Stroudwater Canal Wanderings

This is the upper part of the hanging , it shows three panels linked by red wool hanging from a tangled skein of the same red wool wrapped around a clothes hanger.
There are many interesting images in the Stroud Navigation Canal archive but these are the ones that particularly called out to me and I made work in response to weaving in my personal exploration of the psychogeography of the canal. My wandering is through time as well as space.
A very old map of the canal joining the River Severn. The outline of abundant willows along a canal bank in the nineteenth century which I know do not exist now. My contemporary print showing the wild water being tamed and used by the creation of the locks. A eighteenth century document working out the flow of water from the river into the proposed canal. The names of the locks in contemporary fonts. A handwritten document dated 1779.
Here are the lower panels and part of the tail which includes the names of some local water sources. A holed stone at the very end of the strand of red wool which links the piece together. The red wool signifies many things, the red thread of life, blood and the famous Stroud red cloth. The naturally holed stone worn away by the action of water over time weighs down and anchors the piece like the end weight of a wool spindle. Holed stones are also called hag stones and when hung from a red thread they make a magic charm of protection and good luck in old folklore.

Stroudwater Wanderings some more thoughts behind the making of this work


This is one of the panels from my wall hanging ” Stroudwater Wanderings” created for the Wool and Water exhibition at Newark Park this autumn. Each of the eight panels that make up this work show a different image inspired by the archive and my own musings about the psychogeography of the Canal. I live close to the canal and frequently walk beside it. This panel lists some of the interesting names given to the local springs, water sources and wells which feed into the Frome and the Stroudwater Canal. Many however are unnamed like the one by the backdoor of my own cottage. They attracted human settlement here many thousands of years ago and were considered sacred or magical. A potent aspect of the Spirit of the land through which the canal flows.