whiteValerie Potter, The face of reason, black embroidery on calico, 30x42cm copy.jpg

Valerie Potter

valerie potter

The work of Valerie Potter (b.1954) came about due to Roger Cardinal’s seminal Outsider Art book. Potter found his book in a dump bin near where she lives, and upon reading it, decided to send him a series of drawings. Cardinal put on Potter’s first solo exhibition at the University of Kent, where he was working at the time. Her work was then introduced to Monika Kinley who turned it down at first, but once Cardinal had endorsed it, she changed her tune.

Full Biography

The work of Valerie Potter (b.1954) came about due to Roger Cardinal’s seminal Outsider Art book. Potter found his book in a dump bin near where she lives, and upon reading it, decided to send him a series of drawings. Cardinal put on Potter’s first solo exhibition at the University of Kent, where he was working at the time. Her work was then introduced to Monika Kinley who turned it down at first, but once Cardinal had endorsed it, she changed her tune.

There are now around forty of the embroideries in existence, made over a period of 34 years. They have become more complicated over the years, with writing only appearing on them for the past 29 years. All are hand-stitched, with a pencil drawing at the beginning taking four-five hours to draw onto the fabric. The drawing is not planned, and Potter just draws whatever pops into her head, as well as her thoughts and emotions from that day. She likes having a blank canvas and being able to fill it. It takes around one month for a piece to be finished, working for two hours per day.

The line embroidery works are intermingled with cross-stitch works and graph paper drawings, and when Potter gets bored she switches between these. The rest of the time she loves to sit and knit with her partner. The last one of her embroideries is always her favourite until she is part way through her next one, then her favourite always changes to that one. The majority of the time Potter uses black thread, but occasionally she throws in a red or green thread, “just to liven things up.”

Potter’s work is now in the Musgrave Kinley Outsider Art Collection in Manchester, the Haines Collection in London, the Moscow Museum of Outsider Art, as well as several other collections. Monika Kinley used to organise for her work to be in group exhibitions in France, Spain and London amongst others.

Exhibition Highlights

2019 Outsider Art Fair New York, Metropolitan Pavilion