Needle & Thread - Bren Nevin

©Victoria and Albert Museum, London View Inspiration Details

Artist Statement

Bren Nevin

I was surprised by the wonderful embroidery on the Kimonos and ceremonial gowns in the Japanese gallery. I was particularly impressed by the Flock of Cranes Gift Cover (fukusa) [Museum no. T.20-1923]. The rendition of the multiple images of the cranes was beautifully executed. To think that a humble tool such as a needle, combined with golden thread, in the hands of a craftsperson could result in such exquisite imagery, dynamic design and breath-taking skill was inspirational.

This piece inspired me to see if I could combine a needle and thread through the medium of etching. I thought of taking a line of thread for a walk through the pages of a book and see where it would lead me.

So taking the humble needle as my subject matter I created a series of six etchings depicting a needle. I combined the six etchings into a concertina-fold booklet bound with front and back hard covers.

I then ran a line of golden thread through the eyes of each of the needles ending at the end of its journey on the last page in the outline of a dove.

The V&A piece is an embroidered cloth cover used for the presentation of a special gift. So it is appropriate that my bound book is contained in a cover of its own. So I designed a cloth-covered slip case with a bird's footprints traversing its cover - executed in golden thread.

I have spent most of my career in the advertising industry and I have developed my art and craft skills in etching and bookbinding at various evening classes. The V&A is in itself a great inspiration, but the evening classes give me the space and facilities to experiment and broaden my creative, technical and craft skills under my tutor's guidance.

Needle & Thread - Bren Nevin

©Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Inspiration details:


Textile Cover

Japan (made)

1840-1870 (made)

unknown (production)

Satin silk with embroidery in silk and metallic thread

V&A collection reference number(s):
T.20-1923 Flock of Cranes Gift Cover

2015 Exhibition Guide

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