Welcome to my new website. It is still 'work in progress' but I wanted you to have a gllimpse of some of my past and present work.
Since coming to Art Textiles, from a background in art and graphic design, I have created several collections of work that have included stitched textiles, art quilts and mixed media pieces. The first main theme developed after my Diploma in Stitched Textile course was called Arctic Expressions.
I have always been interested in the art and way of life of the inuit in northern Canada, so the opportunity, years ago, during the diploma, to study further, was a wonderful opportunity. I visited Baker Lake and Rankin Inlet in Nunavut and the memories and photographs went on to inspire work for several years.
It was slides in those days and I revisited using lenses and filters for the ice and snow. Being a Canadian living permanently in the UK, it was definitely something different and on my return began doing lectures about that trip.
I learned about Caribou skin clothing and the current textile wallhangings that the seamstresses are still making. It was fascinating to get an inside glimpse into another Canadian way of life. I am still in contact with a friend in Rankin Inlet and through modern technology can hear all the recent news.
Here is a small selection of this early Arctic Expressions work 1996 - 2003. I never knew at the time how this trip to the Arctic would make such an impression on me. See my entry on Meltdown and the Last Silence for more recent work.
A trip to the Antarctic in January 2016 was a dream come true and it lived up to all I could have wished. Ice, snow, icebergs, glaciers, mountains, penguins, whales and more will keep me inspired for years. This recent piece part of the 'Concealed' exhibition with the group Art Textiles Made in Britain, - a collage composite of photos taken during the expedition, with line superimposed on top to reflect the fossils and petrified rainforests that have been discovered there.
I continue to be inspired by Polar regions and in 2019 have had two solo exhibitions based on work that began during the Diploma in Stitched textiles, travels to iceland and includes my latest work from Antarctica. Painted backgrounds are now being also used with stitch and more work based on this theme is continuing to be made. In August 2019, my gallery called Polar Expressions at the Festival of Quilts, NEC, Birmingham will show this collection and be accompanied by a new book.
More work will be made in the future, as I am travelling to Svarlbard and Eastern Greenland to research more ice, glaciers and tundra. in 2020. So, watch this space.
Memories of that time in Arctic Canada was heightened by a trip to Iceland. The landscape was breathtaking and my love of ice and glacier imagery inspired a new body of work that I called Meltdown. I am continuing to add to this collection and the aspect of global warming and climate change has become fixed in all of my Polar based work.
The images of ice on the black lava shoreline at Jokulsurlon was magic.
I will remember those trapped glaciers in the bay and the melting ice at my feet... forever. So much inspiration.
The pieces selected here, consist of a collage of photo images, monoprints and diary writings, heat transferred onto cloth with metal and stitch added. Sometimes wireform has been included to create dimension. Many of these textile pieces can be seen in my book Connecting Design to Stitch and will be exhibited at the Festival of Quilts 2019 in my own Polar Expressions gallery.
I have included other photos taken.... the melting ice on Hudson Bay taken from the plane. It is amazing to see the pattern of melting ice from above. Wherever I am on my travels... I have also included an image in the high Alps in Switzerland, of ice on a semi frozen lake in July.
The last piece in this 'Meltdown' series is called "What were they thinking?'. Can you make out the shape of Mother Nature overviewing melting ice?
I would love to visit Iceland again one day. I have wonderful memories of teaching a creative group of textile artists in Akureyri, years ago.
'Off the Wall'
These first pieces evolved from the Meltdown series, as I remembered a walk on the thick ice of Baker Lake, so many years ago. It was so silent - no birds, planes...nothing except the crunch of ice beneath my feet. A moment I will remember forever. The marks represent the ice cracks and the dimensional wave shapes are sound 'marks'. I have mild tinnitus now, so hear 'silence' no longer. The shards in waxed stiffened felt (material from Debbie Lyddon) were part of a fibre challenge with Studio 21 and was only a small version of a potentially larger piece.
Another series of ‘dresses’ created for the days of the week that represent Layers, Connection and Time were hung slightly off the wall. They were asymmetrical in shape to resemble pattern pieces and the memory of ‘running’ up a new simple dress for a party when I was a teenager in Canada. It was part of ‘The Sewing Machine Project’ tour with Studio 21.
‘Reality and Rhetoric’ was also off the wall in the sense that the layers often moved to reveal the dialogue beneath. This was made after the flooding on the Somerset levels in 2014 and the 6 pieces are 2.7m in length The writing beneath is a history, past and present of the county, how the ‘level’s were managed in ancient times, the science behind the flooding and how the fields will be managed in the future.
More of my Somerset levels work can be seen in another gallery space.
Three dimensional work is always a challenge, but for now I am enjoying working in pieces that are somewhat dimensional, mounted on canvas to come ‘off the wall’.
Within 4 Walls
Textures, pattern and life in urban settings has always been photographic inspiration for me and living close to London gave me such a dynamic landscape. Many pieces were created between 2000 and 2004 (many you can see in my books) and came from photographs of buildings, walls, and holiday experiences including the selection shown here.
