Where does your love of creating come from?
I think it certainly comes from my family. My father was a painter and worked with wood, my mother was a dressmaker, embroiderer and exceptional knitter, in her spare time. I have pieces made by my grandfather too, who was also a talented woodworker, and an amazing model ship made by a great grandfather. So I was lucky to grow up in a creative atmosphere where drawing, painting and making things was quite the norm, and happened every day. However I can’t knit and have no talent for accurate woodwork!
You were a ceramicist for 20 years – how and why did you move to mixed media and textiles?
I went to art college to do my Foundation course when I was 24, after a few ‘proper’ jobs, none of which I liked in any way! I had intended to do a degree in textiles, but became involved in ceramics instead. I made ceramics at home and from a studio in a busy craft centre for 20 years, and have taught ceramics for longer, but through those years I still loved textiles and made as many stitched pieces as I could. I was a member of the Embroiderers’ Guild and an avid reader of textile magazines and books.
When I left the craft centre studio to work from home again I decided to take a break for a week or two, as the years at the craft centre had been fairly intense. During that time I started to stitch appliqued pictures and that was that; I didn’t go back to producing ceramics professionally, but switched my practice to textiles. I didn’t make a definite decision, it just happened. I still can’t explain it to myself or anyone else, I imagine the time was just right, but it was the start of one of the best periods in my life. That was in 2003.
If you had to make do with just 5 crafting materials what would you choose?
Calico, acrylic paints, acrylic inks, threads and beads.
What are your influences?
My influences are landscape, museums, particularly natural history collections, observation of the natural world, science, architecture, interior design, painting and ancient and contemporary artefacts.
What makers inspire you?
I’m inspired too by painters; particularly Peter Doig, Ivon Hitchens, Patrick Heron, Eric Ravilious, John Piper, and David Hockney. I saw the Robert Rauschenberg exhibition at Tate Modern recently and that has been wonderfully inspiring.