Textiles have always been a part of my life, from dressmaking to patchwork and quilting, first of all using commercial fabric, then more recently have been dying my own. Either using synthetic dyes such as Procion, but also dyeing using natural materials such as daffodils, buddleia, avocado and woad. In the future I aim to dye with more plant materials and have now dedicated an area of my garden for more plants for dyeing. I’ve also have been experimenting with eco printing with leaves directly onto the fabric. I have been lucky enough to have been given a quantity of cotton sheeting which as it has been washed many times, takes the dye really well. It also means that this fabric is being recycled and not discarded.
Living in Wiltshire close to the Neolithic monuments of Avebury and Stonehenge and the surrounding burial mounds I am inspired by the people that lived here at that time, how they lived and what traces they left behind. The Wiltshire Museum in Devizes has many items of that era on display including pots, jewellery, weapons and other metal objects, but nothing made of fabric usually because material breaks down and has less permanence. So as a trial I have constructed a piece made with some of the natural dyed fabrics, printed using leaves and stitching on leaves from the garden, backed with eco printed fabric , which is then left outside in the elements to see how the piece weathers and ultimately to see how long it will last and the changes that may occur.
During lockdown finding it difficult to settle on anything big I concentrated more on smaller projects such as book making and began to use hand stitching as a form of stitch therapy and as way of making a mark, as well as by printing. Slow stitching gave me the opportunity to reflect on my creative practices inspiring my latest projects.