After obtaining a Fine Arts degree in the early eighties, my understanding of paper and related media was further enhanced through two periods of long-term study in Japan in the mid to late eighties (supported by the Japan Foundation and the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust).
In 1991, I was given a joint award with South East Arts and the British Council to research art based organisations and community groups in Canada. I focused on those, which used re-cycled and found materials in their projects. Exchanges, talks and workshops remain an important part of my practice and more recently I have studied and worked in Europe, India and Australia.
I continue to develop my techniques, drawing and use of colour remain the foundation for all my work. The fragments of found materials are layered and mark the passing of time, the rituals of making (drawing, cutting, gathering materials, machining, sewing) acting as part of the narrative of the work.
My work relates to the natural and built world and the elements that make it up. I live in a house which edges on a park bringing the Urban and ‘Nature’ together. I like to make drawings, take photographs and gather found materials from within my footsteps as part of the regular journeys I make from my front door. The process of looking and recording helps to establish the environmental links between the built and ‘natural’ spaces as well as addressing issues of sustainable practice. I am interested in the open landscape, the shadows of marks made by man in the earth, the reflections in water and flooded fields, gardens and seasons changing. I refer to this process in my book The Found Object in Textile Art, as ‘Magpie of the Mind‘.
I have a love-hate relationship with nature. I spend time outdoors as part of necessity as I do not drive. You experience the pull of the land in a very different way when walking on a cold winters day to a sunny afternoon. I like to think my work serves as a reminder of this connection to nature, the land and the urban spaces.
I am interested in recording the changes that might impact on the flora and landscape of South East of England and my adopted County, Kent. I am looking at political and social as well as climatic change. Recent flooding, as witnessed in the American South and the Tsunami in Japan, and its impressive physical changes to the landscape raises issues about our fragile relationship with the local and global environment. No one who has grown up in the flat Norfolk landscape as a child can fail to make connections between change and man’s impact on the land through farming, building and use of world resources.
I am motivated by exchange with others as part of this process. I run workshops with schools and communities, using ‘what is there’, (natural and found materials) to create ‘drawings’ and 3d pieces with relevance to given situations, audiences and locations. I am open to looking at new approaches and encouraging others to investigate and develop their own ideas and their relationship to the land.