Jeanette Sendler – Exhibitions and Installations

Threads Across the Sea

1 June to 12 August 2012. Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther.

Both Keiko Mukaide and Jeanette Sendler have strong connections to Japan and were heart-broken by the news of the Tsunami disaster in March 2011. They have helped set up a series of commemorative site-specific installations in the boatyard and garden of the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther.

Threads Across the Sea exhibition stills

Cutting Through Time

4 February – 3 March 2012, Collins Gallery, Glasgow

Jeanette Sendler’s work draws inspiration from the complexity of the evolution of paper pattern cutting that began in Victorian times.

This series of installations is placed in a fictitious tailor’s studio. Across the space there will be fragments of flat pattern pieces evolving from two to three dimensional sculptural pieces, and a three dimensional ‘mountain’ of body shapes, visualising the complexity for the maker, and the apparent madness or chaos to the untrained eye. This is the culmination of the body of work begun at the University of Dundee, see The Golden Rule below.

Cutting Through Time exhibition stills

wabi sabi – nothing is perfect, nothing is finished and nothing lasts

14 – 22 January 2012, Patriot Gallery@Wasps, Edinburgh.

Frayed Edges is a group of Edinburgh based textile artists, who met through studying at Edinburgh College of Art, Drummond Community High School and Telford College and also work as individual artists and makers. Members of the group have backgrounds in other fine art media, including tapestry, book binding and printmaking, as well as in teaching a variety of textile media.

Wabi sabi - Frayed Edges exhibition poster

Mapping the Body

23 April – 12 June 2011 Timespan, Helmsdale

During her 1 week residency in Helmsdale, Jeanette established a number of strong visual links between her most recent work and what she discovered at Timespan. She was particularly inspired by a series of old maps of the geographical area taken from the archives. Working with the marks and lines contained in these maps, she drew parallels between them and the marks of a paper pattern, designed to map the body. Jeanette discovered that although a number of tailors had lived in the areas over the past 200 years, very little knowledge of local patterns had survived. Never the less, in Timespan’s collection were two surviving gowns. The gown here was evidence of both its maker and wearer; the stitching showing the makers hand, and the marks on the thinning fabric of the wearer, literally maps of the body.

The Golden Rule

9 – 27 June 2010 Innovation & Creative Development in Craft, University of Dundee, Dalhousie Building.

The body as a blank canvas: an investigation into historical aspects of pattern cutting in relation to individuality in contemporary clothing. Project supported by Scottish Arts Council.

The exhibition then went to Timespan, Helmsdale 23 April – 12 June 2011. The Golden Rule; exhibition stills

Seven Minutes of Explosion

April – May 2008. The Scord Quarry Scalloway, Shetland

A collaboration between Jeanette Sendler and Barbara Ridland. Da Gadderie, Shetland Museum & Archives, Lerwick, Shetland

“7 Minutes of Explosion” is the period of time from the sounding of the quarry siren to signal that the shot is about to be fired, to the sounding of the “all clear” once it has been decided that the blast has gone well and it is safe to return into the quarry. Billy Butler, Scord Quarry Manager 2008

On seeing the quarry for the first time one sees a mass of grey, especially on a grey day. But the eye adjusts. Soon one can discern many greys, then, as one can appreciate the detail of a black and white photograph, a beauty of subtlety opens up.

Seven Minutes of Explosion; Scord Quarry installation stills

Stitched Up

16th January – 3rd March 2007. Crescent Arts, Scarborough.

An Exploration of Contemporary Textile Art. Jeanette exhibited two installations: Frozen in Time and Finding Your Way Home

Stitched Up exhibition stills


October 2006 Collins Gallery, University of Strathclyde.

Edinburgh based DesignEd staged an exhibition with recycling as the core theme. Eleven artists collaborated to produce work using wholly recycled materials. Jeanette exhibited two installations.

Frozen in Time exhbition stills

Frozen in Time

As a former costume designer / ladies tailor, Jeanette now finds herself not constructing garments but fragmenting them.

The focus for this work is on basic elements such as threads and fasteners. Working in a new medium to her, the original card backing to new thread has been forged out of glass to bring new light into a forgotten sewing box.  When such thread cards were common, there was a strong imperative to recycle. Basic cardboard scraps and paper would be reused to contain and organise remnants, ends of threads, buttons and other precious bits and bobs.

