Level V are a group of textile artists who came together while studying City and Guilds Creative Embroidery under the guidance of tutor Virginia Hole. As we neared the end of our course friendships had been formed and we knew we wanted to continue exploring our individual styles within a creative and collaborative forum. The course had lasted four years, and so, just as four is followed by five, Level V evolved. We work predominantly with fabric, thread and fibre while embracing mixed media to produce a blend of traditional and innovative work. Working together we aim to create and exhibit around themes that expand and showcase the skills of the group and highlight the rich heritage of South East Wales.

Level V are Gaynor Rees, Anne Law, Virginia Hole, Judith Eddington, Abby Carpenter and |Louise Rockett. This is our first exhibition. It is dedicated to our great grandmothers and their mothers, women who also did their bit during the Great War.

In the centenary of World War One there have been many commemorations of the battles fought and the the men who died. However, what is often overlooked is how this devastating war touched and altered every day lives at home. This is the aspect of WW1 that we wanted to explore.

Large numbers of men from all areas of Newport joined up and left the town. Hundreds never returned. The South Wales Argus carried notices and photographs of local men killed or missing in action. Husbands, sons, brothers and fathers.

Women were employed to replace the men who had gone. Necessity allowed them to take on traditional male roles. They became porters and tram conductors, munitions workers who formed football teams, and farm workers who wore trousers.

Raw materials were funneled through factories such as Lysaghts, and even Lovells, the sweet manufacturer, to produce the staples of war. Rationing was introduced. On the streets were men in uniform, Belgian refugees and women and children who wore black armbands with no funeral to attend.

Newport had become immersed in war.

We have tried to evoke some of this social and emotional upheaval through our work. The poppy motif has been deliberately avoided as it is a symbol of remembrance. We wanted to invite the viewer to picture the day to day hardship endured through a war which must have at the time seemed unending.

Level V would like to thank Shaun McGuire. His website Newport War Dead has been an invaluable resource. Also the Newportpast website for sharing their maps and images.

The exhibition will be held at Newport Museum and Art Gallery, John Frost Square, Newport NP20 1PA, from  10 September - 29 October 2016. Opening times are Open Tuesday – Friday 9.30am – 5.00pm and Saturday 9.30am – 4.00pm. More details from 01633 656656 or museum@newport.gov.uk