Jonathon Beaver Merseyside, United Kingdom
I am an animator, embroiderer and arts educator based in Liverpool. I use traditional crafts, particularly textile crafts used to mark family occasions and decorate homes, to evoke diverse family units. My current practice stitches and blends language, words and motifs that connect, root and bind us to places and to memories.
Many of my pieces reflect on the unnatural-normalised behaviour, cruel language and repression-and the natural-bodies, sexuality, nature and self-expression. My research and artistic work draws on the past, history and archives connected to places and words. Pieces have loose threads, entangled and hanging down, trailing, evoking linguistic and physical connections with the ground that roots us all. The threads unravel and move, like the stories of humankind. Shared vocabularies, phrases and referents can give us a sense of community, a sense of belonging and means of reaching out.
To date, I have exhibited in solo and group shows across U.K, Europe, North and South America.
In 2018, I was the inaugural artist in residence at the Liverpool University Centre for Archive Studies (LUCAS) where I explored local archives. My work there investigated themes of family and local history based on genealogical research. I have also collaborated with Art in Libraries in St Helens, Heart of Glass and Homotopia. Working within six different libraries in the area, I developed work that responded to words and literacy, more broadly; how words can empower, bring us together, wound us and make us feel all sorts of emotions. Conversations that developed with the public during the residency, confirmed that words do connect us and we should try and continue to learn and develop our understanding of linguistics in culture and society.
This work was installed in libraries and accompanied by a public programme that allowed me to discuss my practice as well as participating in knitting and craft groups as well as family activities.
From October 2017 to March 2019, I had one of my large-scale embroidery pieces in the Tales from the City exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool. This work is now in their permanent collection.
I have worked in special exhibitions at Tate Liverpool, screened my films as part of Liverpool's Lightnight 2017, Skeive Filmer: Oslo Gay and Lesbian Film Festival in Norway and DIV.A (Diversity in Animation) and IRIS, International Animation Festival of Sexual Diversity in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Since September 2015, I have worked in education, working with children, teenagers and young adults providing workshops that incorporate my current practice of embroidery and textiles, as well as foundation art techniques.