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alcove cushions

Katie Schwab


alcove cushions | Katie Schwab

alcove cushions is a series of works that Katie Schwab developed for her exhibition small wares at Vleeshal. In shaping exhibitions, Katie Schwab pays close attention to the materials, histories and forms already present in the space, and carefully considers the way the works are encountered in relation to the body. The alcoves, with their heavy oak doors, were used by the traders as cupboards to keep knives or money safely shut away. alcove cushions was an invitation for visitors to view small wares from the unusual vantage point of sitting inside the wall. In this work, the choice of material acknowledges the wool trade that has connected the Netherlands and the UK since the 14th century. The UK exported wool to the Low Lands, where it was dyed and woven into tapestries.

Schwab's alcove cushions are made from broadcloth, a wide woollen fabric created by Hainsworth in Yorkshire, who handle the entire production from fleece to fabric. The sides of alcove cushions are cut from golden-ochre broadcloth. The cushion tops were sewn from off-cuts knows as 'fents', commonly considered a waste product by the textile industry. Schwab sees their value and restores their status. She has pieced the fents together diagonally, creating abstract patterns in sage, blue, orange and red.

Commissioned for


Vleeshal is an internationally oriented center for contemporary art, rooted in Zeeland. In Zeeland Focus, Vleeshal highlights regional artists, takes part in and celebrates local contemporary art and culture.

From time to time Vleeshal invites guest curators to organize exhibitions in the Vleeshal or to develop other projects. By doing so, we aim to welcome new perspectives and contribute to talent development.