Lois Blackburn is a self employed artist with a broad experience and knowledge of working in the creative industries. She has the necessary artistic, business and organisational skills needed to realise successful art projects.
She is a founder, Director and lead artist of the art organisation arthur+martha, where she shares her skills and knowledge, collaborating with homeless and older people to make artwork, most recently a series of quilts.
Manchester Metropolitan University, BA Hons 1st class degree in Embroidered Textiles. 1988-1991
Farnham Art College, Foundation in Art and Design 1987-1988
Professional group memberships
2018- Textile Study Group. A group of nationally and internationally recognised textile artists and tutors, well known for innovative and challenging approaches to art practice and contemporary teaching.
Quilt making has become the centrepiece of Lois Blackburn’s artwork over the last 7 years. It’s a form that allows a deep, powerful and meaningful collaboration between Lois and other participants. It’s a form that allows many skills, many hands, many stories, to come together. Because of its associations with comfort and refuge, it has been ideal for us to bring into troubled environments – particularly working with homeless people.
2014-2017 ‘Stitching the Wars.‘ An award winning project creating 2 quilts with older people many living with dementia in Derbyshire. The 2 quilts will be going into the Quilters’ Guild, National Collection in 2018.
2016 ‘Sing me to Sleep’ (Padainuok man labanakt’). Made a quilt in collaboration with people who experienced homelessness in Manchester and Lithuania, worked on the theme of the forests of fairytale, childhood and their current life.
2013 ‘Artist in residence.‘ Age UK Bakewell Day Centre. Investigating the theme of the ‘working life’ of older people. Reminiscence led into the creation of bespoke memory boxes- to create meaningful, useful memory aides and stimulation.
2011-12 ‘A quilt for when you are homeless.‘ Made in collaboration with groups of homeless people in Manchester. The piece was a meditation on warmth and cold, both as physical circumstance and as metaphor for being in, or excluded from, society.
Lois Blackburn has a unique way of fashioning images – using painted batik on silk, scanned into a computer and manipulated, it gives her illustration a lushness of colour and spontaneity of line that is eye grabbing. Her design work and illustrations have been commissioned for everything from the Greeting cards, promotional materials, local and national newspapers, magazines and children’s books.
Previous clients for illustrations include The Times Newspaper, The Spectator Magazine, MOJO magazine and The Big Issue. Her work has been commissioned for private and for public art works.
Her work is housed in public collections including Bankfield Museum Halifax and Leighton House Museum, Kensington. In 2018, two quilts were archived with The Quilters’Guild.
Selected Public Art Commissions
Lois has been commissioned for a range of public art commissions. 1993/4 textile hangings for Winsford Library and Ashford Borough Council. Collaborations with ceramicists to produce Public Art in Manchester (1995/9) Fruit Stall, Manchester (1998) Textile Screen, Leighton House Museum, Kensington (1998)
Lois has exhibited her artwork all over Britain, at over 50 galleries including: The Royal Academy Edinburgh, Smiths Gallery London, The Business Design Centre London, The Castle Gallery Inverness, The Royal Exchange Manchester, Castlefield Gallery Manchester, Bluecoat Display Centre Liverpool, Chelsea Craft Fair London.
Creative Industry Experience
Lois has been self-employed since 1991. She has 19 years experience within the arts and health field. In 2006 with poet Philip Davenport, she set up the Community Interest Company arthur+martha.
The Skills and knowledge she has gained include: artistic direction, coordinating activities, curating exhibitions, editing books and publications, publicity and promotion, managing budgets, cash flow, book keeping, training, strategic planning, fundraising, managing and recruiting volunteers, employing artists, managing and administrating projects, creating and maintaining websites and social media, liaising and collaborating with: galleries, community groups, councils, art officers and other bodies.
Since 2006 in partnership with the writer Philip Davenport, she has raised funding for projects from various sources, including: The Arts Council, The Heritage Lottery, The Lottery, local councils. The team have created groundbreaking professional art that has been exhibited at the Houses of Parliament, Peoples History Museum, The Royal Festival Hall Southbank, Imperial War Museum North, Bury Art Gallery, numerous healthcare venues and internationally at the National Gallery of Art in Vilnius, Lithuania.