Kath Lovett

London, UK – Textile

Heritages, 2020 

30 wipes, natural dyes, wire, digital embroidery 

45 x 45 cm 

This piece explores how we inherit the rules of ‘good mothering’. It is made from 30 pre consumer wipes which have been hand-pleated with wire and then digitally stitched with flower  motifs.

£800

The natural dyes are beetroot peelings, reminiscent of the  Borsht soup my Grandmother fed us to show love. It has also been mixed with raspberry tea by  children like to drink – giving it a pink cloying, fragrant dye. Heritages is formed in a circle to suggest that these rules of mothering might be passed to my  daughter. However, there is a break in the circle which hints at some relief from the internal  critics constantly monitoring my mothering. The dyes are ‘fugitive’ dyes, essentially stains, so  change and adapt over time; this too gives hope that nothing is set in stone and rules can change  for my daughter.  

Floating blue, 2020

40 wipes, natural dyes, wire
16 x 50 cm length max

£600

This is an exploration of what we consider waste. Pre-consumer waste wipes were individually
dipped into a dye made from raspberry tea and beetroot peelings. They were then individually
fed through a pleating device which was threaded with thin wire.
This piece is site specific and can be shaped to any space. It is almost alive as the wires respond
to movement and the colour slowly changes over time. Like all of us, it is fluid and shifts to our
environment.

Making process

Kath rescued over a 1000 wet-wipes from a wipes factory. These were pre-consumer waste, completely and beautifully clean, unused and fresh…. just the wrong size. She invented the process of using a princess-pleater, traditionally used for smocking, to add bulk to the fragments of fabric. Sometimes the princess pleater is threaded with cotton, other times wire. Piece by piece, the wipes are fed through the pleater to form long thin banners.

Themes around motherhood, domestic labour and sustainability are explored through traditional drawing techniques. These drawings are then scanned into a digital embroidery machine, stitched onto the banners and dyed using waste from Kath’s kitchen: beetroot peelings, red onion skins and raspberry tea. The pleats are sometimes released to create frills. Through this time consuming, meditative way of working, Kath explores the mundane, the everyday and the process of care.

Artist’s Bio:

Kath Lovett is a multi-disciplinary artist and designer whose work explores issues around sustainability, activism and feminism. She has developed an innovative way of pleating wet wipes to make them more durable and withstand surface design finishes, including embroidery and natural dyes. She received an MA in Textile Design from Chelsea College of Art with a Distinction grade and her work has been nominated for the Mother Prize in 2020 and nominated for the Arts Foundation Futures Awards (AFFAs) 2021 for Materials Innovation. Kath’s work is embedded in the community and she is an experienced educator and workshop facilitator.