The minutiae of life is frequently overlooked and yet can be revealing and poignant. My focus is on contemporary life and the social observation of people, places, domestic life and nature. I aim to capture the atmosphere of situations or places.
Drawing is an integral part of my practice and I combine textiles and mixed media. All embroidery is done by hand which allows time to reflect on the piece and its development. Colour used is often bright and incongruous and encourages the viewer to look at the image with fresh eyes.
Transparency fascinates me and I use fabrics which enable this, such as nylon and silk chiffon. I trace images I have drawn onto transparent fabric and then superimpose them onto embroidered work or put them in unexpected places. This challenges perceptions and assumptions because of the interplay between the art work and its environment. Examples of this can be seen on my Instagram feed (mosstitch60).
Text is sometimes added to create an extra dimension and I use words that come instinctively and quickly.
I’ve enjoyed sewing since I was a small child learning from my Mum. I’ve explored many other crafts over the years, feeling the urge to constantly create but was always drawn back to stitch, first with dress making then bag-making. Having become very frustrated with commercial fabrics and wanting to make my work truly my own, I started developing my knowledge of various techniques and became obsessed with combining textile and mixed media art.
In 2016, I enrolled on Kim Thittichai’s Experimental Textiles course and spent the following few months trying out many different techniques and experimenting as much as I could. When the course came to an end, I didn’t want to stop learning and so enrolled firstly on to the Advanced Textiles course and then the Masterclass in Textiles course at The Windsor School of Textile Art. I’ve realised I will never stop learning and developing my style and I’m determined to enjoy every minute of it!
I find experimenting with fabric, stitch and mixed media fascinating and have used fruit net and cassette tape within some of my work. More recently, I have been exploring the use of metal and have taught myself to solder in order to look at ways I can use wire to create 3D structures.
I have always been interested in needle work and crafts. The first embroidery I can remember completing was a tablecloth in satin stitch and lazy daisy for a teacher who was getting married. I have attended various day and weekend courses and have taught textiles at children’s summer schools.
I attained my City and Guilds Creative Embroidery Parts 1 and 2 and after completing this a group of students formed Materialise, where we continue to develop and exhibit our work. I also belong to a small group of Quaker artists working in various media. I joined Bath Textile Artists in February 2018.
The appeal of modern embroidery or textile decoration for me is the wide ranging and eclectic nature of it. The joy of using fabric and threads is in the vibrancy and subtlety of colour and the variety of textures that can be obtained. I like to make my own base for embroidery using papers, paints and inks as well as working into a variety of fabrics. I also like to use recycled materials wherever possible and enjoy seeing something old take on a new life.
I often use the machine initially to texture the piece and then work and rework into it using hand stitch. The feel of the thread and fabric in my hands is integral to my enjoyment of the embroidery process.
My main source of inspiration comes from walking in the local country side and enjoying my surroundings. I do take photos and make sketches. I use both hand and machine stitching in my work. I also use an embellisher to blend various fabrics together. I often use cold water soluble fabric to make light lacey pieces. Mostly I work in an intuitive way and experiment with fabrics, colours and mixed media.
I live in Bath and construct my work from home. My surroundings are important to me and I am incredibly fortunate to be encircled by woods, fields and beautiful views.
Since childhood I have always loved playing with paints and textiles and I seek to explore new techniques, not to be daunted by the blank canvas or have creativity crippled by insisting on perfection, but to continue to play. “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” Pablo Picasso.
Currently I am experimenting with wax, water and heat on paper and material to create variations in the colours and textures. I am also learning how to incorporate machine embroidery.
I am inspired by shifting light, colour, shapes and patterns; light filtering through leaves. The surface and detail of rock pools, stones, lichen. Antique textiles; functional but treasured possessions crafted by skilled artisans, also influence my work because of their colours, patterns, symbols and decorative simplicity.
Many of my images include circles. For me they represent eternity and God’s act of Creation. Circles are natural, we see them everywhere, the sun, moon, stars, planet earth. Somehow the shape of a circle draws the viewer into whatever symbolic message the centre may hold.
I use a variety of techniques and materials to create images but I am particularly fascinated by wax, used both on material and paper. On material the wax saturates the surface and an incandescent effect materialises, reminiscent of a stained glass window. On paper it creates lustre.
My faith is an essential part of my life, and infuses my art. C S Lewis expresses it far better than I ever could; “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
Currently my aim is to create meaningful art that causes people to pause from their everyday busy lives and contemplate more than materialism; to appreciate the beauty of nature. My desire is to create beautiful art in a place that allows respite from inner turmoil or grief in order to transcend and transport people somewhere calm and sacred, if only for a moment.
My work has been used in a variety of venues, including a prison, church, a local village passion play and healing centre.
A member of Bath Textile Artists for around 25 years, I joined when my specialism was embroidered and decorated original clothing. I produced one off garments to commission, and still do so occasionally.
Now, the items I produce tend to be wall-hung artwork, using a range of textile techniques, including hand and machine stitch, paint and print.
Themes are wide ranging and ideas spring from personal research, travel and the local environment. I have lead a number of community projects and worked in many schools as artist –in – residence. Currently I also teach drawing in adult education classes.
I came to art and embroidery late in life, after training as a scientist. The ‘discovery’ of the texture and colour in fabric and thread came as a revelation and left me looking at the world through very different eyes from which I had observed it before. I now see beauty in unusual places. Even the water stains on the concrete of an underground car park send me burrowing into my bag for a camera or a sketchbook; while passers by look on bemused.
To express unlikely patterns and colours in the wonderful array of threads and fabrics available gives me great joy, which I hope passes on to the observers of my work.
An extraordinary holiday to the Hebrides’, Orkney, Shetland and Faroes, last summer led to many unknown and amazing facts about the life led on these very different islands.
The buildings and archaeological sites previously unknown to me, the artefacts created for life for these remote islands. I was transported , from the ‘here’ of the 21st century, back to the ‘there ‘ of prehistoric , and early history. The struggle for life through the weather , the sea, invaders, and colonisers . Simple boats, dwellings, crafting, textiles, built and made to withstand the weather, winds, and seas of these remote places.
Even we in June, in a small but substantial ship, felt the power of the inclement weather, whipping winds, squally showers , and quite bitter temperatures.
My pieces are a reflection of the beauty of the artefacts I saw, and their survival, from the ‘ back there’.
I have been a member of Bath Textile Artists since 2002 and I am a member of Marlborough and District Embroiderer’s Guild and a founder member of Beyond the Green; a small group who work together with occasional exhibitions, having finished Parts 1 And 2 of City and Guilds Creative Embroidery. All of us had a desire to continue working in the field of textiles following all the enjoyment that was experienced with the City and Guilds course.
I have managed the work for two large collaborative commissions of public embroidery stitched by members of Marlborough Embroiderer’s Guild. The Upper Kennet Valley Hall Embroidery was finished in 2010 after 4 years work. We are presently working on another for the Prospect Hospice Outreach Centre, Savernake Hospital, Marlborough.