My art medium is textiles: fabric and thread. I need to be able to work with my materials in my hand. This is a very tactile art form.
Vibrant colour is also a key feature of my work. I prefer to use hand-dyed fabric and thread, much of which I dye myself. The subtleties of colour that I get by hand dyeing add to the complexity of my work.
My start as an embroiderer
I began as an embroiderer, specialising in the 16th-century technique of Crewel embroidery. I learned this skill through the Embroiderers’ Guild Victoria.
In 2004 I completed a 9-month course at the Guild: Art for the Stitch. This course covered all the design skills necessary to create my own designs. It also introduced me to the stimulating world of contemporary textile art and led to the work I create today.
In the years since this course, I have been exploring many aspects of textile art, trying to find the right fit for me. About four years ago I concluded that the elements important to me are abstraction, hand stitching, colour and layering. This is my base, but I am still exploring so my work is still evolving and can change.
Fabric and stitch process
My current preferred technique is to layer small pieces of fabric and small pieces from old doilies or lace. This creates a rich, complex texture. I then heavily stitch into the work using wool thread. This creates another layer of texture and complexity, and pulls the work together.
In July 2019, through Fibre Arts, I did a course with American artist, Clarissa Callesen. Clarissa works with textiles but creates in three dimensions. I’m now exploring how I can integrate Clarissa’s technique into my work.
My inspiration comes mainly from the built environment, especially from the details that many overlook. This ranges from the pattern made by a group of gas meters, to the shapes made by the convergence of buildings, to how people live in the landscape.
In 2016 my partner and I moved to Barcelona for 15 months. We travelled extensively and I became intrigued by where and how different cultures live. I discovered the rich variety of urban landscapes: from the medinas of Morocco to the skyscrapers of modern cities.
But my inspiration, like my technique, is not fixed. I’m still exploring and responding to new inspiration.