Volunteers sought to help complete artwork

Artist Jackie Sewell.  Picture by FRANK REID
Artist Jackie Sewell. Picture by FRANK REID

An artist is seeking volunteers with nimble fingers to help complete a giant clippy mat with a difference.

Jackie Sewell, from Tynemouth, has swapped the strips of old fabric traditionally used to create a clippy mat for thousands of shredded plastic carrier bags.

The colourful six-metre-long mat – work in progress since 2015 – forms the centrepiece of her current exhibition in the Port of Tyne Gallery at The Customs House.

Jackie, who studied Fine Art at Northumbria University and graduated in 2013, said: “Once I finished my degree show I had nowhere to store these frames so I started to recycle them.

“All my work has a craft base and because a clippy mat is a form of recycling, I decided to make a mat.”

The clock is ticking on her latest project as she is keen to finish the piece before the carrier bags at the end of the mat – the ones she started with – start to disintegrate.

She added: “People have said to me ‘why don’t you just cut it off?’ If I had bought two metres I would say fine, but I bought six metres and it is a challenge now to get it finished because I think it will be beautiful.”

Jackie will be at her loom in the gallery from 1pm to 4pm on Tuesday, June 27, and Wednesday, June 28, and is urging people to come along and help.

Esen Kaya, gallery curator, said: “If you have some time, love a bit of hooky and proggy work and would like to help create a site-specific artwork, we would love to hear from you!”

Jackie’s work is being exhibited alongside that of Sunderland-based painter and sculptor Mike Clay as part of Transition 7.

Transition is an annual exhibition slot created specifically to show the work of emerging and early career artists from the north east.

Esen added: “With a shared interest in society’s commercial consumption and its subsequent production of waste, both artists have produced new work using recycled materials, turning the ordinary into something extraordinary.”

Transition 7 at the Port of Tyne Gallery at The Customs House, Mill Dam, South Shields, is open to the public from 10am to 8pm daily, until Sunday, July 23.