‘Passage of Time’ – a tapestry of Newnham life by Jilly Edwards (2019)

Artist Jilly Edwards created two remarkable works in tapestry for the Dorothy Garrod Building: subtle evocations of the rhythms of College life.

Newnham has a strong tradition of the arts, and significant examples of global textile art: these pieces were very much to be a contemporary work, created as an artist’s unique response to our college.

Edwards uses journals to gestate her work, uniting reflections in writing, sketches, and found objects. The journal for this commission is a fascinating account of an artist’s view of the College, and the creative process itself. Her initial designs are in watercolour, then skillfully translated to tapestry.

Reflecting on the College community, she wrote “I am struck by the way this college links education and life during the student stay and staff tenure. There is a strong connection with the past but also very aware of looking forwards. How do I connect the buildings / gardens / education / Cambridge and my work? The colours are my way in, with perhaps shapes within a segment or piece.” Through her sketches, the journal begins to build up blocks of colour that reflect the College: “College colours / movement and flow / rhythm and beat,” she writes, with the first influx of grey, gold, white and blue.

The works can be seen in the Pavilion Room.

For more information, and a podcast with the artist in conversation, see the main college website.