Here's how I got to do what I get to do ...
I developed a love of American folk-art applique over a number of years whilst taking classes run by Essex textile artist Sharon Blackman. Moving to Dorset encouraged me to develop my own style in response to the magnificent colours and textures of the scenery here.
I have been collecting textiles for many years, finding it impossible to pass a material shop without buying something. Needless to say, I have a stockpile of bits. Some have been bought new, some are bits left over from other projects and some are recycled from friends & family whose clothes I often eye up to see how I could use them in the future. These can be very special as they hold precious memories.
Everything is hand-sewn - so it takes a long time!
Each larger picture takes many hours of work, involving photographing the scene, sketching, choosing materials, cutting, piecing & hand-sewing the shapes, adding fine detail and then presenting in a frame. I find the rhythm and freedom of hand stitching very calming and relaxing and in the summer I am usually to be found working outside, on the swing-seat in the sun or in the “beach hut” in the garden on cloudier days … bliss.
Most recently I have been experimenting dyeing my own fabric with varying degrees of success – but it’s been fun trying!
I have been taking part in open studios events organised by Dorset Arts Weeks and Artwey in alternate years at least once a year since 2010, opening my own studio each time. I really enjoy these events as it is a chance to meet those interested in art and listening to their ideas and views.
"Castles & Ruins" - an example of how I approach my work:
The three beach huts are constructed from my old trousers, Neil’s shirt and my shirt, the yellow boat is made from a piece of my daughter’s old curtain material and parts of the sand-castle are made from material that I’ve dyed. The little white boats are made from a white shirt of mine. Two out of three doors on the beach huts are made from material left over from my kitchen bunting.