Out of the Blue

Karen Burrows, Managing Director and Maria Potter, Senior Administrator & Creative Specialist at Madeira UK, recently visited the Hatton Gallery in the Heart of Newcastle University to see the work of visual artist Susan Aldworth.  The installation entitled ‘Out of the Blue’ is part of the, Illuminating the Self exhibition, a collection of works developed in response

to the research carried out by the CANDO (Controlling Abnormal Network Dynamics using Optogenetics) project, a cross-disciplinary effort to develop a combined gene therapy and bioelectronic implant to prevent seizures in those with focal epilepsy.

The installation consists of 100 antique garments embroidered carefully by hand with the powerful and extremely moving words of people living with epilepsy, suspended from the ceiling of Newcastle’s Hatton Gallery and lit by natural and ultraviolet light. The garments move on pulleys programmed by computers to correspond to the algorithms of electrical activity in an epileptic brain.

The Royal School of Needlework

The Royal School of needlework, set Out of the Blue as a first year BA embroidery project, resulting in 35 students and staff members taking part. Other embroiderers heard about the project and were keen to get involved. Their skill, craft and imagination transformed each of the original garments into a uniquely responsive embodiment of the words they carry.

The Hatton Gallery is located at Kings Road, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RU and open to the public 10am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday during exhibitions with free entry.



The embroidery thread used is Madeira’s Frosted Matt, which is highly effective under the UV lighting used to illuminate the garments.

The matt appearance makes Frosted Matt the perfect thread for eye-catching decorative embroidery and embellishment, providing true colours without reflections. The range of colours are wonderfully intense, extremely resistant to fading from sunlight and can withstand commercial laundering.  A great choice for lettering as the high definition colours and smooth finish give superb clarity for an almost printed look.

© Madeira 2020