Fragility: a touring show by Prism Textiles at the RBSA this October

The international exhibiting group Prism brings together a range of quality textile practices with a fine art approach.

They offer a different perspective on the medium of fabric, thread and mixed media, whilst demonstrating the vitality of contemporary stitched textiles.

Members of Prism blogged at Tumblr recently about their exhibits coming soon to the RBSA…

Alison Brown

Knuckledusters addresses issues of perceived material fragility – porcelain which can be in fact incredibly robust. aggression : self worth / hard material : delicate luxury / gender politics : unthinking / domestic : abuse / power : play / fragility : strength.

Cocktail sticks, dusters, ‘J’-cloths, nails, tulle & pins, bristles – the life of a 1950’s wife which is not so dissimilar still today for many women.

Funeral for a species concerns the imminent extinction of some bird species well-known to us all. Over-fishing, climate change, intensive farming, pet exploitation and a Chinese delicacy are primary factors for the imminent extinction of puffins, Snowy Owls, Turtle Doves, Grey Parrots, and Yellow Breasted Buntings. Globalisation, greed, overconsumption. Loss.

Jane Walkley


I grew up in the North East of England and come from three generations of brass founders who served the iron and steel businesses of industrial Middlesbrough.

The casting methods I use today echo the same processes that were employed in the family run foundry since 1862.

Through my practice I consider how industrial buildings that are no longer used for their original purpose, often destined for demolition, invoke memory and attachment.  I question whether site-specific interactions can help to bridge the gap between memory and place in the absence of these buildings and in doing so allow us to make connections to our past keeping the memories and the attachment we feel towards these places alive.

It is important to me to understand who occupied these spaces and what activity took place within them.

The work exhibited in Fragility is from my research into Sunny Bank Mills in West Yorkshire.  Sunny Bank is once again a thriving business enterprise and no longer a working textile mill.  It does however still have its weaving sheds that are partially derelict, with Hattersley looms still in situ.  I have taken clay impressions from the machinery in this space, cast these in jesmonite and then woven them piece by piece into my warp.  The bright colours have come from the graffiti that decorates the walls of this space and the colour gradations from the original dye books.  The number 48 in one of the pieces is an acknowledgement of the impact leaving the European Union will have on all of us, not least the fragile industry in the north.


Molly Williams

molly williams

Molly has made ceramic figures in response to the theme ‘Fragility’. Cotton fabric is destroyed by fire however when mixed with clay the fibres leave their mark.

To form the figures she used strips of knitted cotton fabric soaked in a stone clay slip to wrap around a wire skeleton. Once the clay was dry, the figures were Raku fired in a steel drum.

Preparing the figures for firing, she covered them in banana skins and wire wool around the figures, adding salt and copper sulphate before wrapping whole in foil – known as Sagger.

Fragility 8 – 19 October

Explore the concept of fragility through textiles. Prism artists will be in the Gallery throughout their show, providing plenty of opportunities for visitors to receive information about guidance about the artwork on display.

Free events

Hand-stitch as Meditation, Thursday 10 October, 2-4pm – A free workshop to learn how stitch can be therapeutic.

Show and Share Discussion Group, Wednesday 16 October, 11am-1pm – A free forum for members of the public  to bring along a piece of work to discuss with Prism members.

Fun with Stitch Family Session, Saturday 19 October, 11am-1pm and 2-4pm – A free drop-in workshop for all the family! Meet a Prism artist and learn how to use a range of textile skills.

Book your place by calling or e-mailing the Gallery on 0121 236 4353 or

Banner image: Molly Williams, Prism.

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