Welcome to the blog of Spike Dennis; an artist and curator. Trained in London Spike has exhibited widely, from London to Los Angeles, and has delivered projects from Cardiff to Stockholm, for organisations including the Illustration Research network and Cardiff Design Festival amongst Others.

Spike's Blog

The Crimea Cup ’14

Thursday, April 17th, 2014
Posted in: Artwork, Blog, Work In Progress

The Crimea Cup 2014 |Embroidered Subbuteo Cloth by Spike Dennis
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The Crimea Cup ’14 – Hand Embroidered Subbuteo Cloth

This embroidered Subbuteo cloth is a little aside I’ve been working on for the last couple of weeks. It has been hand embroidered with cotton thread with a design that takes inspiration from football tactics boards.

The markers that have been sewn into the cloth take their colours and layout from the Russian (white, blue & red) and Ukrainian (yellow & blue) flags. The choice of countries represented was inspired by current activities taking place in that part of the world following the annexing of the Crimea by Russia.

The Subbuteo cloth is an old Chad Valley item and so is a little worn. The pictures show the cloth laid out on a table as is the norm with a Subbuteo football cloth although I feel that the cloth probably needs stretching and mounting.

The Crimea Cup '14 - Embroidered Subbuteo Cloth by Spike Dennis

The Crimea Cup '14 - Hand Embroidered Subbuteo ClothThe Crimea Cup '14 - Embroidered Subbuteo ClothThe Crimea Cup '14 - Embroidered Subbuteo Cloth

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Architectural Threads by Takahiro Iwasaki

Thursday, April 17th, 2014
Posted in: Blog

Takahiro Iwasaki miniature thread architectural sculptures

Miniature Architectural thread Sculptures by Takahiro Iwasaki

These miniature architectural thread sculptures by Takahiro Iwasaki are really quite amazing. The picture at the bottom really gives you a sense of scale and shows just how tiny these creations are.

That they’re also made of thread is also staggering since it’s not a rigid materials one would normally consider suitable for making structures like these. In fact the big wheel structure below is made from hair.I am assuming that the tread has had to be treated in order to enable it to stand up like this.

Takahiro Iwasaki miniature thread architectural sculptures

Takahiro Iwasaki miniature thread architectural sculptures

Takahiro Iwasaki miniature thread architectural sculptures

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Knitting Machine Hack & Glitch Knit

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
Posted in: Blog

Glitch Knitting by Nukeme (Artist, Tokyo)

Knitting Machine Hack & Glitch Knit

Glitch Knit is a project by Tokyo based artists Nukeme, So Kanno and Tomofumi Yoshida. For this project the team hacked a Brother knitting machine which is used to transform glitch data into something physical and beautiful.

Glitch is data or digital information that is damaged or corrupted. You might have seen this visualised if you have ever come across a digital image (.jpg or similar) that had been damaged and presented blocks or bands of colour across parts of, or all of the image.

There is a small community of visual artists who are using glitch to generate art and textiles. Whilst much of this makes use of corrupted files artists are also finding ways in which to deliberately generate glitch data from a variety of sources.

Nukeme describes the knitting machine hack project as both the “corruption of data and the corruption of the machine” but sees both acts of corruption as preparing both elements for play. The team behind the hack also damaged the structure of the knit which results in the holes you can see in the knitting that has been outputted by the machine.

Glitch Knitting Machine Hack by Nukeme

I’ve become more aware of means of integrating digital and traditional methods of production since starting my cross stitch project six months ago. Whilst I’m using digital platforms to generate content for my work I’ve not taken that step into digital production but ideas about ways to engage glitch have started to crop up.

This hacked knitting machine is available to use at FabLab Shibuya and details of the hack are published on Github should you wish to attempt to hack your own machine.

Find out more about the Glitch Knit project here – www.glitchknit.jp

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Free Nyan Cat Cross Stitch Pattern

Thursday, April 10th, 2014
Posted in: Blog

Free Nyan Cat Cross Stitch Pattern

Free Nyan Cat Cross Stitch Pattern

I drew this Nyan Cat cross stitch pattern up at the request of my little sister. She asked me if I could make her a pattern for a cat to stitch herself. Given that she’s never had a go at cross stitch before I decided a nice kitsch Nyan Cat would be a better place to start than some photo realistic pattern requiring hundreds of different coloured threads.

Click here to download the pattern for yourself – It should look great worked on some dark blue Aida.

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Flesh Stitch

Monday, March 31st, 2014
Posted in: Blog, Work In Progress


Flesh Stitch

Over the last couple of weeks various members of our collective, the Pack of Wolves, have been coming together to help Layla with various aspects relating to the filming of her new film – The Erl King.

After a weekend out filming on location last week we took the studio to film a few of the final shots. One of which required an animal to be skinned… or at least that’s what should appear to be happening on the film at least.

The work around that was proposed was to use a piece of meat from the supermarket and a piece of animal skin that was sourced online. Being our resident boy who sews it was left to me to stitch the skin onto the skin of the meat so that it might look as if all are one on screen.

I have to say that it was a very satisfying sewing session if all very surreal.

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Electroluminescent Tron Inspired Hooded Sweater

Friday, March 21st, 2014
Posted in: Artwork, Blog

Electroluminescent Tron Hoody Light Up Hoodie sweater hooded glow goldfrapp

Electroluminescent Tron Inspired Hooded Sweater

This is a little something a whipped up recently. I finished a zip up hoodie with some electroluminescent wire enabling it to light up with a Tron-blue light.

The hoodie has three settings which include pulsating (fast/slow) and static modes making it a a perfect piece clothing for ravey nights out clubbing or for a long winter night.

