Alena Ruth Donely

28ft installation. 2018.

Cotton and acrylic yarn, latex, digitally printed photograms, repurposed pillowcase board, 35mm slides and overhead projector.

This piece was created for my final year Degree Show. My grandad was a photographer before he died and the hundreds of slides that were boxed up in my nan’s house, told a powerful narrative to me. I felt a strong connection to the people in these photographs even though they are not my memories. I took inspiration from the colours and imagery of these slides, replicating them throughout my tufted path. The final result displays a ‘life path’, showing how I have been influenced by my family history and how it has led to me to the artist that I am today.


60x80cm. 2018.

Sheeps wool, cotton and polyester yarn.

For International Womens' Day 2018, I collaborated with Ruth Barker to create Her Face. I replicated Ruth's child-like drawing of a goddess as closely as possible, and it was exhibited in Castlefield Gallery Manchester. I also helped Ruth to create a paper body cast of herself for the installation. Her Face now resides in the University of Salford's Art Collection.


57cmx126cm, 197cm diagionally, 2018.

Cotton & acrylic yarn, backing fabric, latex, MDF board

I like to use use the tufting gun as a painting tool. It can be moved in fluid motions & works as a freehand method of drawing. I wanted to capture this painterly aspect of the machine by creating a tufted canvas. Self-portraits are a theme that may artists explore, but I was particularly inspired by cubist painters and modern emojis for this piece.


60x170cm. 2017.

Cotton, linen and acrylic yarn, latex, MDF.

During my exploration of the tufting gun's capabilities, I wanted to make a more sculptural piece than I had done previously. The imagery is so abstract that it had been interpreted as many things, my favourite being a 'phallic object' and 'a snail'. My focus for this piece was unusual colour contrasts and an interaction with a domestic item, which is why it drips off a found table. 



40x120cm. 2017. 

Cotton and silk yarn, acrylic yarn, latex, backing fabric. 

This project was tufted on the same piece of backing fabric as Dripping Egg. With both pieces I wanted to explore the capabilities and audience reactions to tufting. Circles are a very satisfying shapes for myself and others, and I wanted to showcase the colour variations that ca be achieved through mixing different yarns. This piece was displayed in New Adelphi's Atrium at the University of Salford, as part of the Middlewood Locks competition to win a Masters Degree. I won a second place prize of £3000 towards a tufting gun of my own, because of my enthusiasm for the medium. 


165x60cm, 180x60cm. 2016. 

Through these fluffy vaginas and ovaries, I am questioning my own role as a female, and exploring the consequences of unpleasant sexual experiences. They generate a narrative between gender and sexuality. Am I a woman simply because I have functional sex organs? Or less of a woman if I choose not to use these organs? The two vaginas present an expectation and a reality. Shades of pink cascade through these pieces, overtly gendering them before the imagery is recognised. My interests lie in the unconventional and bizarre aspects of being a female. The largest piece was exhibited in Prism Contemporary Gallery in Blackburn in 2018.


Touch Me :: Please Don't Touch Me.JPG