Artist Ailish draws on memories for her first solo exhibition

Ailish Henderson with part of her Customs House exhibition.
Ailish Henderson with part of her Customs House exhibition.
Have your say

A young artist is putting her memories on display for her first-ever solo exhibition.

Ailish Henderson’s work has gone on show at the Customs House in Mill Dam, South Shields.

Ailish Henderson with part of her Customs House exhibition.

Ailish Henderson with part of her Customs House exhibition.

Her artwork, on display in the venue’s Fusion Gallery, is named Torn Umbrella and is based on a self-penned poem of the same name.

She has spent a year completing the exhibition, which will be on show until May 8.

She has recycled and re-worked lingerie, lace and vintage cloths and ribbons to create new clothes and embroidered self-portrait canvases.

She said: “My work is based on personal memories and stories – holidays or things that have happened to me.

“I write poems or prose based on the stories, and then create drawings from the written word.

“I’ll then use the drawings to create new clothes or stitched drawings, both of which feature in this exhibition.

“Drawings and embroidery are often seen as two separate entities, but I would like to bridge that gap and convey to an audience how both drawing and stitch can be merged within one piece.”

Her work has formed part of two previous group exhibitions at the Customs House, and Ailish regularly teaches at knitting and stitching shows in Harrogate and London.

Ailish, 25, from Kilbblesworth, completed A-levels in art and textiles at Gateshead College before studying a City and Guilds in embroidery at Fowlers Yard, Durham.

She is currently working on a BA in Textiles with the Open University.

Esen Kaya, gallery curator, at The Customs House, said: “We’re delighted to host Ailish’s first solo exhibition at the Customs House.

“She uses an interesting array of processes within her work and not just traditional textile techniques.

“We’ve helped her through many stages of development, including helping her to write a funding application to enable her to make the new work and experiment with new ways of presenting her work to the public.

“We’ve no doubts that she has a promising career ahead of her.”

Entry to the Customs House gallery is free.

It is open from 10am to 8.30pm on performance days and 10am to 6pm on non-performance days, Sundays and Bank Holidays.

To find out more, go to or call the box office on 0191 454 1234.

Details of upcoming exhibitions and events within the venue’s galleries are also available on the website.