Stretching Figure (T101)

Catalogue Record



Alice Kettle


Stretching Figure

Made in




Materials and techniques

Machine embroidery, with multi-layered threads in silk, cotton, rayon and metal. The work is framed with perspex/glass.

AK states: The technique is machine embroidery, with multi-layered threads in silk, cotton, rayon and metal. In this medium work is slow - the area covered is always by the same size of needle, how big the hanging. The process of stitching is very straightforward - no foot on the sewing machine so the needle is akin to a pen. I change the balance between the top and bottom tensions continuously so the variety of threads are mixed. The stitching allows me to break away from a flat surface so thereby exploit a greater variety of texture and depth in how the light falls on the surface. Other areas such as the heads of figures are more deliberately moulded into relief.


length:  76cm
width:  58cm

Object number



  • Stretching Figure, Alice Kettle, 1988. Crafts Council Collection: T101. Photo: Stokes Image Ltd.

Maker's statement

Images of the human figure dominate my work. Each piece is to do with the relationship of the figure to the space in which it finds itself i.e. the edges or the relief of the piece. The work has evolved into series so that one figure is seen in relationship to another. Alongside this development have been various stylistic, colour and technical developments which have changed the drawing or position of a figure. 'Stretching Figure' came at a stage when I felt I had gained a certain technical freedom so that the drawing was more fluid. The colour is therefore understated - the figure emerging and closely connected with the background. The figure has an upright stance which again was a phase of the work when I felt more at ease with what I was doing. The figure also comes out of the bottom of the piece rather than being retained inside it.