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This print collection is one of co-cultural artefacts with a storytelling narrative, each scarf an archival and emotional piece of artwork based on the close relationship between myself as artist, and Babushka.


Co-Designed in person, together with the Babushkas and featuring motifs from their traditional embroideries.


The extensive design process began with personal research in 2016 and discovering, collecting and photographing the historic textile work of the women still living in the exclusion zone, Chernobyl, Ukraine. We bonded and became close through many visits, stitching together and talking about our shared love of embroidery and their textile history.


Embroideries were generously shared or donated, others found in homes evacuated and abandoned since 1986. All the women want their, 'work to live on when…[they] have gone’.


Valentina Loves Fishing

Designed by Valentina of Chernobyl Town, an excellent fisherwoman. She loved going fishing as often as she could, mainly to feed her family. She taught her son to fish and, from when he was 8 months old would take him out in her boat in a specially made, little cradle.


So, she wanted to use every fish cut-out we had, (I originally painted these pike from a photograph of Oleksey’s catch). Fish would not normally be in their traditional embroidery designs, but she didn’t care, she liked them. It was her aim to fill all the space, and she carefully placed lots of flowers above the imagined waterline to make the fish look as though they were under water.  I tried to help by digitally placing an opaque layer of ‘water’ over the fish.


Valentina was a prolific embroiderer from a very young age and she says it was embroidery that brought her love. Her husband-to-be called on her to court her and he saw through the window that she was stitching. He was extremely impressed with her embroidery work, and she says it was the quality and the size of her bottom drawer that made him choose her as his wife ❤️.


Valentina Loves Fishing - Storytelling Scarf

  • Scarf Size: 60cm x 60cm [approx.]

    Box Size: 16cm x 16cm x 4cm [with drawer & tassel pull]

    Material: 100% silk [washable at 30°, light iron]

    • Hand-rolled edges [high quality]
    • Digital print with...
    • Redacted screen-print [the negative evidence] critically underlines the impending disappearance of this community and gives a depth to the piece
    • Each scarf unique due to the variables of the hand screen printing process
    • Launching at Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, November 2022 [together with film of the artist]

    Participatory action research (PAR), ‘values and uses the ‘lived experience of people’ as a way of democratizing inquiry and in some cases empowering marginalized groups’ (Reason cited in Gray and Malin, 2004, p.75).

    50% of profit from this artefact will be donated to the Babushka’s of Chernobyl.


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