Kiss the Book




This is the result of my first collaboration with Joe Donohoe; we recorded my monologue/prose poem, and Joe then added atmospheric sounds of East London at night, together with an out-of-tune chord harp. The embroidery in the video illustrates one of the lines from the monologue.







The embroidery is currently on show at the Pharmacy of Stories as part of the Here Is My Heart exhibition. 

The title Kiss the Book is a reference to a line spoken by Stefano the drunken butler in Shakespeare's The Tempest. The "book" of the line is in fact a bottle of alcohol.

The text of Kiss the Book imagines a romance between two self-styled tortured artists:


Kiss the Book

In later days the latter day lady lit her Marlboro Light and skipped lightly to the front of a 10,000 strong queue waiting on cheap thrills not one of us could afford (yes, we sold our very souls for the promise of a Parker pen and possible publication).

The background noise of barely mentioned sexual tension’s got me jumpy, buzzing in my ears like a pneumatic drill setting my teeth on edge.

So bring your lips to the battle and I’ll bring a bottle (the truth is I haven’t been kissed in a while), and we’ll wear our best black boot polish berets atop dreaming (a)spire heads. Blacker-toothed and blue-lipped, let’s riddle ourselves with writer’s cliches like other teens catch sexual diseases.

But don’t sweat it babe, bard, it’s quite legit, I carry a Poetic License for use in the event of romantic circumstances like these. If you amuse me, I’ll have you with my morning museli. You’ll briefly be my brightest burning muse. And valorously, vaingloriously, we’ll fur our teeth over with velour, spooning with a desperate fervour, for revolution, for a resolution to our private privileged hells.

Our teeth are furred over like cheap velour by cheaper wine whilst we worry the kerb, licking biro-bled blue-black lips, cursing the orange sky, cultivating Scrooge sentiments, stoppering our hearts before a drop is spilt. Dry ice breath puncturing the air, punctuating our sentences with commas, a brief breather between my romantic comas.

You and I might be the last remaining sufferers of Celia Johnson Syndrome, forsaking feelings for public decency, drinking to loosen stiff upper lips, awakening to find starched white surgical ruffs buttoned back up beyond the collar. Still, we are still so young and lost, on booze, lust, wanderlust. Wilted English roses grown pallid and wan, wandering moors, moaning “Willoughby, Willoughby” at thin air for hours.

More on the E17 Art Trail

My work has been featured on the E17 Art Trail blog:

DAY THREE, "Don't be an artschool arsehole"



"I have always associated cross stitch with pricked fingers and a feeling of frustration from knotted thread that won't go through the eye of the needle. However, Kate Rolison's exhibit Literary Stitchery made me forget these memories and my prejudiced view that an embroidery exhibition would be annoyingly twee. Kate, who hails from the 'Stow and is a student at University College Falmouth, has stitched wryly amusing phrases that play with the idea of the tortured artist/writer and the pretentious art school student. "Don't be an artschool arsehole" is beautifully stitched and illustrated. Here are a few pictures, but you can see more and follow the progress of her project here. Literary Stitchery is on show in the window of 61 Somers Road so do peer in."


Some more feedback on my exhibition from the wonderful people of Walthamstow:

"Loved the mix of contemporary ideas with vintage lace/crochet and embroidery. I dabble a bit in embroidery but you've inspired me to add some "wordage" next time. Cheers!"

"Loved the humour - especially "He's just at artschool."

"Loved these a lot - great to see textile art on the trail. Well done."

"Loved it - beautifully executed, but also subversive and laugh-out-loud funny!"

"Kate - your work is amazing - both technically and creatively."

"I love the use of old table cloths, doilies, laces etc and I love the embroidery work. Not so sure about the text. Not sure if the words add anything good to the piece. Do keep using text but see if it is necessary."

"Charming combination of modern sentiment and old-world material."

"I really enjoyed your work, it's clever and skilful. I like the use of old place mats and needlework. Thank you for showing it. Please let me know of future projects."

"Love your wit, skill and craft! Congratulations, do add me to your mailing list - good luck with your show and thanks for letting us see your work."

And lastly some comments from my granddad to go alongside those from my grandma:

"You should get "A's" for all your "D's" - design, delicate needlework and drive to get your thoughts translated into your display. Very well done."