‘Every Other Seat’ by DUST Rising CIC artists, took place in Hanley’s Cultural Quarter to highlight the plight of the city’s theatres during Covid-19 restrictions after the first 2020 lockdown. The artists’ seats were walked out of the Regent Theatre during the two days and placed down Piccadilly to enable socially distanced viewing. The events, supported by Appetite, Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Stoke-on-Trent BID, also included live spoken word performances from several noted Staffordshire based poets.
In February 2021 The seats were moved into empty shop windows in the Roebuck Centre, Newcastle-under-Lyme during the second lockdown with the support of Appetite and Newcastle-under-Lyme BID.
Dawn Jutton and Mal Dewhirst’s collaboration celebrated the one-year anniversary of the re-opening of Ingestre Orangery with a new installation re-configuring work created before and since the restoration.
Dawn’s new large digital photo-collage prints combine two series of photographs she took on visits to the Orangery eleven years apart. Inspired by the Haikus she wrote during poetry workshops led by Mal last year, this work explores and re-frames the concept of ‘before and after’ photographs.
A new soundscape by Mal Dewhirst accompanied his sound piece ‘Missive Voices’ that featured poetry phone messages sent by poets thinking of Ingestre during the first 2020 Covid-19 lockdown.
The exhibition also included trowels stamped by artist Luke Perry, with words written by Mal, Dawn and visitors to Ingestre during the 2019 ‘Dialect of Digging’ workshops.
Square light beams off walls
Urging greenery to spill free
- echoed green whispers
Dawn was commissioned by Staffordshire County Council to create a series of images in response to the online poetry collection. An exhibition in Stafford Library with limited edition free postcards launched the collection before the images toured Staffordshire libraries.
DUST 2020 was a series of exhibitions during 2017/18 by visual artists associated with the city to support Stoke-on-Trent’s city of Culture bid. The series took place in each of the six towns in heritage buildings at the heart of the community, aiming to make exhibitions accessible to raise the profile of visual art and artists in the city and to gain support for the bid.
Dawn is an associate artist with DUST Rising CIC and is one of the original members. She remains passionate about collaborating with other creatives to bring high quality visual arts programming and opportunities for the people city of Stoke-on-Trent.
I started my journey with DUST in the second exhibition at Tunstall Baths and developed the pieces in response to the heritage sites as the exhibition toured, leaving a trace of the previous work in each iteration. The final piece (l) was an autobiographical work that traced my associations with the city and included personal objects and images as well as elements of the pieces exhibited during the tour.
Dawn Jutton, is one of the inspirational and innovative artists, involved in the project for ‘Older Women Rock The Potteries!’. She worked alongside spoken word poet Leah Thorn on the project to reflect the ideas of “Older Women Rock The Potteries!” through artistic works created specifically for the project including the ‘Scarf’, ‘Blazer’, ‘Apron’ and ‘Suitcase.’ The stirring meaning that has been defined through this artwork is spectacular.
a collaboration between Dawn Jutton & Eliza Bennett
Displacement, a site-specific installation, responds intuitively to the surrounding space, working with sculpture, photography, industrial refuse and discarded objects, repurposing the gathered materials, to compose a loosely choreographed site that explores the psychologically charged artefacts, evoking both loss and transformation, resulting in a meditation on displacement & belonging.
Evolving from our shared sympathy for the factory we came to occupy in its semi-abandoned state, this collaboration was sited in an old shoe factory and is a sort of geometry of echoes. Imbued with the passage of time the remnants we uncovered here have become talismans and relics of its story. The ghosts of the past seem rhythmically animated by the many feet that now come to dance upon the joists that once housed the machines and orderly rhythmic feet of productive workers.
EnterThe long factory room, lengthening with each step, as it disappears in the darkness.The shadows of the day pass, across the room on the opposite wall. Smudging fleeting marks, of lights caress upon the perceived inert totems.There’s a faint scent of something otherworldly, lingering…Fast diminishing with the odor of fresh paint and plaster.Falling light pools in black robes of fabric across the floor,Escorting the dead with its ghostly renderingsLeaning against the invisible,Evening light arranges itself around the fallen leaves And shadows lie at the feet of everything.
by Eliza Bennett
‘Looking for Venus’ is one in a series of work started in the early 2000s that explore an individual experience of a body and femininity that do not conform to a contemporary Western ideal-or modern Venus.
Conceptally and visually there are many similarities in my responses to the seemingly disparate themes of landscape and feminism, and I am exploring bringing these together to create a narrative around the pressure on women to conceal their ‘natural’ selves and signs of ageing.
‘Beyond the Surface’ are two pieces created for the ‘Scapes exhibition at Guildhall Gallery, Stafford.
I re-visited Marston Road in the north end of Stafford, an area near to where I lived for many years, and where I have ben recording the changing architecture for three decades. The two pieces are constructed from found boxes and contain composite images inspired by the collected the memories of people I interviewed in the street and my own children’s memories. In ‘Beyond the Surface; No.1’
Whilst the found boxes relate on a personal level to a family history of regular unpacking and packing of boxes of belongings and childhood slideshows of our travels, the images explore different personal experiences and memories of a particular area at various times, encouraging a re-examining of environment and personal relationships to space.
The fifties is an important decade for understanding the social history of women as the influence of the period remains in much of twenty-first century life, from mass consumerism and advertising, to the constant media examination of the role of women.
This series has been inspired by the contrasting messages from second world war posters, which encouraged women to adopt strong roles and jobs traditionally associated with men, to fifties advertising persuading women back into the feminine safety of the home, family and gleaming perfection. This was only achievable according to advertisers, of course, by purchasing the latest labour saving devices or wearing the newest fashions, but above all by putting the needs of your husband and children first. However, the reality behind this projected veneer of harmony and perfect family life was that many women missed the camaraderie and independence afforded them in the nation’s war effort.
In each of the images the kitchen utensils have been individually photographed and digitally ‘cut out’, whilst the other elements have been manipulated from fifties advertisements and magazine articles. The text has also been ‘borrowed’ from period sources and re-used to create a new context.
An enduring obsession with the simple abstract beauty of distressed surfaces in a variety of environments is a recurring theme in my work. Careful composition and ʻaccidentalʼ colour relationships provide endless possibilities for images which still the impact of nature on human endeavour.
In this instance the source is trains in various states of repair/disrepair. This series continues on every visit to Bridgnorth, Chasewater, or Churnet, or anywhere the restoration of heritage railways is happening.