TITLE Sub head that every piece of cloth already comes with a story and a bucket-load of connotations, which adds layers of meaning to any narrative that an artist might construct. For instance, Sue Stone, a textile artist whose narrative works bear a resemblance to pictorial banners says that the cloth she uses, even if it is new, will have already gained a history from passing through the hands of so many. When she stitches her stories into the cloth she becomes part of its history.
The Turner Prize winning artist Jeremy Deller in partnership with Ed Hall also creates textile banners, often bearing the politically knowing and pithy kind of hip wordery that might pop up on your social media feed. The foundations of Deller and Hall’s witty quipping are set in serious social critique though, which is perhaps reinforced by Hall’s background as a professional banner maker who stitches, appliqués and paints graphically bold and arresting banners for Trade Unions, British Council exhibitions, Art galleries and human rights campaigns. As well as being striking, instantly recognisable and beautifully crafted his work concentrates on dignity and gravitas, qualities that are very much at the heart of the original political banners that emerged during Britain’s industrialisation in the 19th century. During this period of mechanisation and mass production skilled artisans found that the predicament they were in was serious and often terminal, so they formed societies to protect their interests, which with time and necessity developed into Trade Unions. The early artisan’s textile banners denoted their particular craft and the stitched fabrics signified traditional skills and materials The Women’s Suffrage movement picked up on the dignity and symbolism of contemporary Trade Union banners, which had by then become huge and weighty with oil painted silk. The women’s banners were much lighter and smaller but effectively launched a large scale pressure llection
Council Co ritish t he ar tists, cour tesy t he B