Beverley Ayling-Smith

Alumni Student Researcher, UCA Farnham

Research Student, School of Crafts and Design

Research Project Title
The space between mourning and melancholia: the use of cloth in contemporary art practice to materialise the work of mourning.

Research Project Summary
Beverly’s research examines the emotional states of mourning and melancholia, and investigates how cloth can be used as a metaphor for loss.

Her project takes as its starting point the idea that individuals who experience the death of someone close may carry with them an element of unresolved mourning. This is neither a prolonged or complicated form of mourning, nor is it a resolved state. Rather, it is an in-between space where the emotions may be brought to the surface again by a particular event, situation or encounter with, for example, an artwork, and allow a progression in their work of mourning. 

Beverly’s studio practice investigates how cloth can be used as a metaphor for loss to make a connection with the unresolved mourning of the viewer. Using materials such as linen and bedsheets and processes including staining and mending to encourage a focus on the emotional dimension in the words grief loss and absence, her work highlights that even when the immediate feelings of grief and mourning are passed, we are changed forever; the emotions embedded in the fabric of our lives emerge at different times to stain our emotional states.

Personal Profile
Beverly graduated with a first class honours degree in Embroidered Textiles (Middlesex University) and completed an MA in Contemporary Craft (Textiles) with distinction at UCA Farnham.

She has taught at degree level for Opus School of Textile Arts and is a Member of the Society of Designer Craftsmen. Beverly shows work nationally and internationally and had a solo show in Kyoto, Japan in 2013. 

She has work in the Whitworth Art Gallery Collection (UK) and in the Howard and Roberta Ahmanson Collection (USA). Beverly currently works as a visiting tutor for the MA Textiles course at Farnham and as Research Assistant to Prof. Lelsey Millar.

Professor Lesley Millar
Dr Victoria Kelley

Further information