Explore original designs with this creative local group
The NCEATA group members enjoy exploring textile art
techniques and create original pieces using felting, sewing,
stitch, embroidery and any other methods to a creative end.
At the show, they’ll be making and embellishing fabric leaves
and decorating a branch – join them and try it yourself.
See examples of the work they do, talk to them about
their activities, and have a go at the hand cranked sewing
machine they will have on the stand.

STITCHED UP – Newcastle Industrial
School 1867-71

It is 150 years since the opening of the
Newcastle Industrial School which was
established in response to the passing of the
NSW Act for the Relief of Destitute Children.
Don’t miss the textile art works on exhibition at
the fair, created by Wilma Simmons and Anne
Kempton of Timeless Textiles. The exhibition is
a community art project interpreting the lives of
193 girls who were at The Newcastle Industrial
School from 1867 to 1871.
In the display, there will be stick dolls by Wilma;
she created one for each of the 193 girls.
Seven volumes of a stitched book will chronicle
the lives of 193 female inmates. Don’t miss this
moving display.


Stitched Up

Artist: Wilma Simmons

Artist’s statement:

Wednesday’s child is full of woe (from a nursery rhyme c.1838)

The stories of each of the girls in the Newcastle Industrial School and Reformatory made an impression on me.  Every story captured my attention and my heart.

Stick dolls seemed an appropriate way for me to honour the life of each of these girls.  There is a doll for each of the girls who were inmates of the Newcastle Industrial School between 1867 and 1871. . While it appeared that these girls were robbed of childhood play, I like to think if they had the opportunity they might have made little dolls from found materials – sticks and scraps of fabric, just as I enjoy making them 150 years later. These dolls are artistic representations and are not intended to be accurate or lifelike depictions of the girls.  

In this installation, there are 193 stick “figures” wrapped in layers of cloth and individually stitched and sculpted. Their different sizes and shapes draw attention to their individuality. Some have their hands ‘tied’ (knotted cloth), others have their arms raised in defiance (natural fork in a branch) or hanging loosely in quiet resignation. (thin branches). The  polymer clay faces are individually sculpted to convey some of the sadness and misfortune  of the girls’ lives.

Wednesday’s Children by Wilma Simmons 

On loan from the “Stitched Up” Exhibition, supported by Timeless Textiles Gallery and The Lock -Up, Newcastle.