More than 20,000 used labels collected in Ilkeston will be part of a stunning collection by local contemporary artist Joy Pitts when a new exhibition of her artwork opens at Erewash Museum on Friday 11 September.

Her fascinating work – which secured her a place in the prestigious Royal Academy of Art’s Summer Exhibition last year – features striking portraits and images made up of clothing labels.

Joy’s ‘Dairy Cow’ work, which is made up of 5,000 used garment labels, will be on display in the window at Ilkeston’s Sue Ryder shop on Bath Street to accompany the exhibition.

A centrepiece of the display will be a 1.3 metre Homing Pigeon image created from the names taken from Ilkeston Cenotaph of the 466 men from the Ilkeston area who gave their lives in World War One. The image is a tribute to the men and inspired by the thousands of homer pigeons that lost their lives during the war when they were used to transfer important and life-saving messages.

Councillor Mike Wallis, Erewash Borough Council’s Lead Member for Culture and Leisure, says:

“This is a wonderful opportunity to see the unique and captivating work of a local contemporary artist whose name is now nationally recognised. What makes this exhibition even more special is that the labels used to make up the works have all been gathered from clothing in Ilkeston – meaning local residents can view artworks that may well have been created from garments they once walked around in!”

Evidence of Joy’s growing reputation is a recent commission for fashion designer Paul Smith, while her latest project is a portrait of the Queen to celebrate her 63 year reign.

The exhibition runs from 11 September to Friday 30 October at Erewash Museum’s Lally Gallery.

Erewash Museum is situated in Ilkeston town centre, a short walk from the Market Place. Opening hours are Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10am-4pm, and Monday to Saturday during school holidays. Admission is free.

For all the latest news from Erewash Museum, including events and activities, residents can check out the Facebook page or the website

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