Mayor to open the door on international artist at work

Long established as a home for artists, Winchester starts the year with a unique residency.  The Guildhall Gallery on the Broadway has been transformed into a working studio for international textiles artist, Alice Kettle, as she works on a commission for Hampshire County Council, producing a textile for the new discovery centre in Jewry Street.

Mayor of Winchester Cllr Sue Nelmes is set to open the exhibition at the Guildhall Gallery on Tuesday 23 January at 11am.

Alice lives and works in Winchester but her pieces tour all over the world and in 2006 she was named Textile Artist of the Year.  The commissioned textile - which is set to grow to 16.55m long by 3m high - is now too large for Alice to work on in her workshop at home, so in order to complete her work she has transferred her studio to the more spacious surroundings of the Guildhall Gallery.

This is especially exciting for local people and visitors as they can watch this extraordinary work take shape.  Alice has taken Winchester past, present and future as her inspiration for the art work.  The colours she is using are based on the colours of the Winchester Bible which is one of the cathedral's most famous treasures.  There are also references in the piece to strong local images such as Sound II by Antony Gormley which stands in the cathedral crypt and objects from the City Museum including a medieval wall painting and a roman head. 

Alice commented: "This is an extraordinary commission and I am proud to have been asked to undertake such a significant and challenging art work, especially since it is in my home town."

Eloise Appleby, Winchester City Council's Head of Culture said: "We are very excited to be hosting this residency.  When this textile artwork is complete, it will be of international significance in terms of its ground-breaking technology behind it and its sheer scale. 
"We feel very proud to be involved and to give access to the people of Winchester who can watch the piece grow day by day."

Follow the Thread: Alice Kettle -- Work in Progress will be featured in the gallery from January 23 to the end of July 2007.  It will include Alice's tools and machinery, examples of previous works she has created and information panels about the project.  Whilst Alice may not always be present in person, she has offered to be available each Tuesday at 11am for a short, free, informal talk about her work, and gallery staff will also be on hand to answer questions about the artwork.

Special interest groups may also be able to book a short private talk on Tuesday afternoons, depending on the stage of the project which Alice has reached. Contact gallery staff for availability.

The gallery will be open during its normal hours as follows:
November to March    Tuesday - Saturday 10am - 4pm, Sunday noon - 4 pm
April to October           Monday- Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday noon - 5pm