Presentation on theme: "Traces of Wearmouth. My name is Ian Potts. I am an artist, curator and teacher who works in collaboration with other artists and schools, developing community."— Presentation transcript:
Traces of Wearmouth
My name is Ian Potts. I am an artist, curator and teacher who works in collaboration with other artists and schools, developing community based art works to facilitate art practice and increase participation at all levels, while at the same time utilising art in a restorative context. I aim to promote intergeneration involvement, education, social mobility and an increased sense of wellbeing for the participants.
My intention for making this piece of work, Traces of Wearmouth, was to illustrate and give credit to the influence of the monks of Wearmouth-Jarrow on untold religious manuscripts throughout the world. The recent exhibition at Durham displayed for the first time both the Lindisfarne Gospels together with its example text, the Durham Gospels, which were written not at Durham as the name suggests, but at Wearmouth-Jarrow.
As a starting point, I took images from ancient carvings found on the weathered west arch of St. Peter’s Church at Monkwearmouth. I embellished these faint drawings with colour and texture, and then morphed them into the cat symbol found in the Lindisfarne Gospels. This acknowledges that the work from Lindisfarne has its roots not only from the site at St. Peter’s Church, but possibly from the Venerable Bede himself.
Heather Ritchie Rugmaker The original ink drawing was too small; I wanted to give it more gravitas. So I invited the internationally renowned rug maker and Sunderland lass, Heather Ritchie, to oversee the making of a large community rug to be made by people from Sunderland in homage to the work of Benedict Biscop, our patron saint, and the monks from his monastery.
So the rug was started by Heather and two friends at St. Peter’s on a hot day in August. The next day was again sunny and warm and the eager hooky rookies were joined by ladies from the ‘Durham Matters’ group, who took control of the rapidly progressing project. I then decided that, to keep the momentum going, I would take the rug out into the community and visit as many churches, community groups, care homes and possibly schools as I could. This, I thought, would make the rug an intergenerational and fully inclusive piece of art.
St. Peter’s Church, Monkwearmouth 674 AD.
The Buzz St. Bede’s
A Day at the Donnison School.
Sunderland Antiquarian & Heritage Centre
Mam and Dad (Margaret and Rongie Potts) relive past mat making at their Roker home.
St. Aidan’s Catholic Academy.
St Aidan’s world’s biggest coffee morning, in aid of the McMillan Cancer charity.
Lydia and Jen at Fulwell WI, Chapman St. A talk given on behalf of A Hug in a Bag, Cancer Charity
Fulwell Mill circa 1812.
Textile artist Kath Price gives the rug a MOT at her Roker cottage.
Sunderland Museum and Winter Garden
Back to St. Bede’s at Town End Farm.
The rug was made in the memory of Sylvia Thompson, a tireless fund raiser for St. Peter’s who had sadly and unexpectedly passed away prior to its completion. Sylvia campaigned and worked so hard with the church, community initiatives and in supporting the Traces of Wearmouth project in order to promote St. Peter’s Church. I believe she would have wanted to have been involved further with the rug and would like to think that it will be used to help unite the church groups with the wider community. If you would like the rug to be brought to your church or group please contact me at to make If you have never made a hooky mat before click on this link and see how easy it can be, with the right teacher. Heather is available for demos and workshops, contact her on
IAN POTTS WOULD LIKE TO THANK… St Peter’s Church St Bede’s Church Donnison School Sunderland Antiquarians St Aidan’s Catholic Academy Tesco, Monkwearmouth WI. Chapman St Community Centre And a special mention to the ladies of the Durham Matters Textile Group A comprehensive list of all helpers and contributors will be finalised when the rug is finished. Music by George Colclough (featuring vocals by Thomas Potts).