My pictorial narratives have an emotional quality. The atmosphere in the imagery is airless, the space internal. Although figures are usually a focal point, the love of place is important to me - my landscapes are scenes from Shropshire, walked daily. I have always been attracted to ancient landscape, reflecting the hand of man, particularly the flowing drift of wind swept grasses on the baked sculpted forms of banks and ditches, features of the many hill forts along the Shropshire Welsh Marches.
In my MA at Hereford, I have been working with imagery and themes relating to the cyclical nature of life and archetypes of the feminine.
I feel that the hand-made nature of art has a deep significance and I am conscious of investing an emotional energy and meaning into my imagery. I work with threads as I would with paint – blending and layering. I use sketch books to manage my thoughts and ideas enabling me to filter narratives that are valuable to my discourse. My textile pieces are both visual and pleasingly tactile. The sensory engagement and haptic quality of stitch is important to my practice.
I am a machine embroiderer. I need to work fast, sometimes in jeopardy, because sewing over a drawing of a face means taking a risk. I draw the details back in if they become lost and add more layers of stitch.
Drawing and design are key to my practice. Seeing and looking, then editing, composing and interpreting. Most important for me, is a need to refine, to step away and come back to see anew. I always start with a drawing, which I develop with Photoshop. This tool allows me to plan colours and layout. I transfer my drawing / design onto fabric with paint or by mono printing. I also use photocopies of my drawings with sublimation papers to transfer motifs before collaging with fabrics. I like the serendipity and creativity that I can generate by handling the fabric, cutting and collaging fabrics to allow creative changes.
I have a Brother Irish machine – a huge brutish machine, which is actually very sensitive – too sensitive really. It is set up with gold thread.
I have two Berninas, a Virtuosa 150 and an old Industrial machine.
I spent a few years understanding what art was actually about. I originally studied Fine Art. Starting at Cardiff Art School, finishing with a PGCE at Reading University. I have been teaching ever since. In 1995, with a move to Shropshire, I found Westhope College, where I was able to do City and Guilds courses, which reintroduced textiles into my life and helped me to reengage with my own work. I was fortunate to be taught by Linda Kemshall, Bobby Britnell and the late, much missed, Marie Roper. I was awarded a medal of excellence from City and Guilds.
Wanting a change of life style and to do more of my own art work, I retired from teaching at Shrewsbury High School and started an MA at Hereford College of Art.