sublimation technology/digital embroidery on reclaimed, facsimile and deconstructed garments. I have drawn upon the textile methods used in textile production and manufacture, at times working in reverse to unpick or cut into the garments.

I have had special permission from the Museum and Art Gallery on Ontario to use ‘A Party in the Ghetto’ by Henryk Ross.

Shelly Goldsmith


Orbit, 2013-2014

Sabine Jeanne Bieli


A study in mohair

'Orbit' is a half-sphere, about 42cm in diameter, composed of mohair. The mohair fibres are attached to a grid of nylon threads which span between two acrylic glasses. The distribution of the threads imitates the spread of the seeds in a sunflower.

Sabine Jeanne Bieli


Untitled (work on paper, 5-17), 2017

Maxine Attard

beads, thread, pencil, paper on paper ©MaxineAttard2017

One work from a series of works on paper 2017

Maxine Attard


Project B: avlija, 2007

Francoise Dupre

Project B (2007-2008) was a Birmingham-based trans-national collaborative public art community project referencing the functionality of ornament and its transformative quality on architectural space. It was led by artists Françoise Dupré and Myfanwy Johns in collaboration with architect Sabina Fazlic and participants from the Bosnian Cultural Centre-Midlands (BCCM).

Project B's introductory project was: avlija (2007). It was shown at Block 4, 39-46 Floodgate Street, Birmingham for Architecture week and New Generation Arts Festival (15-29 June 2007). With avlija, Dupre, Johns, Fazlic and BCCM launched their collaboration with a final outcome for June 2009: sebilj an architectural and Bosnian design influenced public structure. Project B aimed to create a new vernacular architectural experience that connects with and reflects participants' culture and explores the idea of ownership of place through change.

Project B came out of two separate initiatives brought together through an introduction from the Arts Council West Midlands Architecture Week surgery: Dupre's and Johns' desire to bring together their distinctive and established individual practice into a collaborative artwork, Fazlic's plan to invite an artist to work with the BCCM on a 'house' that combined traditional craft skills within a contemporary art context.

During spring 2007, artists and participants met for workshops and social events at the Midlands Arts Centre and UCE BIAD, Birmingham Department of Art. Three generations of participants were brought together to develop ideas for new pattern designs for digital printing and hand stitching. Participants used two main sources of visual and cultural references: Bosnian surface pattern and design used in traditional Bosnian and Islamic architecture and needlecrafts and UCE, BIAD Faculty Library Archive, including 19th and 20th century books of European textile design and architecture and an 1842 original first edition of Owen Jones' Plan and Elevations of the Granada Alhambra.

The outcome: avlija was a 3m.20 volume architectural space created by four hanging mesh banners with double sided printing and stitching. Participants scanned needlework were digitally manipulated and printed to create new patterns on which participants crocheted and stitched through the mesh and into the running patterns. The applied patterns invited the viewers to walk around and enter the semi- enclosed central space of the installation to experience the transformative quality of ornamentation.

With avlija, Project B's re-interpretation of historic pattern and Bosnian textiles through digital technology reflects a tradition for ornamentation to embrace new techniques in its fabrication and celebrates participants trans-cultural experience and sense of identity.

Project B: avlija was funded by Arts Council, England, Birmingham City University and UnLtd

avlija would not have been possible without the enthusiasm and commitment of: Suada Bogdanic, Ramiza Duric, Senida Duric, Sabina Fazlik , Hazim Fazlik, Ibrahim Hajric, Rasema Hajric, Emina Halilovic, Alen Kahriman , Amer Kahriman, , Fedzra Kahriman, Amela Karic, Amra Mekic, Arnela Mekic, Himzo Mekic, Semsa Mekic, Mediha Sabanovic, Haris Sarcevic, Amar Viteskic, Maida Viteskic, Zaim Viteskic. avlija was funded by Arts Council England; UCE, BIAD; UnLtd

avlija is a Bosnian word used to describe the enclosed garden that surrounds a traditional Bosnian house, a place for socialising in the privacy of the house grounds. See photo of The Bišcevica House , Mostar

For further information please visit:,,

Francoise Dupre


Arachne's Thread, 2012

Emma Osbourn

In the story of Arachne and Athena, Athena is the norm, the establishment, a code for propriety and order - her textile depicts the Parthenon. Whilst Arachne's weaving depicts the misdeeds and weaknesses of the gods, viewed from this perspective Arachne's work seems indecent and vulgar. There is even symbolism in the motifs they sew - Athena with her 'trim-leaved olive of peace' and Arachne with her imagery of ivy which runs about in 'wild abandon'.

This cine film is stitched with black thread by hand and by machine. It captures some events in an anonymous young American woman's life. This interspersed with shots of sewing into the film, casting myself in the role of Arachne.

The disruptive and excessive sewing is a contrast to conventional needlework that values tiny, neat stitching. The massive scale of the pattern is a contrast to the neatly sewn prom dress, with it's carefully co-ordinated colours and neatly tied bow. The piece plays with the notion of scale, the huge sewing on the cine film, the disobedient thread appears inflict itself with machine-gun rhythm and runs with abandon across the ordered feminine actions. Arachne's misrule in Athena's order.


Published 30 October 2020