Anita Bruce - Fine Art Textiles

Exhibitions, Projects and Media


Additional pages

Find me on...

"Pen-scribbled o’er with ink"

The Dovecot, John Clare Cottage

screen print, stitch, fabric

Clare wrote many poems about birds and, as a naturalist, compiled at least four bird lists, which included many county records. A pioneer in the authentic interpretation of birdsong, Clare famously attempted to record the song of the nightingale in his poem The Progress of Rhyme. He thought that poetry existed independently of language, as natural as birdsong.

Five eggs, pen-scribbled o’er with ink their shells

Resembling writing scrawls which fancy reads

As nature’s poesy and pastoral spells

John Clare, The Yellowhammers Nest

Clare often wrote his initial ideas on scraps of paper such as envelopes and receipts, even tree bark.  He wrote in pencil, erasing and rewriting, or made his own ink that subsequently rotted the paper. Later in his asylum years, he lost the ability to converse but was still able to write poetry, sometimes resorting to his own shorthand code. His legacy is an archive of works rich in character, the text multi-layered and often obscured, but resonant of his own hand.

Anita is interested in this authenticity of Clare’s written voice and language and it’s manifestation in paper, ink and text. ‘Pen-scribbled o-er with ink’  combines these elements of Clare’s work, with the received descriptions of birdsong in contemporary field guides, a language familiar only to ornithologists. Her asemic writing connects to Clare’s belief in nature’s poetry without language and to her own response to this familiar environment. The flock of birds reflect Clare’s jottings, camouflaging Clare’s words in the pattern of their plumage.

Exhibiting my plankton and ghost moth cocoons in the Wevershuis, Leiden with Quatrain - from August 2nd to September 7th. Will be in Leiden demonstrating my work on August 16th

Knitting hummingbirds in ‘A Space to Connect and Grow’ at RHS Hampton Court Flower Show. Designed by Jeni Cairns in collaboration with Sophie Antonelli of the Green Backyard for Metal Peterborough, it won a gold medal and Best Summer Garden.

It was an absolute delight to perform in this gorgeous space, using recycled and upcycled materials. A triumph!

'Pen scribbled o'er with ink'

Fabric, Stitch, Print

Installed in the Dovecot at Clare Cottage for UnEarthed:Clare

5 artists in residence at Clare Cottage, Helpston commemorating the 150th anniversary of John Clare’s death

'on site' with view5 at Swaddywell Pit and Torpel Manor Field in July

Hymn to the Dawn, with sound

installed at the Mall Galleries for Prism Coded:Decoded

coded:decoded    unravelling the message

prism at the mall galleries 2014

27th 31st May 2014
Mall Galleries, The Mall, London SW1 

The international textile group PRISM returns to the Mall Galleries with the first of a two part show.

For 2014 PRISM presents a collection of thought-provoking and expressive artworks that respond to the exhibition title Coded : Decoded. With a combination of wall-based pieces, 3 dimensional work, and collaboration, individual interpretations promise both conundrum and disclosure.

The second part of the Show, with entirely different work, will take place in the autumn in three separate venues as part of the Knitting and Stitching Shows. 

UnEarthed : John Clare open at Clare Cottage, May 16 - September 29

Unearthed on Idea1 at

Work in Progress for UnEarthed: John Clare and Prism Coded:Decoded

Work references the handwriting of John Clare, asemic writing, birdsong and sonograms

UnEarthed Blog at

I’m one of five artists working in partnership with the John Clare Trust to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Clare’s death. The project involves an artists’ residency based at Clare Cottage researching the life, work and legacy of John Clare, with a series of installations and interventions in the Cottage culminating in a contemporary art exhibition. The project is supported by the Arts Council, Vivacity, Metal and the John Clare Trust and starts today, with the first exhibition opening on May 16. Follow our progress on

Siphonophora at Whalefest, ONCA Gallery, Brighton

March 1 - 16

Installation Photos

Trophy Birds - Fresh Take at Burghley House

September 9th - November 3rd 2013

Installation Photos

The Golden Canary - Fresh Take at Burghley House

Trophy Birds

Loading posts...