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99.1 in
29.6 in
(252 cm x 75 cm)
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This is my first "art quilt". Half potted family tree and half anecdotes from my childhood. Written in free machine embroidery stitched onto strips of recycled ticking, they are surrounded by photographs of family and representations of people in my life. Pieces of broken up jewellery, sewing paraphernalia, found objects and Dads fishing flies were added. Acid etching was used on cotton and silk to make the empty photograph frames that are waiting to be filled by images of people I have yet to meet. And the tarot? One card for each of the important people in my life.

Thoughts on why I work the way I do

I grew up in a house where things were always being made. My grandmother was a tailoress, knitter, crocheter and avid cake and jam maker. Mum taught fashion at degree level and is a tapestry weaver, a great cook and an ongoing champion of my work and Dad made all sorts, from radios to boats. So, from a very early age, if I wanted or needed anything there was someone around to provide encouragement materials and enthusiasm for me to have the confidence to realize my own ideas.
Although I pursued other things and worked in retail among other things, I always had a sewing machine and enjoyed sewing and making. The big change came with a move to Pembrokeshire where I joined the Embroiders Guild and, as we had rare breed sheep, 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 usually made by me using textiles and stitch.
I have developed a body of connected work ever since. Layering, wrapping and preserving are returning themes as are ideas of my identity and my place in time and space. 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
I enjoy telling a story, of things that have gone before and of objects that have become precious and have a story to tell. Although my work often has a strong personal theme this is not always obvious; it is important to me that my work allows the viewer the space to invent and interpret the work for themselves.

I am also a collector. Not of fine watches or fragile dolls but of doll parts and broken watches 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. There is something about fabric that has been repeatedly handled and washed, it has a history, like the ticking changing room curtains, used in Storytelling, that I bought from a shop in Oxford. These were made from heavy furnishing cotton that had been used and cleaned repeatedly until they were going thin in parts, the linings were disintegrating but they had a wonderful softness that you never get in new fabric.
My collecting never stops. I have sand from beaches and places I visit on holiday. 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 key fobs and hundreds of keys, of all sizes, charms and small statuettes as well as bayonets from antique markets, spent bullet cases and old medals all go onto the shelves that line my studio waiting to find their place in a future piece of work.

My work always comes back to fabric and stitch, hand or machine, I love both.
Recycled curtain fabric. Bamboo and cotton batting. Cotton silk and linen. Silk thread. Found objects.
Quilting. Hand and machine embroidery. Fabric layering and colage. Photo transfer. Acid etching. Fabric manipulation