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Mechanical Drawing the Schiffli Project

The Manchester School of Art houses the last working schiffli embroidery machine in the UK. The schiffli project documents and explores textile practice and the creative process through the responses of fifteen artists to this unique machine.

An exhibition of this work opens at Manchester Metropolitan University on 16th November 2007, the exhibition then tours to a further six venues in the UK during 2008.

The work includes subverted domestic objects, such as Dixon and Welsh's 'Armchair Politico', Kate Egan's inflating and deflating quilt, 'Stack' and Nina Edge's net curtain, 'Nothing is Private'. Wall pieces include huge figurative works by Alice Kettle, Nigel Cheney and Rowena Ardern as well as a quilt by Lynn Setterington. More intimate work is present in the form of a series of rag books by Jane McKeating, and Rozanne Hawksley's 'Anthem for Albion', a poignant installation referencing global conflict. Sally Morfill, Isabel Dibden Wright, Jill Boyes and Melanie Miller play with the inherent repetition of the machine to create wall-based pieces, and Susan Platt has created a schiffli poem, 'The Lost Thread'.

The exhibition is documented in a fully illustrated 60-page catalogue by Melanie Miller and June Hill. A DVD of the artists working on the schiffli machine accompanies the catalogue. Excerpts from the catalogue are available on this website as PDF downloads.

The Schiffli Machine in use
The Schiffli Machine in use