A3 Project Space, 2014

Using A3 Project Space as a base Jo Roberts explored the geographical areas of Digbeth and Bordesley and her encounters were translated into the making of a ‘comfort blanket’ embroidered using simple backstitch.

Part of the 'You Are Here' programme.

Update on the development of the ‘Backstitch’ project 1st October 2014.
Jo Roberts

For the pass few weeks I have been walking the area of Digbeth and Bordesley. I have demarcated the area that I am exploring, with the Custard Factory its northern limit, A3 its southern, the N/S railway line its eastern and the B1400 Bordesley High Street its western limits.

Twenty years after having my first studio in the dilapidated part of the Custard Factory, I find myself back in the area. Whilst I have been conducting a physical exploration of the area, at the same time there has been reflection upon my artistic practice in the intervening twenty years. I have found both to be challenging and poignant.

If you like it was psychogeographical approach. I was looking at the passing landscape of the place and my life, and the layering of these.

On the radio I listened to a programme about a gay couple adopting a boy. The men slept with a blanket, this was then given to the young boy so that he would get used to their smell. The idea came to produce a comfort blanket. In child psychology this is a ‘transitional object’ between mother and child. Blanket material, and felt, is something that I have often work with, its texture, touch and invariably its cream colour all appeal to my aesthetics and needs.

This comfort blanket will be my ‘map’ of the area, constructed with wool thread using backstitch. It will be my ‘transitional object’ between Brum and myself.

My book for this project is full of notes, and maps of what I seen where. I have also conducted research through old maps, diaries and Kelly’s Directories. I propose to offer a walk with me and my ‘Backstitch’ comfort blanket around the area. It will be a psycholgeographical tour, made up of physical items, historical, architectural, observations and personal reflections.