My textile art and therapeutic work have always focused on the power of the little things, as has my life.
The concepts of the smallness of body, spirit, and achievement, have underpinned much of my approaches. During my degree, I explored the hand weaving of microfibres. My working with marginalised communities required careful meager budget analysis; repurposing of materials; and, the recognition of the tiniest gesture. I have known and studied the power the simplest ordinary item (discarded from the bin and streets) or word has to invoke memory, emotion, and physical response. Recently, I have been challenged by the power an individual pixel or stitch length has when working in CAD embroidery to create a pleasing image for the viewer.
A passion for combining hand and machine embroidery with the found and castoff treasures of my travels has helped me explore how the tiniest kimono rag, teabag, or stained item of underwear can still be something of beauty and meaning when combined with stitch. The ‘rubbish’ dictates how I create, reacting instinctively to how items ‘sit’ together. I often work with an emotion or life event in my mind and use the repurposed items to explore this further. Stitched words I value and will use art almost as a disjointed messy mental wellbeing journal.
My Arts Council England participatory mindful stitch event and artwork shared my passions with women worldwide, in a project that evolved in response to the participants and opportunities. It culminated in the parading of a walking Story Banner heralding the entrance of a 6ft Warwickshire willow and repurposed suffragette sash swathed lantern as part of Coventry City of Culture 2021.
Textile art has been my constant, allowing authenticity. My work in collaboration strives to enthuse the same recognition, release, and respect, especially when feeling like the rummage-sale rag.