In Focus

I’ve been busy trying to finish my artwork for the exhibition ‘In Focus, Stitching’ with the Great Western Embroiderers at Swindon Art Gallery and Museum. I joined the group last spring and have gradually worked on the pieces since the autumn. Inspired by the museum’s photographic collection I was instantly attracted to the Woodfield Studio collection. The glass plates had deteriorated over the intervening years( not sure of the dates) which have given the images some wonderful marks.

Using old household linen as samplers, I created layers of domestic stains and tatters using stitch,tea,fabric paint and fabric to convey the passage of time. As ever I had too many ideas but eventually as the handing in date loomed I brought the 6 of them together into a ‘quilt’.

The title “The Family Album” came quite early on, combining the photographic and domestic references together. I wanted to convey the theme ‘we are all connected’ that often emerges in my artwork. It’s been a wonderful opportunity to really push myself and as the title says keep me in focus.

The exhibition opens on the 25th May and is on until the 7th September. Members of the group will be working at the gallery on various dates throughout that period. I’m going to work on a stitched stained table cloth piece that visitors can add to. I can’t wait to see all the group’s work finally brought together. I’ve really enjoyed the experience and the work that has come from it.

I’ve also been working with my daughter Hannah to develop a website. This is now live but as with most things a work in progress –


New studio new beginnings

This summer I finally moved studio. It was something that had been talked about for a few years but as with all good ideas they take their time in happening. As part of an artist led studios and charity in the town centre in Swindon, developing the arts complex over the past 10 years has been a big part of my art practice.

Studios are great and especially when you are part of one like Artsite where we all support each other and collaborate on exhibitions and projects. But even when they are affordable like mine, you can find that you have trouble finding the time to actually use it when you are busy making a living. But they are a haven, a place in which you can do what you like in it, play about with materials, get messy and importantly space to think away from all the distractions of life.

My new studio is much bigger than my old one with a much needed storage area. As collecting ‘stuff’ is central to my process, storing and space to display that collection is important. I also have a better natural light source and from my chair watch people as they walk past. I love this aspect of having a studio in the town centre, being part of its energy but people oblivious to me watching them. Observing is central to being an artist so my new studio is magic.

Waiting for spring

I’ve been working on a piece about my mother for the past week and have just entered it for the Bath Fringe exhibition ‘ Biography in Cloth’. I only had a week to make it, although it’s been in my head for years, ever since reading my mother’s diaries and journals. Pleased with myself for making it and actually entering it, whether it gets in or not.

Just keeping at it

image_53918502482978I was just starting to emerge from the festive period into the New Year when I came down with the flu. But the good thing about it is I have sat on the sofa and just stitched or drawn. The fear of not doing things well stops most people from even starting and that’s especially so with creating, making “ art”.image_539185806654672I started this piece a while back and after working on it for a while put it down as I didn’t  know what to do next. But spurred on by a post on I worked through what techniques, materials and themes inspired me the most and set myself some actions. image_539186496458024I have been working on some faces – girl from found photo, Sylvia Plath and experimenting with painting and stitching into fabric. I have also made small samplers for me to work into. This has encouraged me to “ just keep at it” moving from one piece to another and not feeling precious or paralysed by fear of what to do next. And it seems to be working as I’m “ creating” and keeping the flow going daily. Not sure about the pieces, I still prefer the back of the work to the front, but at least the process is happening.