Alice Kettle, A Map to the Future, embroidery with cotton, rayon and metallic thread on cotton duck, 8m x 3m.
A unique and monumental work of art, commissioned by Lloyd’s Register, connecting the worlds of applied and fine art, has been installed at the Global Technology Centre in Southampton
Yesterday Lloyd’s Register celebrated the installation of major new work of art at its Global Technology Centre in Southampton. A Map to the Future by Alice Kettle is an eight by three metre embroidery marrying the skill of ‘painting with thread’ - the craft of free machine embroidery - with contemporary, digital stitching. These techniques mirror Lloyd’s Register’s journey from being the original classification society in a pre-industrial age, to today’s multi-stranded, global technology driven organisation, owned by one of Britain’s biggest charities.
The embroidery is a unique, magnificent image of the world which incorporates LR iconography along the currents of the oceans and nestling on the land at the edges of the seas. Over the year it has taken to conceive and create, Alice has crafted a monumental, richly detailed and layered work of art.
Alice is probably the foremost exponent in the UK, and perhaps the world, of this of modern embroidery. Known for her painterly quality and scale of her stitch-work, the piece marks a significant evolution in this rare medium. With the effect of a watercolour painting, it is scattered with an intensity of detail and has a new found delicacy. This new development in her work creates a pictorial depth much, perhaps, like looking into the sea down the freeboard of a ship.
As the viewer looks across the image there is also a sense of light and dark reflecting the reality that any time around the world it is both day and night.
Speaking about the project and of the finished art work, Alice Kettle describes how the symbolism works on many levels. "The threads literally stitch together a world and recreate symbols of LR’s past that suggests how we can think about the future. You can never arrive at the future, so in looking back we might be able to think about how it feels to look forward."
Nick Brown, Brand & External Relations Manager, commented: "Alice’s incredible work is a dramatic counterpoint to the streamlined minimalism of the GTC. You have to see it to really grasp its impact. Having Alice working here has been special. Working on the embroidery in our reception area this year - where the embroidery now hangs – she has become part of our working day, hearing about the work, lives and interests of LR’s people. The development of the embroidery has been heavily influenced by this contact as much as by our initial brief and Alice’s awareness of LR’s origins and history. And, given the medium and the scale, A Map to the Future is a physical achievement in its own right."