My inspiration comes mainly from the world around me and the interaction of nature, people, and the political and environmental events that confront them. My work is an attempt to record the feeling and texture of landscapes and events, and my personal reaction to the images that they convey. I feel strongly that art should be accessible, and should be written about in simple terms that are easily understood.
Some of my work in the past few years has had a political dimension. I have attempted to explore the themes of displacement, conflict, asylum and personal identity – always attempting to convey a sense of dignity and endurance. The human condition is a recurring theme but it doesn’t always make easy reading or comfortable viewing. Nevertheless it is a challenge and an issue I feel best able to explore through textiles.
I sketch and draw many ideas using water soluble crayons, smudging to suggest layers, using sharp lines to suggest threads. My work only takes off once I am handling the materials and juxtaposing different textures, colours and densities. Re-cycling materials is an important part of my work. I hate the idea of waste. Decisions and choices only come easily to me if they are part of a large range of recycled possibilities.
I am constantly building up my work. I very seldom, if ever, remove fabric or stitches. If it doesn’t seem to work then I add more, exploring the tensions, strengths and weaknesses of the piece. The manipulation of fabric and the building up of a surface of layers continue to fascinate me. I try to explore the idea of suggested or evocative forms and atmosphere, rather than making too bold or direct a statement.
I am above all a hand-stitcher. That way, I feel I have more control over colour, texture and communication. Although I refer to sketches and ideas in note books, I can never work to a final and conceived finished idea. It needs to grow organically. Because my work tends to be large I have to work on a vertical surface so I can stand back and see it from a distance. By definition, this is time-consuming, so I find myself working on two or three pieces simultaneously concentrating on each for fairly short periods of time while my judgement is still sharp and positive. In spite of sometimes conveying fairly austere messages, technique is always secondary. I devise techniques to fit the concept – not to dictate it.