I started sewing with serious intent in the 1980s with quilting as my first love, however work always intervened. My career has been in the museums and heritage sector so I’ve been lucky to work with some fantastic collections in the West Midlands, including costume and textiles, and put on exhibitions of contemporary stitch and historic embroidery. Since 2007 I’ve been self-employed and this has enabled me to devote more time to my creative practice as a writer, artist and tai chi teacher. I’ve had many influential tutors but two of note are Barbara Chainey who taught me to design and quilt in the 1980s and Annette Lucas who encouraged me to explore and see what happens with different techniques and materials in the 2010s.
My work is influenced by nature – landscape, plants and trees, beaches, water – using pattern and structure to create a sense of place. I work a lot from photographs using the image library I’ve built up over the last 10 years. A visit to Antarctica in 2002 has had a huge influence spawning a whole series of pieces working with a limited colour palette of greys, blues and white. My poetry is linked to the textiles I produce (and sometimes vice versa!).
A lot of my recent work recycles historic fabrics – whether this is a hand-embroidered 1900s “Elizabethan” bed hanging or my great-grandmothers hand stitched white-work embroidery tray cloths. Deconstructing and reusing these pieces I’ve created new works combining felting, hand and machine stitching, rust-dyeing and, of course, quilting.
BA Hons (History of Art)
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