Turn and Return: Deirdre Wood’s textile artworks now at City Space

Celebrating the opening of Deirdre Wood’s solo exhibition Turn and Return, read on for more about the newly refurbished City Space at The Arc, Winchester and the artist behind the first show in its new location in the building.

Running Cross (2018), Silk, cotton and wool. Courtesy of the artist.

This spring, the City Space gallery will have a new face as a result of the exciting partnership between Hampshire City Council and Hampshire Cultural Trust. As part of the refurbishment of The Arc, our beloved City Space gallery will be relocated onto the mezzanine to create an exciting new exhibition space, visible from all angles and accessible to everyone. The mezzanine area will now also feature newly acquired art and architecture books, featuring an exquisite selection on contemporary art.

This exciting new partnership will champion teamwork, respect and curiosity and continue strengthening links to the local artistic community in Winchester. To celebrate this new start for City Space, we chose the fantastic textile works of artist Deirdre Wood to welcome you to The Arc.

Deirdre Wood trained originally as potter textiles but strip-weaving remained a long-standing fascination. When the opportunity arose, Deirdre studied for a degree in woven textiles at the West Surrey College of Art Design (1992–5)

Deirdre Wood is a hand weaver and dyer, working in Winchester. Since the 1990s, she has developed the ancient technique of narrow strip-weaving to create abstract architectural textiles. Often many yards of narrow woven cloth are twisted and turned before being joined by sewing to make three-dimensional wall-hangings. Sometimes the long narrow fabric is cut into sections before sewing, or the complete warp may be used to make triangles, rectangles, diamonds and squares. Deirdre’s works always pays important attention to colour, which she carefully chooses depending on the yarn used.

More recently, Deirdre has devised a novel technique that produces long, curved woven strips, featured in the exhibition at City Space. This entirely new approach to weaving exploits the contrasting properties of linen and silk to create rings and discs. Although the cloth is woven straight, it becomes dramatically curved when cut from the loom and treated with finishing processes.

Cinnabar (2016) Silk, linen and wool. Courtesy of the artist.

For the exhibitions team, Deirdre’s disciplined approach to textile and passion for the mathematics of everyday life was a perfect complement to the Extraordinary Everyday: The Art & Design of Eric Ravilious exhibition in The Gallery. Just as in Ravilious’ work, Deirdre’s work challenges the strict distinctions between craft, design and art and show us that creative work can draw from many different ways of making, doing and thinking. Viewed from the ground floor of The Arc, Deirdre’s architectural woven constructions are always moving and they remind us of one of the pillars of architecture; functional environments rarely follow just a utilitarian aim, they are also an aesthetic experience made up by the colours, shapes and sounds which inhabit the space.

We look forward to welcoming you to this space and hope you join us for this cultural and enriching experience in Winchester.

Turn and Return is open at City Space until 3 April 2022. All artworks, unless otherwise stated, are available to purchase.

To find out more about Deirdre’s work, make sure to visit Turn and Return and visit Deirdre’s website.

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Hampshire Cultural Trust

From museums to galleries to arts centres, we manage and support attractions across the county, welcoming over 740,000 people each year. Our charitable purpose is changing lives through culture.
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