Back to the landscape with inspiration from photographic images in Ontario. Trees in all their glory and woodlands underthreat by nature and man. Beginning with quite colourful pieces, the work became more monochormatic as trees became more affected by climate change and urban sprawl. Many pieces in the Near North series can be seen in my books, especially Creative Quilts and in exhibitions with Quilt Art.
From a background in art and design, sketchbooks and collage composition have been a great influence on how my work evolves. From drawing and sketching to compiling collage pages with photography and painted paper, it is the way I like to begin most of of my work in art textiles and mixed media. Photography and transferring images onto cloth became a feature of most all my textile work from the early diploma days to the present.
Sketchbook pages have been inspired by my local landscape of Somerset and Wiltshire and West Bay in Dorset and are now usually created and bound by hand.
There have also been the accordion folded ‘Seawhite’ books which offer the continuous landscape and many of these multiple pages have inspired new textile work both for work based local landscape and the Polar Expressions series.
The long folded format offers a different energy and dynamic than a page turned sketchbook. The continuous line and colour gives a panoramic effect which I can dip into for several pieces of future work. Many of the new Polar Melt Studies were based on sketchbook pages and stitched for a different effect than a large art textile piece.
These are examples of sketchbooks based on the Dorset, the flooded Somerset Levels, landscape vistas from the A303 over Wiltshire, small sketchbook studies, and finally a recent small bound book and folded sketchbook based on my Polar Expressions - ice and glacier inspired work.
Since the move to Somerset, 2 years ago, I have been captivated by the landscape nearby, in all seasons. Photography, sketchbooks and collages continue to inspire new work as well as mono prints and collagraphs. The Flooding on the Somerset Levels 2 years ago, though not personally affected - thankfully, did inspire some very graphic imagery and new work has quickly evolved. Pieces have been in Quilt Art touring exhibitions and long wide piece is called Reality and Rhetoric with writing behind the horizontal panels reflecting the history and environmental challenges of the levels. Additional work has been seen with exhibitions with the South West Textile Group and at the NEC in various show. I continue to be inspired by this local area and will continue to add to this work in the future.
It has been a busy couple of years for exhibitions, and two of the groups I belong to mentioned more ‘colour’ in our work. This was an opportunity for me to take a break from my normal blue and white pallet of Arctic work, or the greys of the ‘Levels’ pieces and explore colour in the landscape. This coincided with me doing more painting with an art group locally and exploring watercolour, resists, and acrylics after an absence of a few years. I am always drawn to the colour through the seasons, and the agricultural landscapes of Somerset, Wiltshire, Dorset and Devon are so inspiring. The marks on the fields at planting and harvest time, the silhouettes of willows and oaks, bare in winter, and the rolling hills and fields of rape and poppies are a constant marvel.
The result was a series of are abstract impressions, taken from map marks, sketches and aerial views with a great deal of colour (for me). Here, are small works that have been framed recently for Somerset Open Studio.
A long accordion style sketchbook, with resist and colourful fields and marks helped to inspire several pieces over the last 2 years. There are no real photo images involved, but energetic and vigorous lines and painting brush strokes seen. Many of these began as quick monoprints. This selection includes a recent series for Studio 21 ‘Colour Notes’ exhibitions at the Knitting and Stitching shows 2018.
Possibly the last in this colourful series of local landscape pieces is my work for Quilt Art. Based on sketchbook pages I have created two groups of 5 pieces that show the progression through the seasons from winter, through high summer and autumn. I have called it Passages in Time.and the latest work for Quilt Art’s ‘Material Evidence’ and ‘Traces’ touring exhibitions 2019 - 2022.
I am now back to more Arctic inspired work and I have to say that as much as I enjoy colour, getting back to the calm of a blue/white/ rust pallet of my Polar work has been a welcome return. With a trip to Svarlbard and Eastern Greenland scheduled next year, I will be including a forth Polar destination in the future.
Latest News / Books
I have a gallery at Festival of Quilts 1-4 August at the NEC, Birmingham, and my Polar Expressions exhibition will feature over 20 years of Arctic, Iceland and Antarctic inspiration. A passion for ice, icebergs and glaciers has been a creative theme for me and more than ever, an interest for everyone worldwide because of the influences of climate change.
These are a few of the many small Polar Melt stitch studies that I have made and will be on sale at the show and online. They are small 20 cm x 20cm (8” x 8”) and all reflect imagery ( photographs, painting and marks) on cloth with the orange thread to reflect ‘melting ice’.
My recent venture into self publishing is a small book called Polar Expressions which will accompany my solo exhibition at the Festival of Quilts. Here is a taste of this new art book which will be available soon.
Over the years, I have also been very fortunate to have been able to write 4 books for BT Batsford. The books are available online and at book sellers. In the future I hope this part of the website Gallery will include art quilts, textiles and books for sale.
Watch this space….
the Polar Expressions book will be available soon to buy online and will be priced at