Tree Skins exhibitin stills

Tree Skins

Rescued from the compost heap for this exhibition and truly in the recycling theme, Jeanette exhibited her Tree Skins for a third time. Originally clothing the trees of the Hillier Arboretum in Hampshire for a year in 2002 and again, a little more decomposed inside the Royal Beatrice Gallery. Finally, well almost finally… they were ‘installed’ on the compost heap completing the cycle of a truly recyclable art form.

The artists took workshops during the exhibition. Jeanette lead one on fasteners and another the apron. In the fasteners workshop Jeanette explored the history and current use of eyes and hooks, poppers, pins, velcro and some long forgotten stitches. The Apron workshop was a journey through a garment with wide associations.

Sense of Identity

22 June – 2 July 2006 Contemporary Scottish Textiles (Joint exhibition) Museum of Arts & Crafts, Itami, Japan

‘Finding your way home’ is an installation conceptualising the term ‘Moder Dy’ (The Mother Wave). The ‘Moder Dy’, a skill no longer used, was a method used by Shetland fishermen to use the patterns in the waves to navigate their way home. Fishermen’s wives estimated their husbands’ return by the amount of yarn they had knitted. The work was inspired by Shetland’s waters and the men’s mastery of them, reinventing a sense of Shetland’s old traditions of timekeeping and navigation.

Finding your way home; exhibition stills

Felt and Nostalgia

March 2006. Jeanette Sendler and ‘Mixing Fibres’ (Collective)  WASPS Patriothall Gallery, Edinburgh

Felt and Nostalgia was an exhibition of work by 13 experienced felt makers which evolved from a weekend of felt making in September 2005. Jeanette was invited to lead the group through the process of developing pieces based the theme of nostalgia.

Stills from Felt and Nostalgia

From 1929 Drummond Community High School was a school for trading and commerce. Later it turned into a secondary school and the adult education program was introduced. Jeanette’s work focuses on needle work which was one of the subjects taught alongside shorthand, housewifery, metal work, woodwork and other technical subjects.

A series of hand felted aprons portray details of writing and stitch work related to the former school called Bellevue – School of Trading & Commerce. The apron pockets are filled with the tools and threads of the past. Each apron represents shell or skin of a past pupil. Monograms on faded cotton suggest former owners of the garments.  The work has been inspired by a series of photographs reflecting pupils that have gone through the system both previously and at present.

In parallel to the exhibition each artist delivered workshops relating to their practice. In one workshop, Jeanette explored the history and current use of eyes and hooks, poppers, pins, velcro and some long forgotten stitches. in the second workshop, the apron was explored as a garment with wide associations.

Green exhibition workshops

Love Letters and Love Nesters

24 September 2003 for 3 weeks at Sv. Jono Gatves Gallerija Sv. Jono Str.11, VILNIUS, Lithuania

Love Letters and Love Nesters exhibition stills

This site specific exhibition explores poignant themes such as the unborn, growth, transformation and death. Jeanette uses fibres as a Poet might use ink, pen and paper. Wool and paper create the poetry of love and life. Letters, Poems, Words have been reoccurring themes in her work. This exhibition suggests writing with thread and needle.

A ‘Lifeline’ threads its way though the wonderful interconnecting arched rooms of the Sv. Jono Gatves Gallerija. The walls are several feet thick in places. The visitor is taken on a journey though Jeanette’s life and work of the last five years. She threads feelings, thoughts, joy and pain through her fabrics.

Felt and Sound

3rd-6th April 2003. A collaboration with musician and singer Yvonne Burgess

Developed from a workshop / installation in Ayr in 2002 on the occasion of the International Felt Association Conference “April in Ayr” in Auchencrieve .The workshop for experienced felt-makers was designed to ‘explore the relationship between touch / sensation and sound.

Felt and Sound workshop stills

“It was an original, stimulating and refreshing experience. The whole workshop was focused on releasing intuitive responses in enjoyable and different ways. We changed partners and took turns to wear a blindfold and, in response to two more pieces of music we instructed each other as to the colours and forms we were imagining. This was a brilliant exercise in clarity and communication..

I take my hat off to Jeanette and Yvonne, who taught and planned so carefully to produce a seamless and shapely event that can be adapted to suit any group. They worked together harmoniously and often almost invisibly, responding where they were needed, and leading us surely where they wanted us to go. I certainly won’t forget this lesson in creativity and trusting my instincts.”

Participant: Sarah Macaulay