An award winning textile artist is using her heartbeat to create one of the UK’s longest pieces of embroidery, which will be exhibited at Salts Mill near Bradford next month.
Karina Thompson recorded her heartbeat during a mile and a half run around the top floor of the vast Victorian textile mill.
She then translated the heartbeat data into a series of digitally programmed stitches and embroidered them onto 100 metres of Falcon Grey Hainsworth cloth. The artwork also includes intricate embroidery of the four chambers of Karina’s heart and the delicate patterns made by her footsteps in the dirt of 160 years worth of dust in the Mill.
Karina, who is based in Birmingham, says: “The mile and a half I ran round Salts represents an hour’s worth of wool production. It wasn’t a race, but an exercise in data capture: this was the information that would dictate the nature of my piece for the exhibition.
“I wore a heart monitor and recorded my heart rate and lap times at each end of the huge room. I then programmed this data into a lovely 5mm wide satin embroidery ECG wave form and stitched it out in a way that I was happy with.
“I’m using the most beautiful fabric from Hainsworth for my piece. I like the fact that they have a long and prestigious history of making woollen cloth and that they have been supplying the British Army since the Battle of Waterloo.
“My fabric is grey and reminds me of a wet bandsman standing at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday. It’s also huge. I’m embroidering 5 metre sections at a time and they nearly fill my living room.”
Diane Simpson, Sales & Marketing Director, says: “Hainsworth is delighted to be working with Karina on this stunning piece of art.”
Karina’s work will be on display from August 18 – November 3 at the major exhibition of 23 international artists – called Cloth and Memory (2) – at Salts Mill. The exhibition is a collaborative project between Salts Mill and the University for the Creative Arts.