Bath's Annual Fringe Visual Arts Festival
FAB is Bath's only visual arts festival, we actively promote and celebrate contemporary art in the Bath area and beyond, showcasing early career artists and curators, and those who find it difficult to break into (or prefer to operate outside of) the gallery based art scene.
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Curated by Margaret Godel
Submission deadline has now passed.

Unpack the idea of AUSTERITY and we find complex interconnections between the political, the social and the spiritual: imposed, chosen, aesthetic. We encourage serious and playful proposals in any medium, including performance, events, experiences and installation.



... at least for the FAB 16 show.

Yes, The Austerity Shop closed yesterday after a brief opening. Arists removed their work - skeletons, games, clothes, muzak - everything went in what seemed like the twinkling of an eye. Here is the evidence... another empty shop in Bath...

Photo credit: Margaret godelBut, for those unable to visit during the festival, the blog lives on to give you a flavour, not just of AUSTERITY, but of all the FAB shows that constitute Fringe Arts Bath!

My hearty thanks to all the artists, volunteers, and helpers involved, and especaily to Arran and Scarlett, without whom AUSTERITY would never have happened!!!!!




Last Monday, Janice Botterill, performance artist, performed ‘PERFORMANCE no. 1 STITCH’ in the  AUSTERITY space as part of a collaboration with Colloquy, curated by Fay Stevens. 

Photo credit: Fay Stevens 

Fay is interested in the dialogue between performers and curators, and asked me and Janice to respond to a series of questions arising from the performance. 


Fay Stevens (FS)  What is the rationale behind your performance (Janice), event (Margaret) ?

Margaret Godel (MG) The Austerity show explores the complexity of the concept. The artists works informed the idea of the Austerity Shop (austerity assured since 2008). Austerity, and the shop in particular, blurs the boundary between art and ‘real’ life. The Austerity Shop creates a narrative. It has elements of installation, assemblage, event, happening, action performance, engagement, and conversation. I do not feel a need to pin it down.

ReMade (my work for the Austerity show) focusses on textiles and the intersection of austerity in the form of reusing, recycling, etc, with environmental concerns, and the concerns of the textile, fashion and clothing industries. It speaks to narratives embedded in used clothing and textiles, both past and future.


FS  Working with cloth/thread and the process of hand stitching/machine stitching were taking place simultaneously between you during the performance.  Why have you chosen to work with sewing as a component of your art practice ?

MG I do not always work with sewing in my arts practice but have a life long love of it, and also textiles. I am beginning to incorporate textiles into my work. I sew or tear fabric by hand to make work not to perform, although the act of sewing, whether by hand or machine, can performative. However, I tend not to label it as such.

Using a sewing machine in ReMade is an essential element of the work. This is what makes it dynamic. ReMade comes alive when I, or someone else, is sewing; otherwise it is a assemblage of fabrics and the means to remake them, waiting to be transformed.


FS I observed your repetitive gestures shaped by the materials you were working with. Do you see your making as a gestural act ?

MG Yes, I am aware of the gestural in the act of handling the fabric, and in feeding it under the foot of the machine. The gestures affect the way the material behaves, and the fabric responds, also, to the gesture. 


FS Murakami's quote is the philosophy behind my curatorial design of Colloquy. I am interested in how it might resonate with your work and the performance.  “I want you always to remember me. Will you remember that I existed and that I stood next to you here like this ?” Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood

MG There is a sense of burden in this request to remember. Our memories fade or are changed over time. Does Murakami mean us to consider this particular memory like a photograph, a snapshot, a mis en scene? Is he wanting us not to forget? Or is he suggesting that we might be changed by the experience and subsequent remembering. Something altogether more dynamic.

I find intersection of history and memory mysterious and exciting. The idea of clothing as a repository of memory has intrigued me for a while now. The clothing and fabric of ReMade, indeed, all our fabrics and fabrications, have passed through other hands. Whose? We know little about the garments we wear unless we have made them ourselves. Strictly speaking fabric and clothes are not sentient and so cannot tell us about their origins and history. Yet we have clues in the labels: made in Bangladesh, perhaps in a sweat shop; or 100% wool, so sheep and shearers somewhere in the world are implicated.

I will certainly remember this collaboration with Janice sewing by hand, whilst I sewed at the machine. The activity generated a sense of companionable togetherness. Each of us remaking and re forming fabrics into something else. Together we create this particular memory although each of us will experience its continuance, mutation and decay differently.

Personally, I do not feel a need to be remembered even though I might leave my mark through the act of sewing. We make or fabricate things from materials that already have a history, albeit a sketchy one. Additional layers of narrative, and gesture, are laid down as we sew our textiles, and then we let the work go, to gather yet more layers of narrative, memory and history. We may never see the piece again, but we are part of its ongoing history.



morsbags in the making at the Austerity Shop. Photo credit: Margaret Godel

Excess/ Regress by Laura Aish. Photo credit: Cally Trench


Cut to the Bone by Phil Toy. Photo credit: Cally Trench

ReMade in The Austerity Shop. Photo credit: Cally Trench

Annie Wright performing Frugality in the Austerity Shop. Photo credit: Margaret Godel

The Austerity Shop. Photo credit: Cally Trench

Jam Today by Declan Kelly. Shop. Photo credit: Cally Trench


Make Morsbags today!

Come and join us at the Austerity Shop to make morsbags to take away or give away FREE to help shoppers NOT use plastic and so help prevent plastic poisoning our oceans. 




Mens Suits / Shirts / Other

Made in Bangladesh / China / Elsewhere

For M&S / Dolce et Gabbana / Other

Given to Women’s Refuge, Bath

Bought from Women’s Refuge Bath for ReMade, at FAB’s Austerity Show

Waiting to be ReMade

ReMade / Upcycled / Mended / Passed on / Recycled

In Bath / Banbury / Elsewhere

Photo credit: Cally Trench

Margaret Godel’s arts practise is eclectic, working in any medium that suggests itself, and drawing on various interests and passions. In the recent past this has included sound, interactive and experiential installations. Her most recent work involves her passion for textiles. She lives and works in North Oxfordshire.