How would you describe your current practice (e.g. materials, techniques, themes, key questions, approach)?
My practice is about how cloth and clothing link with the transmission of culture and storytelling.
I use historical textiles combined with contemporary items to tell stories. For example, in response to a noisy textile mill, I recently made a small woven piece in which speech sounds were represented by colours – the pattern ‘said’ a quote. I’m now making a larger textile which will ‘say’ a whole poem.
Also, having previously worked in the National Archives, and lately in historical re-enactment, I like to work with historical collections. For this reason I’m particularly inspired by Susan Hiller’s work; and I was pleased to be involved in the Herts Memories project, Threads of Time 2, which will be shown again next year in Hitchin.
What are you working on at the moment (forthcoming exhibitions, events, workshops etc)?
Mending. I work reflectively and repetitively using simple techniques inspired by traditional textile practice. I reuse and re-invent materials, including old projects. When I’m satisfied with these I will begin submitting them for exhibition.
I’m also a community artist, and run workshops for all abilities in partnership with local charities: In Feltmaking, Painting, Drawing and Photography Appreciation.
What are your plans for the coming year.
Having written poetry and stories for young children during my career as a primary teacher, I’ve recently trained in Children’s Book Illustration. Following this, I was pleased to be contacted by the Books Beyond Words charity who are looking for illustrators.
I’ll also continue compiling a portfolio of children’s literature.
What is the question you get asked most about your work and how do you answer it?
“How do you manage to fit so much in?”
Answer: I get organised! I do my preparation and research in between teaching jobs by carrying my iPad with me, and visiting exhibitions en route. I make test pieces at home in the evenings, so that when I arrive at my studio I’m ready to work on finishing pieces.
I’m also often asked if I still do watercolour painting. Not at the moment, but its techniques can be seen in all my work.
How has your relationship with Digswell Arts Trust strengthened your practice as an artist?
Having a studio at the Farmhouse has allowed me an inspirational space to work intensively and without distraction.
Here, I’ve had access to additional equipment, supportive colleagues – and a dyer’s dream of a garden – to help with my practice. I’ve settled into a better defined personal style enabling me to produce a consistent body of work.