I grew up in a house where things were always being made. My grandmother was a tailoress and knitter. Mum taught fashion and textiles at degree level and is a tapestry weaver. Dad made all sorts, from radios to boats. So I grew up in a world where making was commonplace and I always had ready supply of paper, pencils, glue and then later a sewing machine.
I moved to Pembrokeshire in the 1990's where I joined the Embroiders Guild and the Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Guild. Both groups were very active with regular exhibitions and classes. Through the encouragement of artists such as Rosanne Hawksley, Audrey Walker and especially Jean Draper I returned in 2001 to university (Oxford Brookes) to read Contemporary Fine Art for a BA and then for my Master's Degree. I initially worked with video but soon realised that the objects I was filming were more important than the film itself and those objects were made by me usually using textiles and stitch.
Quilting rapidly came to the fore as I focused more on ideas surrounding wrapping and layering through clothing and coverings. I use paper, fabric, stitch, paint, dye, photo transfer, fibre etch, paper mache, resin and found objects. The piece may become a quilt, a wall hanging, a box or a book.
Ideas of layering, wrapping and preserving are recurring themes, I often build up layers of fabric and embroidery only to use acid on the surface to burn away parts to reveal detail underneath, a sort of artist's archeology.
My pieces tell a story, of things that have gone before and of objects that have become precious to me. Although my work has strong personal themes this is not always obvious; it is important to me that my work allows the viewer the space to view and interpret the work for themselves.
I am a collector. Not of fine watches or fragile dolls but of broken watches and jewellery along with dog-eared books, tiny bottles, old letters and sheet music, salt cellars, feathers and fabric. Lots of fabric. I love to reuse old textiles, especially silk, linen and cotton. It has a history, like the ticking changing room curtains, bought from a shop in Oxford. Made from heavy furnishing cotton, used and cleaned repeatedly until thin in parts, the linings were disintegrating, they had a wonderful softness that you never get in new fabric and were made into a quilt called Storytelling.
I have learnt simple mould-making and casting techniques as well as resin casting as sometimes I want multiple objects in a piece and this is the simplest way to reproduce a found object. Of course sometimes an object is simply too precious to use so a cast allows me to go ahead and include it.
My collecting never stops. I have sand from beaches and places I visit. I have a little jar full of small, decorative metal discs that I picked up after they had fallen from the costumes of belly dancers at a show in Egypt. I have hundreds of keys, charms and small statuettes as well as bayonets from antique markets, spent bullet cases and old medals. Objects are often altered before being grouped together and included in a piece of work.