Fiona Rutherford, Textile Artist

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Knitted Lives in Newcastle

June 16, 2009


The laundry basket

Knitted Lives at Newcastle City Library


The brand new city library in the centre of Newcastle opened on June 6th. A smaller version of Knitted Lives is on show in five display cabinets. The Newcastle women are exhibiting in their own city to the delight of library users.

The exhibition runs until July 11th.

knitted lives opens!

April 10, 2009

the laundry line


the communist

the sports women

dot’s dustbin

alnwick gardens exhibition April 9th – May 9th


Knitted Lives opened at Alnwick Gardens yesterday with a private view for the knitters  and press. It looks great. We’ve been living and working with this project since it started on a snowy January morning last year with high hopes and lots of vague ideas.

The public response has been fantastic. As someone said it’s “a triumph”! Sally Ann Norman’s beautiful catalogue is selling well.

I’m just sorry that Jenny Burns couldn’t make the opening as she has been integral to the project. However, Alice and Douglas from Equal Arts were there as well as Carol our writer and Melissa our superb technician.

This is beginning to sound like a hysterical Oscar’s speech so I’ll stop. More from Knitted Lives later…….


old and young

March 24, 2009





Bridging the Generations


There was more hectic creativity at my local Primary School as we did more design workshops towards the commission. This was the first time that the older people and children met and worked together. It was a new experience for me and Mandy. 

How would they all get on? I think the older generation were more nervous of the 10 year olds.
They had no need to worry, everyone got on really well as imaginations and conversation began to flow. Mandy and I could stand back as the artists got on with it. There is nothing like a bit of cutting, stitching and sticking for striking up friendships. One little girl announced that she thought the older people were “cool”.

They’ve produced some lovely work. I love the old and young hands working together. 

Now Mandy and I have to pull together a design for the commissioned work from all their ideas.




Bird Life

March 9, 2009




Children’s Birds


From working with old people I’m now working with children!

These are some of the fantastical birds created from children’s imaginations. I spent the day at the very new West Jesmond Primary School doing design workshops with Yr. 5 children. I’m working with fellow artist Mandy Pattullo on producing a commissioned artwork for the entrance hall and the children are helping us with the imagery.

We asked for wacky, colourful birds and we got them. I love the uninhibited creative energy of children. The day whizzed by in a frenzy of cutting and sticking. We produced six freizes measuring 1.50m long filled with colour. These are just some of them.

The school is just around the corner from where I live so it’s special for me.






The school is just round the corner from where I live and so it’s particularly special for me.

one week only again!

February 18, 2009


Knitted Lives at John Lewis, Newcastle


I pushed something I didn’t mean to and the last post went up before I’d finished…….So here’s what I was going to say.

Our nine month knitting project got it’s first public viewing this week from Monday 16th february and for one week only at John Lewis Department Store in Newcastle.

Part of the exhibition is on display in a window as well as the Knitting and Haberdashery Dept. The full exhibition opens at Alnwick Gardens on April 9th. It looks great! Alice and I were quite emotional standing in front of the window on Monday morning. So much of our lives and energy has gone into this project as well.

There was more emotion in the afternoon when Jenny and Ruth arrived and we greeted our oldest knitters. It was a very happy atmosphere and we created something of a spectacle as a group of octogenarians + followed by photographers slowly negotiated our way through the store.

I’m so proud of these women and I feel privileged to have been part of their lives.

The catalogue contains edited stories of their lives and images of knitted work in the exhibition. It looks beautiful. Sally Ann Norman did a fantastic job on the design and collation of so many diverse elements.

If I sound a tad excited it’s because I am. Knitted Lives is very close to my heart and has been a huge creative adventure for me and everyone working on the project.

There’s plenty more to come.

Knitted Lives catalogue available through Alice Thwaite at Equal Arts. E: alice@equalarts.org.uk