Daring to replicate single flight feathers as machine embroidery on paper, I have elevated them to golden relics and articles of beauty, with colours reminiscent of Italian medieval paintings. They are painted and gilded with gold leaf.
The natural world has always fascinated me. As a textile artist I combine drawings, thoughts and stitches to record and respond to the essence of the natural world. The work I produce is quiet but with an inner energy that aims to engage and draw the viewer in, to notice things they may have overlooked.
Much of the current work is based on coastal seascapes and the birds that enjoy and live in that environment. I start with walking and recording with quick sketches and photographs, usually my pockets are full of collected material and my mind is spinning with words and songs. Back in the studio it is always thrilling to begin revealing the essence of my research. Energetic drawings are worked alongside mono-prints and stitch samples. Stitching and constructing on paper enables me to combine all these different processes. The mark making and construction of the work is as joyful to me as the initial excitements I experience in the ‘field’.
As a young child, I loved making beautiful clothes for my dolls under the watchful and encouraging eye of my mum, her scrap bag contained wonderful fabrics which felt so good to my young fingers. All my wild ideas were possible with her needle skills. This passion with quality and attention to detail have remained with me. I have an overriding need to provide a well crafted and yet peaceful meditative art work.
Whilst on my Foundation Course at Cheltenham College of Art, I began to realize that drawings are a vehicle to seeing, understanding and exploring subjects and concepts. During my degree course in Fine Art Embroidery at Manchester Polytechnic, my mind and eyes were opened, not only to a media that satisfied me, but one that also engaged the viewer. On moving to London in 1981, I was quickly involved with the 62 Group of Textile Artists, this was a supportive membership that I enjoyed for several years, even when I lived abroad. I was invited by the British Crafts Centre to be part of a Paper Exhibition in 1983, which sealed my long lasting passion with paper.
In 1985 I was recognized with my first one woman show at the Anatol Orient Gallery, opening on the eve of moving to Papua New Guinea. Living and working within the National Arts School in Port Moresby awoke in me an interest in geology, fossils, maps and anthropology, themes soon to be linked to my drawings and textiles. Over the years these fossil and rock themes have become more intense with an inner energy and meditative quality. Time and space provided opportunities to develop ideas, skills and techniques. A series of paintings and paper textiles illustrating corals and underwater worlds was executed and exhibited in Oceania and Australia. With the birth of my first daughter in Papua New Guinea, the place and its people will always hold a piece of my heart and influence my way of thinking.
My young daughters, sewing, drawing, and children’s workshops engaged me for ten years in Kent. I returned to live in Gloucestershire in 2002, working from my studio, high in a small village in the Cotswolds. The woodlands and landscapes that surround me are inspirational, making my drawings more expansive. The drawings contain inner dialogues, finding solutions that are easily transposed to the Paper Textiles. It is completely intentional that these environments and landscapes of my last 30 years have become populated with fish and birds. I have strong links with Nature in Art, Gloucester, a museum totally dedicated to Nature.