LESLEY WOODWARD is an artist specialising in embroidery and mixed media, creating collages using papers and fabrics – dyed, painted, stitched, or any combination of the above – usually layered and replete with elements of pattern. Her work includes framed wall pieces and wall hangings.

Since graduating from the Metropolitan University of Manchester with a BA degree in Embroidery, Lesley has worked extensively with textiles, collaborating with interior designers throughout Europe while also working on her own individual projects. As Lesley herself says, her work has, over time, become less overtly ‘commercial’, but has moved instead towards a more personal and profound – but no less accessible – vision, evident throughout her portfolio.

Although Lesley’s body of work displays a healthy thematic diversity, her pieces are unified by a singular desire: to make a statement. The messages are there in every example of her artwork, elusive, hidden beneath the textured layers, painstakingly pieced together. Her inspiration stems from the art of the ‘ancients’, a culture defined by the rich language of symbolism developed in order to communicate ideas. The creative community of that time felt a connection with the energy of the earth and resolved to express this connection through art – an endeavour mirrored all these generations later in Lesley’s own artistic creations.

Lesley’s work is borne of a strong sense of spirituality, and the abstract form of much of her work eloquently describes both the simplicity and complexity of this notion. The ordered patterns that underpin her designs are subverted by the earthy reality of frayed edges and textured surfaces, or else simply deliberately confused. In many ways Lesley’s creations follow in the footsteps of her ancient forebears; her work represents a continuation, a modernisation of the raw images of this bye-gone era. What’s more, the concept of revisiting and updating an ancient art form is echoed in Lesley’s work itself, largely composed as it is of repeating patterns and visual motifs.

There is a saying “our spiritual rapport turns to primitives because, like ourselves, [the ancients] tried to express in their work only the truth from within, and so renounced all distracting external factors” . Not only is Lesley articulating this ‘truth from within’, but her method is much the same also: she works in isolation, thus making sure to block any outside influences. The results are plain for all to see. As a blossoming movement of pioneering embroiderers gathers momentum, Lesley is at the forefront, creating artwork that is at once aesthetically pleasing and intellectually stimulating – fresh, honest and true.



Exhibition Deia May 2014

Art Fair,
Chelsea Town Hall,
Kings Road, London

Friday 27 February
- Sunday 1 March 2015