The site-specific textile artist Claire Barber and sound artist and musician Gavin Osborn are excited to present a new collaborative project and series of workshops at the Festival of Quilts. Their project considers how listening can be affective knowledge for the embroiderer, and how embroidery influences an auditory perception of place. Using their distinct artistic disciplines, they consider a poetic sound-based interpretation of quilt making; Claire and Gavin have been testing the versatility of a sound and stitched-based exchange through the creation of new embroidered and musical compositions. 

Gavin’s on-site sound recordings sourced from liminal sites around the National Exhibition Centre and the broader vicinity of Birmingham are a subject for Claire’s embroidery. In turn, Gavin captures the discreet soundscape of Claire’s embroidery – using highly sensitive recording devices to detect the sonic textures in the moment of stitchery.  

The subsequent layering of sound and embroidered fragments into new musical scores, compositions and creative sound-stitch workshops will engage others to become active listeners, to inspire an intricate interplay between the graphic form and tactile language of embroidery within the acoustic structures of sound-based work. The creative oscillations between sound, stitchery and site-specificity playfully honour traditions of collective textile making to inspire thoughts about patchwork’s metaphoric potential when fragments of haptic experience are pieced together using the process of attentive listening.