Artist and maker Linda Brothwell talks us through the latest in her Acts of Care series
Artist Linda Brothwell is perhaps best known for her Acts of Care Series – a nationwide project that has seen her create unique tools and site-specific interventions that explore ideas of heritage and place. The first Acts of Care Edition was in Sheffield in 2013 at the Portland Works, the site where stainless steel was invented.
Brothwell’s Acts of Care take shape from extensive research around the industrial and material history of a place and often include creating unique tools to fulfill a very specific function in that same location. In Sheffield, Brothwell produced tools to make shims (a thin and often tapered piece of material, used to fill small gaps between objects) at the Portland Works workshops, that she used to creatively repair broken brickwork throughout the building. The following year in Liverpool, she set herself the task of restoring missing letters in iconic building signs with a new handcrafted alphabet, featuring hand-pierced brass scrollwork that combined traditional English and Polish Wycinanki designs.
The latest manifestation in Norwich takes a lighter touch, focused more on research and physical objects than site-specific works and toolmaking. Inspired by the gradated colours and textures of the local medieval doorways – as well as the city’s celebrated dyeing and textile heritage – she has created a series of coloured wooden inlays that explore regional dyeing techniques and celebrate regional architectural patterns and patina.
The images above are a visual diary of the Norwich Acts of Care works in progress, taken by Brothwell. The final pieces are currently on display as part of Build Your Own – an exhibition based around how digital technologies come together with traditional processes of production to create new ways of working, sharing and collaborating – featuring newly commissioned projects by Brothwell alongside, Will Shannon, Assemble, Rachel Rayns and Raspberry Pi, and DoES Liverpool with e-NABLE, alongside a series of creative interventions across Liverpool and Norwich.
Build Your Own is Craft Council partnership exhibition co-produced with FACT and Norfolk Museums Service. Co-curated by curator and cultural programme director Lauren Parker with Clare Cumberlidge of creative communications company Thirteen Ways. The exhibition runs until 3rd January 2016.