Bea Uprichard

Bea Uprichard - BA (Hons) Textiles In Practice

Big Country

I am a weaver, designer and maker based in Manchester, and my work is playful, timeless, diverse in techniques and materials, and rooted in my belief in conscious consumption and passion for heritage craft. Craft, folk and vernacular art and local history are key inspirations for me, and my projects always begin with a story, and progress through playing with colours and shapes through collage and sketching, with the aim of making honest, useful and joyful work. I believe that investing our time and money in good design is a key weapon against overconsumption and mass production. My final outcomes are as broad as my inspirations; I am an adept weaver, dressmaker, patternmaker, dyer, screen printer and graphic designer. I feel that art is not simply a profession, nor academic research, but essentially bound up in life, so I consider my volunteer work with Macclesfield silk mill, and with my local community garden, to be vital in my practice.

My project ‘Big Country’ is in essence an advocacy for a reconnection with and respect for our land, and the production of our belongings. It is about vastness and isolation, our complete reliance on and subjection to the land and sky - this idea cowboy films exemplify perfectly. The western frontier being majoritively self-sufficient until the 20th century due to its isolation (flax was grown, spun, woven into linen, and made into clothes all within one household), heritage craft, local and climate beneficial goods production, and connection with the land was sustained beyond the industrialisation of the rest of the US.

My work is not just about cowboy movies, it is about the essential connection of a landscape to creativity, and to local production. It is about a sense of place, this in itself advocating for tradition, creativity, connection, and community. This is also not the work of a historian, economist or activist, but that of an artist, and should be understood as a vision of change rather than a complete academic and scientific theory. I aim to inspire through imagination and creativity.