My way of working with textiles developed by designing a set of seaside greetings cards using scraps of fabric that I had lying around my studio. Realising this way of working had potential I drew on the inspiration of my home county of Cornwall, its seaside and landscape providing images synonymous with the coast and a "country living" lifestyle.
I initally studied Art History at Winchester School of Art and went on to attain a Masters in Illustration from the University College Falmouth when I came home to Cornwall and realised I wanted to be an Artist. All my textile knowledge, passion and skills were learnt from my mother and grandmothers, through making clothes for toys from remnants of dresses, patchwork recycled quilts, various craft techniques and knitting.
I consider my textile art to be routed in the genre of quilt making. The predominent technique that I use in my textile illustrations is appliqué. From the french for applied, it literally means that one piece of cloth is laid on top of another and in the case of my illustrations, stitched down by machine and sometimes by hand. I like the idea of creating smaller works from larger pieces and scraps of fabric. I like being given materials to work with, because they come with an existing history or story and I can re-use them to create a new narrative in my illustrations and pictures. It also means that i'm being environmentally conscious in my work.
I love rummaging through my fabric stash looking for just the right piece of fabric selecting it based on its colour, pattern and texture. Whether its going to be used for a roof top or the hull of a fishing boat it's not important whether its a manmade or a natural fibre it has to be the same weight and have a similar weave. I know an illustration has turned out well when the composition and the selection of colours and textures of fabrics reflect the charm of the actual location. The finishing touch to the textile illustrations is the addition of the machine or hand stitches, adding the intricate details with stitches draw the different elements and different fabric patterns of the picture together.
In making small scale pieces I feel my work reflects the charm of postcards of a bygone age, capturing the essence of the places I illustrate. I’m inspired by the St. Ives School of Artists such as Winifred Nicolson and Patrick Heron. I love still life images and admire current modern painters working in Cornwall such as Richard Tuff and Emma Jefferies.
My latest series of work captures the distinct and instantly recognisable locations of Cornwall with a fresh and appealing approach. Full of life and colour I aim to achieve a sense of spirit and movement in the sea and sky, I use my personal perspective to capture the historic buildings, harbours, sea views, beaches, boats, birds and people with thought and careful attention to detail in choices of patterns, stitch and composition.
I have exhibited in both the UK and France and since graduating I have been working as a freelance textile artist and illustrator. Occassionally I lead art workshops and give talks to art and quilt groups around Cornwall. I work from my home studio in Redruth.