They’ll be available in my online shop soon but for now This little video shows it off really nicely…

keywords: light, hoodie, hoody, glow, electro, Goldfrapp, lights, up, neon<\span>

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Kayla Mattes’ Internet Inspired Textile Art

Thursday, March 20th, 2014
Posted in: Blog

Kayla Matte - Woven AIM Chats Textile Art

Kayla Mattes’ Internet Inspired Textile Art

I stumbled across Kayla Mattes’ textile art on the @BrwnPaperBag blog. She’s an interesting artist who makes use of contemporary sources of inspiration in the production of her work and it’s her use of material sourced via the internet that piqued my interest given my own use of content sourced online in recent work.

These images are woven panels that memorialise AIM chats; I believe that they are Jaquard woven. The design features smiley faces and text speak that seems to have been much more prevalent prior to the rise of predictive text in applications. The design is reminiscent of that aesthetic that we might associate with the world wide web from around the turn of the millennium.

Kayla Matte - Woven AIM Chats

The parallels between pixels and stitches do provide a fascinating playground for visual exploration and Kayla has used digital sources of inspiration for a number of works including ASCII Catz and glitch inspired design for a series of small tapestries in her Pixel Fuzz series.

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The Spring Knitting and Stitching Show, Olympia

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014
Posted in: Blog, Events

Spring Knitting & Stitching Show with Mr X Stitch

The Spring Knitting and Stitching Show, Olympia

This weekend just passed I attended the spring Knitting and Stitching Show at London Olympia. I was volunteering with Mr X Stitch on his Inspiration Station along with students from the Royal School of Needlework and fellow manbroiderer Lord Libidan.

I was at the event all day Saturday helping to teach visitors to the event how to cross stitch. We had lots of interested participants both old and young and plenty of visitors who seemed genuinely surprised to find three men indulging in some embroidery (the three of us did after all make up approximately 50% of all men present at the event!).

There were lots of trade stalls at the events and of crafty exhibits on display. The Inspiration Station itself exhibited work from the Young Embroiders Guild as well by artists such as Floss & Mischief who were also helping out at the event on the Thursday and Friday.

One of the most interesting exhibits for me was the Mermaid Project exhibition stand by the Silk Felt Collective. This was a fibre art installation of work inspired in part by Hans Christian Andersen’s tale of the Little Mermaid.

Lord Libidan - Transformers: Optimus Prime Cross Stitch

It was a pleasure to meet Lord Libidan at the event. I’d seen a couple of pieces of his work online before but it was all the more impressive seeing some of it in the flesh. His work pushes the boundaries of cross stitch and some of the most popular pieces he had brought with him to the event were these transformable cross stitched Transformers figures.

Having seen these I’ll certainly be investing in some plastic canvas at some point in the near future to further explore the possibility of creating three dimensional embroideries. Do check out his website for some more wondrous cross stitched items.

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SEIZE: Overtime Exhibition, Leeds

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014
Posted in: Blog, Exhibitions, News Feed

Sieze: Overtime Exhibition, Leeds

Sieze: Overtime Exhibition – Art and the Office, Leeds

26 – 29 March 2014
Wellington Park House
25 Wellington Street (entrance via Thirsk Row)

OVERTIME is an exciting new art exhibition that explores the difference between office spaces and the artist’s studio. SEIZE Leeds ahs invited 26 artists, including myself, to respond to an office space – to explore the tools and working methods common to such spaces through making art.

Occupying a disused floor of Wellington Park House, in Leeds’ busy financial district, the exhibition will bring together a diverse range of artists showcasing both emerging and more established practitioners from across the country.

Expect a lively mix of artworks reflecting the broad range of contemporary artistic practices including: image-based work, sculpture, digital projections, installation, painting, performances, participatory projects, and of course my own hand embroidered textiles.

OVERTIME Opening Night: 26 March 7.00 – 9.30pm
Opening Hours: 11.00am – 6.00pm (Saturday 11.00am – 5.00pm)

Participating Artists include:

Lilly Ackroyd-Willoughby | Mike Ainsworth | Anachron-Gen | Alice Bradshaw | Lydia Catterall | Spike Dennis | Natalie Drenth | Emma Hardaker | Phil Hopkins | Edward Hurst | Luc Jones | Ellie MacGarry | Bess Martin | Tom McGinn | Emma Moody-Smith | Julia Miorin | Shanie Mor | OFFCUT Collaborative | Leo Plumb | Ned Pooler | Stanley Quaia | Alec Shepley | Will Turner | Philip Welding | Matt Wheeldon

For more infromation visit www.seizeleeds.co.uk

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David Catá’s Hand Embroidery

Monday, March 10th, 2014
Posted in: Blog

David Cata Embroidered Hands

David Catá’s Hand Embroidery

David Catá is a Spanish artist who works with embroidery and uses his own body as a canvas. He has created a series of portraits of people who have had an impact on his life by stitching their faces onto the palm of his hand. These temporary embroideries have been documented in a series of photographs and videos entitled “Under the Skin”.

I picture the people who, somehow, have marked me throughout my life; family, friends, couples, teachers… their lives have been interwoven with mine to create a story. Every moment lived stays in the memory to finally be forgotten. somehow, this fact is painful, since there are only material things and traces that people leave behind.

I really like this idea of stitching into human skin, but like Nina Falk’s work (posted previously here), the video documentary is quite an uncomfortable watch.

There’s long been an association between cloth or thread and ideas relating to memory and this is a unique approach. The idea of creating a temporal embroidery relative to these thmes seems to me to be particularly poignant.

You can view more of the artists work on his website: www.davidcata.com

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