Janette Bell

My main interest is in telling stories of women's lives - and particularly stories from the past. Coming from an area with a history of heavy industry, I have always been surrounded by images of men, building things, welding things, digging things....all admirable and worth celebrating, yes, but where were the pictures of women? Missing, mostly. That originally drew me to seeking out old photos showing women's lives. More recently, coming across Cas Holmes' beautiful book 'Stitch Stories', I realised I could tell these stories through textiles. I particularly like the idea of using a traditional female craft, practiced by invisible women down the centuries, to make some of these ladies visible again.

So I am currently developing this theme. My narrative pieces incorporate old photos (reproduced on fabric), text elements, experiments with print and embroidered or appliqued details. There's also a lot of research, making sure I get the history right. And sometimes I have help, as in my photo. All in all it's slow work!!

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