Teresa Whitfield

Teresa Whitfield


Teresa Whitfield’s research into lace in fashion and textile collections in the museums of England and France manifests itself in highly detailed ink drawings which bear such a close resemblance to real fabric that they occupy an unusual space between the drawing of an object and the recreation of it in a different medium.

Teresa Whitfield’s recent research into the use of machine-made lace in C20th fashion at the National Trust costume collection at Killerton House, Exeter resulted in a life-size ink drawing of a 1970’s blue lace evening dress from the high street chain Richard Shops.  The dress features a highly complex Paisley print on lace fabric and took the artist two years to complete; the slow, meticulous, low-tech process echoing the unsung labour of its original creators and highlighting the loss of craft skills such as lace-making in a mechanised and digital culture.

The artist’s exploration of machine-made lace in the Museum of Lace & Fashion in Calais, France, housed in a former lace factory, uncovered a luxury red lace top by the Christian Maquer brand.  Made in 1991 on a Leaver’s lace machine exported from Nottingham, the exquisitly intricate red fabric, one of the first of its kind to use the technique of combining lace with Lycra, is minutely reproduced in the drawing ‘Red Lycra Lace Top’ which was exhibited in the museum’s fashion gallery next to the lace garment.

There are clear parallels in the work between lace-making and line drawing where lengths of thread are replaced by lines of ink, embracing imperfections inherent in the hand-made and resulting in images that are more a re-enactment of the lace-making process, than simply a likeness to the end product.

Teresa Whitfield is BA Fine Art Programme Lead at Greater Brighton Metropolitan College; she studied BA Fine Art Painting at Norwich School of Art (1987) and MA Drawing at Wimbledon College of Art (1999); she was Artist-in-Residence at Fabrica, Brighton in 2009 and has exhibited her work in the Jerwood Space, the Transition Gallery, the Royal Academy of Arts, the Royal West of England Academy, Devon Guild of Craftsmen, the Towner Gallery and museums including Nottingham Castle Museum, Salisbury Museum, Bexhill Museum, Worthing Museum and Somerset Museum of Rural Life.

RICHARD SHOPS BLUE LACE DRESS | Ink on paper (2019) 111 x 158cm.
RICHARD SHOPS BLUE LACE DRESS | Shown at Killerton House National Trust, Exeter, as part of the Tree of Life exhibition with the original dress. 2019
RED LYCRA LACE TOP | Ink on paper (2016) 67 x 86cm
RED LYCRA LACE TOP | Exhibited in the Museum of Lace and Fashion, Calais, France in 2016 with the original lycra lace top.
BLUE LACE BLOUSE (2019) | Ink on paper 70 x 70cm.
Brighton, East Sussex, UK
Southern England
Workshops: No
Talks: Yes
Commissions: Yes