YORK textile artist Cathy Needham will be taking part in Friday’s episode of the BBC One art show Home Is Where The Art Is.
“I’m one of three artists competing to win a commission to make for the home of an art buyer, and you can see how I got on at 3.45pm,” she says. “I’m thrilled to be part of this show promoting art and specifically promoting textile art to a wider audience.”
The format of the BBC show involves three artists, who work in “very different” media, meeting at the buyer’s home and being given a short brief of what is required before looking around the premises to trigger ideas and inspiration for a piece.
They do not meet the buyer at this stage. Two weeks later, the artists pitch their ideas to the buyer and presenter Nick Knowles at the studio. The buyer then chooses two of the artists to make their ideas into pieces. Four weeks later, the two artists return to the studio to reveal their pieces to the buyer, who then picks which one to buy.
Filming also takes place in all three of the artists’ studios, showing examples of their work and processes used, while they discuss their inspirations and passions.
Given that format, Cathy cannot reveal too much for now, but did say: “I applied for the first series, when I was sending stuff here, there and everywhere, as you do as an artist. They did contact me, but then it all went quiet, and I forgot about it! That was probably in 2018.
“Then last year, in late-August, I got a call out of the blue, asking: ‘Do you want to do it this time?’, for the second series. I had to do a little interview on Skype, being asked questions about my work, my passions in life, and if I was going to be OK with being on camera. Luckily, they really liked me!”
Filming took place pre-Coronavirus days last September and October when Cathy competed against a metalwork sculptor and a painter. “The programme makers wanted to wrack up the tension as the filming for our episode progressed, but we all got on very well, all wanting each other to do the best we could, so it was all very amiable,” she says.
“But having said that, it did get very tense at times, when each making our pitch for what piece we would make, so there was tension within me to come up with the best pitch and the best work.”
On the BBC series, Cathy will be hoping to catch the commissioner’s eye with her textile skills in 2D framed and unframed wall hangings and 3D sculptural pieces. “Like a lot of artists, most of my work is inspired by nature and the natural form,” she says. “Colour is my thing: I love colour and texture, and these days my style tends to be abstract, stylised and bold.”
Looking ahead, amid the uncertainty that persists under the dark clouds of the Covid-19 pandemic, Cathy is still working towards a series of upcoming exhibitions. “I’m due to do a joint exhibition with ceramicist Kate Buckley at the Angel On The Green, in Bishopthorpe Road, in September, but that may be put back,” she says.
“Ten of us in the York Textile Group have a show coming up in the York Cemetery Chapel in November, and Diverse Threads, who do shows around Yorkshire, have an exhibition lined up for Nunnington Hall in November and December.”
Watch this space for updates on those shows…and watch Cathy on BBC One on Friday.
Did you know?
CATHY Needham had a career in education and interpretation at the Science Museum, followed by teaching and performing Egyptian dance.
A year living in Peru re-ignited her love of textiles, prompting her to undertake a City & Guilds creative textile course, completed in 2012.
Since then, Cathy has been active in the York art scene, exhibiting widely around Yorkshire; making commissions; taking part in York Open Studios in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2019 and joining the York Textile Group. Last year, she became a member of the York Art Workers Association, participating in YAWA’s latest exhibition at Pyramid Gallery, Stonegate, York.
Her textile work uses techniques of wet felting, tapestry weaving and fabric applique, often combined with rich hand embellishment. Creating 2-D framed and unframed wall hangings and 3-D sculptural pieces, Cathy’s style is vibrant and bold, employing plenty of texture and detail on closer inspection.