My work as a textile artist is strongly influenced by my first career in museums. My practice is research-focussed and I am fascinated by material culture, history and the power of objects in human narratives. I often use intensely personal and emotive subjects or historical themes inspired by people, objects and places as well as how we respond to and interact with objects and materials in our daily lives, the traces we leave behind, the stories we embed into our material culture and the importance of cloth and objects in our lives.
I use a variety of methods and experiment with traditional and contemporary textile techniques to find what feels right with the ideas I am exploring. I work mainly with old cloth, often damaged, torn and worn, which I combine with hand stitch, natural dye, quilting, appliqué and mixed media to create subtle and emotive pieces. I do not confine my practice to any one type of object; I create hangings, quilts, small objects and installations which all have distinctive feel of preciousness and delicacy created with the combination of hand stitch and fragile fabrics.
I work in series and groups, often responding to commissions from galleries and museums or around my own personal research projects such as family history, my emotional life and my relationship with landscape and nature.
I have been commissioned by Derby Museums, Shire Hall Gallery and Harefield Hospital NHS Trust. My work is in museum collections including Staffordshire County Council, Newcastle Under Lyme Borough Council and Gawthorpe Textiles Collection.
In early 2016 I completed a year-long residency and solo exhibition project at the National Centre for Craft & Design called Narrative Threads, bringing together several years’ work alongside new series generated through the residency.
One of the pieces I made for Narrative Threads has won the Fine Art Quilt Masters competition at the Festival of Quilts in 2016.
Techniques & processes
My techniques and processes are rooted in traditional techniques, reflecting my training and background in museum work and textile history research. I also aim to use sustainable techniques as much as possible.
I work mainly with old cloth, collected and rescued from antique dealers and family linen cupboards, alongside natural and other textiles such as silk organza and reclaimed garments.
I use natural dye, making use of plants collected from my local area, gardens and wasteland to create a sense of place in my work. I also make use of stains from food and drink along with rust dye when appropriate to the narrative of my work.
I mainly use hand stitch, embroidery and the traditional techniques of quilting, appliqué and patchwork alongside occasional digital print, cyanotype and screen print. I also use found objects and natural materials.
In the past I specialised in fabric manipulation and I still use these techniques in some of my work.