Georgie Meadows, Textiles Artist

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The work of Georgie Meadows, a textiles artist, is a good example of the power of design. I saw her work displayed at National Centre for Craft and Design and it had a powerful impact on me, both in terms of appreciating the quality of her work, as well as the message it portrays. 

Georgie's work explores the experiences of ageing and dementia and stems from her background in occupational therapy with her art work being inspired by the people she's cared for. Georgie machine embroiders onto calico and wadding creating embroideries with unfinished edges displayed in picture frames, often with the messy backs on show to reflect the inner confusion of the individual. Beside each piece of work are short sound bites that outline each individual’s daily challenges, for example, one particularly moving piece of work shows a lady sat at a table with food in front of her with the sound bite ‘Mrs Shaw is hungry but the part of her brain that should tell her how to eat this meal is not working’.

The pieces of work and sound bites together are a really powerful message about the needs of the elderly individuals. The work really makes the viewer reflect on the needs of those in the art work and, although they appear in an art exhibition, they wouldn’t be out of place as products designed as part of design brief to raise the awareness of, for example, dementia or for organisations like Age Concern.

In fact, in her artist statement she comments that she uses her work as teaching aids when working with occupational therapy students entering the profession to encourage empathy with the needs of individuals in their care. 

Georgie’s work has both qualities that can be appreciated from a design and technical perspective, but what makes her work have a real impact comes from the very personal stories it tells. This reflects the power of design to draw the viewer in, getting them to reflect on every day issues they might not have considered before. 

For me Georgie’s exhibition was one of the most powerful I have seen recently. It made me think deeply about the message Georgie was trying to convey, as well as about the power of design generally. 

Find out more about the work of Georgie Meadows 

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