Harriet Riddell

InStitchYou - Adventures with a Sewing Machine

Harriet Riddell talks about her unique artistic practice using a sewing machine and a bicycle. She recalls the journeys it has taken her on and the people she has met along the way. The artist also explains how she has responded to making art during the pandemic.

The wonderful content you see here is uncensored; the views and opinions expressed by the speakers at the Festival of Ideas Reimagined are their own and do not reflect the views, opinions, official policy or position of the University of Hertfordshire.

About Harriet Riddell

Harriet Riddell grew up in Oxfordshire UK. She graduated from The University of Hertfordshire in 2012. After graduating, Harriet developed ‘InStitchYou’ as a business and has created and exhibited her artwork around the world. Harriet now lives in Hampshire and has a studio in Eastleigh.

‘InStitchYou’ involves Harriet Riddell travelling around the world with her sewing machine pitching up in challenging locations, from the slums of Nairobi to the tea fields of the Himalayas. Through free motion embroidery she captures her surrounding environment and the people she meets. Adventure, interaction and communication are key elements to each piece of Harriet’s work. Behind every ‘stitch’ lies a narrative of the people, place and culture.

Harriet encourages her street audience to pedal a bicycle which generates electricity to power the sewing machine that she uses to create her tapestries. This increases the interaction between her, her subject and the art itself.

During lockdown, Harriet has been using the power of technology to stitch portraits of families around the world with her sewing machine through live Zoom video calls.

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