I am a textile artist using felted wool and embroidery to create work inspired by nature, in particular the moments of stillness when I pause and really look at the world around me.
I was lucky enough to grow up in the countryside, going for walks in the hills and through the fields. I spent a lot of time making things, and was inspired by my grandmother who was a brilliant dressmaker and lacemaker. A teacher called Mrs Ayre ran a sewing class at my primary school where we spent an hour after school each week sewing – I remember making a sampler gingham apron with rows of different embroidery stitches!
I studied history at university in York, and went on to work in both museums and archives, and have always been particularly fascinated by social history and traditional crafts.
I’ve become more and more uncomfortable with how little I really know about most of what I consume – who made this item, where was it made (not just the name of a country), what materials were used (and what is really behind the complicated name) and what impact did the production have on the people and the environment. It’s not that everything is bad, but it feels like consumption has become so anonymous and disconnnected.
As a result of all these influences I’ve been drawn to working with wool, which is a natural material that has a strong connection to the history of the area where I live. I enjoy using the traditional skills of feltmaking and embroidery. I’m working towards being involved in as much of the process as possible, from getting the raw fleece from British sheep and using natural dyes to add colour. I’m not planning to have my own flock of sheep though!!
I live in North Yorkshire, close to the Yorkshire Dales, with my husband and daughter. Redundancy and becoming a mother has given me the chance to change direction from my previous job. The mother bit means that I am using small pockets of time here and there though!