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Leigh Bowser
Leigh Bowser
Leigh Bowser
Leigh Bowser
Yorkshire & the Humber, United Kingdom

Leigh Bowser

Age Group

A Level
Infants
Primary
Secondary

Categories

Animation
Collage/Paper
Drawing
Mixed Media
Mosaics
Printmaking
Puppetry
Textiles

Bio

Leigh (pronounced ‘Lee’, she/her) is a Leeds based textile artist and educator. Her use of textiles is rooted within the emotional connections we have with cloth, utilising this connection as a vehicle for storytelling and activism. Leigh specialises in free hand machine embroidery techniques within her work. Free hand, or free motion, machine embroidery is the method of using a sewing machine as a drawing tool. Each detailed illustration is made up of many layers of stitch to achieve a realistic quality, taking notice of light, shadow and fur direction. The sewing machine is controlled by hand, with each stitch placed with specificity. In 2012, she started ‘The Blood Bag Project’, a craftivist project that aims to raise awareness of the rare blood condition Diamond Blackfan Anaemia, which her young niece, Chloe, was born with. The condition that meant that her bone marrow could not produce new red blood cells, leaving her reliant on monthly blood transfusions for survival. The project asks participants to create textile blood bags – the process of creating allows them to reflect on the purpose and importance of blood donation. So far, over 1,000 participants have create blood bags all over the world, including Russia, Australia, USA, Spain, Switzerland and the UK. The project has proved particularly successful amongst year 6 groups learning about the human body or circulatory system. Leigh is currently working on the the development of a children’s picture book about the experience of a stem cell transplant from Chloe’s perspective. Through cute characters and embroidered illustrations, she aim’s to make the potentially scary topic easier to digest, a theme that runs throughout much of her person textile work. As well as embroidery, Leigh has experience working with many forms of textiles including weave, printing and dying. Her work with Pyramid has allowed her to develop skills in mosaic making, puppetry and plushies, claymation and collage.

Email Address

leighbowser@hotmail.com

Experience in Schools

As well as embroidery and craftivism, Leigh has spent the last 10 years of her career tutoring and mentoring university students, learning disabled artists and primary school children. Healthy Holidays - 2020 to Present - Stitch-Up, Leeds Planning and delivering creative, stitch based workshops for children aged 8-16. Part of the ‘Healthy Holidays’ initiative, which provides meals for children during school holidays. Workshops include digital illustration, craftivism and mini stitching. Weaving Together a Story of Place - 2021-2022 - Kirklees Working alongside Primary School Teachers to integrate textile practices into non-art based lesson plans for ages 4-11. This included learning about the size and scale of the solar system through pom-poms, Amazonian animals captured in Batik, creating civil rights craftivism and building understanding of descriptive words and character building through sensory bags. Pyramid - 2021 to Present - Leeds Supporting learning disabled and autistic artists with their creative practice. Working both 1:1 and with groups to help realise artistic ideas. Proud to be involved with Irregular Art Schools and Beyond.

Areas I Cover

Yorkshire & the Humber

Max Group Size

30 students

Qualifications

  • 1st Class BA (hons) Textile Crafts
  • Distinction MA Illustration
  • Exhibitions

  • Pint of Science: Creative Reactions - 2023 - The Carousel, Nottingham
  • ‘Have a Heart’ juxtaposes the soft texture and comforting nature of cloth found within the artists practice, with the realistic recreation of anatomy from the researcher, to generate a curious tension between the subject, it’s materials and the message. ‘Cute’ anthropomorphic design aims to break down the potentially unnerving conversation surrounding blood, bone and organ donation, whilst the visceral realism of the materials creates a jarring clash. The miniature size requires viewers to get up close and personal with the work, generating a moment of intimacy and careful attention to what is being presented.
  • Periods: A Brief Jaunt Up North - 2022 - Thackray Museum of Medicine, Leeds
  • Designing and delivering stitched based workshops around the theme of ‘What I wish I Knew’ in response to menstruation. Working with an LGBTQIA* youth group, secondary school students, an over 55’s group and an activist girl’s group. Stitched outcomes were then brought together into one large banner, displayed during the exhibition (Jan 8th – 10th April 2021).​​​​​​​
  • Blue Plaques of Intangible Experiences - 2019 - Bradford
  • Working with groups of people to support them to produce their own creative stitch-based work. Three groups of people from two different community centres in inner city Bradford will took part in the workshops to develop their own ‘blue plaques’ in response to positive and often intangible aspects of neighbourliness experienced in their local community. Working with University of Huddersfield, Dr Claire Barber and curator June Hill.
  • Jo Malone London - 2017 - Worldwide
  • Freehand machine embroidery of Jo Malone London products for their 2017 New Year, Valentines Day and Lunar New Year (Year of the Rooster) campaign. Used globally across Jo Malone stores and published advertising. Seen in window displays for Jo Malone London stores such as New York, London, Paris, Seoul, Singapore, St. Petersburg, Hong Kong, Okinawa and many more.
  • Social Media Profiles