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Stolen from the Skies

Sharing my bittersweet Sunday afternoon spent amongst some birds. Sadly these textile art birds are either extinct or endangered.

‘Stolen from the Skies’ is a multimedia art exhibition co-created by the North Yorkshire textile art group Decora. It features various artistic interpretations of the impact we have on birds, from the loss of natural habitats through environmental pollution to being driven to extinction for sport.


One of the first birds that caught my eye was an embroidered Bishop's Oo by Sandra Emptage. This extinct Hawaiian bird had a 2 note far-reaching song that has inspired both Jazz and Indie bands.





I was impressed by the range of different textile art techniques included in this exhibition, and it was obvious the thoughtful and playful exploration that had gone on during the three years it took to produce the mixed media art exhibition.

Although there was work by individual artists, I loved the way that their exhibited work had often evolved from a common workshop they learned together at, and the co-produced feather pieces where one person had started the design before passing it to another member of the group to add their stitches.


In the chemise exhibit, I was drawn to Jackie Wilkin's colourful mixed media feathers - a representation of the Nicobar Pigeon, a distant relative of the extinct Dodo.





Hope Is The Thing With Feathers by Sue Anderson, was another piece that included colurful feathers with a poem quote also spoke to me.





Here are a few collages of fabric, paper, print, and stitch that I chose:

Garden Delight and To The Woods pair by Yvonne Wilman incorporates words





and Perching by Sue Hadley which includes maps





More stitched birds that caught my eye, was the Kakapo, a critically endangered ground living Parrot from New Zealand by Gwen Turner. The balance of colours was particularly striking.





An embroidery on an eco-printed background by Jane Hare, Blue Tits Sitting Pretty was again a different technique and style.




An inspiring, yet thought-provoking exhibition. I look forward to knowing what Decora will be up to next. Please comment on which of my selected pictures you are drawn to.


When I got back to our car to return home, I was greeted by one of the Hall's colourful peacocks! And on my way through Yorkshire, I decided to support The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) by donating 20% of the sales of my bird creative kit. That's £3.50 from each of this beginner applique and free-machine stitch kit sold until the end of the year. If you'd like to create this bluetit and support the protection of birds, you can find the kit here





Stolen from the Skies is exhibiting during the open dates of Nunnington Hall, 10.30 - 17.00 until the 30th of October. There is other permanent textile art in the rest of the hall, from crewel work hangings, samplers, and restored tapestries to quilts, including some miniature textiles in The World in Minature exhibition. Worth a visit.

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