I create using found objects, old papers and photographs. I’m fascinated by the lives of ‘normal’ people…how they lived day to day, the minutiae of everyday life. If someone took a (pre-digital) photograph it was because that event mattered, and they wanted to preserve a memory. Or a letter that has survived for decades did so because it was really valued by someone.
I try to honour this sentiment through my art. I work mainly with stitch, collage, assemblage, and encaustic wax. I like to create stories and not let once-treasured things be discarded; to present forgotten materials in a way that makes them beautiful, or sometimes, humorous. I don't aim to shock with my work, more to engender a warm feeling of nostalgia and a connection to the past through the materials used. I often work in 3D; sometimes with moving parts or with elements in tins or small boxes that entice the viewer to engage with the piece.
I source materials from flea markets, auctions, and junk shops and have collected items for years on my travels. My pieces rarely start with a plan; I’m usually drawn to the vintage materials and decide what is needed to tell their story.
My creative journey started in the 1970s. As a child I was constantly making things. I was one of four children and there wasn’t a lot of spare money, so I used whatever was to hand…drawing, stitching, cutting, and gluing. I was lucky to have creative parents whose answer to most things we needed was… “we can make one”. At the age of nine I made my own clothes and my love of sewing developed through embroidery, tapestry and quilting.
About ten years ago, I studied by distance learning and completed a textile art City and Guilds Certificate. Ironically, it was this textile course that led me towards paper collage and assemblage. Whilst I learnt a huge amount about textile design and techniques, it was the work in sketchbooks that really grabbed me. I loved the combination of sketching, mixed media and sticking bits in to help develop my ideas. After a while, the sketchbooks became the main output, rather than the precursors to a textile piece.
Using found materials was a natural progression; I've always been at my happiest wandering around flea markets, and junk shops. Using found materials in collage and sketchbooks changed my approach. Instead of starting with a plan of what I wanted to create, I would be guided by the materials to hand, and what could be created from them. My love of textiles hasn't disappeared though, it's often evident in the textures of my pieces and in the stitch that I often add.
I live in Somerset, UK and am a member of the Society for Embroidered Work which represents artists who use stitch within their artworks.
Exhibitions, publications and collaborations
February 2021 - Memories of Love - Phototrouvee magazine online
August 2020 - 'Weathered and Worn' - Kingscombe Centre, Dorset - exhibition postponed due to Covid19
March 2020 - Fifty Bees exhibition - Black Swan Arts Centre, Frome
April 2019 - Creative Innovation Centre, Taunton
Sept 2020 - Photo Trouvee magazine - one of the featured artists on altered photograph artworks
June 2020 - 'Made at home' - feature in book comprising artworks made during Covid19 lockdown ISBN 9781-9161148-14
Feb - April 2020 - 'Poetic Gems' project - with three other artists taking a set of 1910 photographs as a starting point and devising a story