The Brindley Arts Centre
North West England

I recently visited the Brindley in Runcorn. This gallery has a growing reputation for generating an innovative and exciting programme of exhibitions. The current show is a display of new textile work by Clare Lane, Laura McCafferty, Caroline Kirton and Debbie Smyth.

Debbie Smith's drawing of the Jubilee Bridge (Runcorn Widnes Bridge) is astonishingly beautiful. There is something incredible about the delicacy of the line, and on closer inspection you begin to notice that is constructed entirely of pins and threads.

The work on show in the gallery all relates to local stories. Each artist has been inspired by something to do with the Runcorn area. This is an exciting concept, since it presents contemporary artwork by national artists within a framework easily accessible to a local audience. THe exhibition has been curated by Jo Hall, Editor of Embroidery magazine, who is herself a local. The work manages to challenge concepts of what is meant by embroidery, since each artist uses thread in some way.

I particularly liked Clare Lane's representation of "Mooney & Sons", an old print shop in nearby Liverpool City Centre. She has used photography, digital manipulation and machine stitching to produce her large canvas work.

Laura McCafferty, is already becoming quite well known. Her use of stitch is remeniscent of Rachael Howard. In this show she has produced two new pieces that tell the story of a local woman, her story told through the objects that surround her.

Caroline Kirton's work shows a good use of colour and a strong drawn, machine embroidered line.

In the Press Release for this exhibition Jo Hall is quoted as saying "The work is larger than life and offers a fresh, young take on a place that most people wouldn’t think of as an interesting subject.”

I can confirm that Runcorn is interesting and that the Brindley is a beacon of cultural life in that community and beyond.