‘Growing, Stitching’ by Laura Moseley

Speaking with the Artist: Laura Moseley

Tell us a bit about yourself, and where you grew up.

I am a Norfolk textile artist and researcher from over three generations of creative Norfolk women. I work with natural dyeing, weaving and quilting. Growing up in the city but later studying History of Art has developed a deep-rooted curiosity into the connections between art and the natural world that has continued in my artistic practice. Natural dyeing, sewing and gardening has always been my way to connect the urban city of Norwich with its surrounding natural landscape. In my MA, I am researching rural spaces and subjectivities in contemporary art. 

Memories of coastal walks at Great Yarmouth coast, crabbing at Wells and picking berries wherever we could, means that nature resembles a retreat and a refuge for those living in the city. This sense that nature is a gift to be valued and treasured informs my natural dye practice, as my materials are sourced locally and sustainably.

Can you explain the decisions behind your piece?

[My quilt] stitches together our rich history of hand-dyeing with local, natural materials with traditional methods and techniques. The aim of my work is to showcase a unique historic connection between Norwich’s history and its surrounding natural landscape through our once famous natural dye practice. The piece will reanimate a largely unknown Norfolk history, highlighting the legacy of skilled natural dyers through contemporary reinterpretation. I will incorporate quilted techniques to create a work that will evoke Norfolk’s bountiful natural world and all the colours, shades and tones it can gift us. From the deep reds of the Madder plant that we once bought from merchants at our very own Madder market, to the soft oranges of locally grown onions, this work will patchwork the treasures of Norfolk’s land through the array of colours it continues to provide. Whilst this is a historic medium, it is also timeless, eternal, and its creative pathways are infinite. 

This work will also provide an opportunity to reflect on Norwich’s diverse social history. Our textile practice was supported by the Dutch and Walloon refugees known as ‘The Strangers’ in 1565 who boosted our local textile practice with new techniques and materials. We are indebted to those who have crossed borders to show us new ways of working, no matter how different they may be. [There is an] emphasis on how collaboration and community can enrich our connection to the wider world, and how textiles can be just one example of this.