Can you tell me about your practice? How do you get started on a piece of work?
I’m always on the lookout for inspiring materials that I can re-use or re-shape. I love rummaging through vintage shops and antique markets, on the hunt for salvaged materials such as used board, paper or thread, never knowing when something interesting might catch my eye. I collect things-my cupboards are a treasure chest of faded card, silk threads, neon ribbons, even shiny sweet wrappers.
In the early stages, I spend time painting a variety of colours onto sourced card, my studio floor then becomes my sketchbook, where I am constantly moving things around. So much depends on the colour, the nuances of that one colour and how it might change slightly according to whatever board or card I have painted on. It may take days, even weeks until I find the shape I am looking for, the shape that leads me then to make decisions about thread, line, placement, light, reflection. It’s a constant, shifting process in which material, textures, shapes and colour incrementally connect.
Who or what are your biggest influences?
I’m blessed to be part of a creative family, my husband, Richard and both my sons, Jacob and Harvey, are graphic artists and we all share a keen interest in art, music and film. In fact, I can’t imagine my life without this constant flow and exchange of ideas, which influences the atmosphere in which I create work.
Graphics, fashion photography and eclectic imagery are a big influence on my work as well as Modernist/Brutalist architecture. I am particularly drawn to the quiet, understated buildings of Takao Ando. His ‘Church of the Light’ in Osaka, Japan, relying simply on the interplay of light and dark to form a sense of the immaterial, is an example of his work that I greatly admire.
Instagram has been a great ongoing platform for discovering and connecting with new artists. One particular publication I discovered through Instagram, that seems to cover it all, is ‘Pan & The Dream’. It’s an annual periodical that takes on a variety of inspiring forms. The artists’ work is provocative, challenging and new. Julie Wolfe and Vesna Vrdoljak are a couple of the artists featured whose work I absolutely love.
Not forgetting my close friends, to name a few, Helen Kincaid, Karen Radford, Karin Hulshof and Bridget Hurst who are always a source of inspiration and support.
Although some time ago, your former work within graphics, fashion and textiles seems to still play a large part in your work. Can you elaborate on this a little further?
I studied fashion at Art College in Holland. But during these years, I realised I wasn’t particularly interested in the fashion industry itself, I was drawn to fabric, texture, shape, colour and line. It seemed a more a natural progression for me to become involved in forecasting, presentation, styling and later, graphics.
I’ve always enjoyed making things, right from my first sewing machine when I was about six. I was forever sticking, cutting and stitching, I suppose it was an instinct that never left me.
When I started creating my own work, things naturally fell into place. It was a gradual letting go of working to a client brief, towards a shedding of limitations and freedom.
How important is the choice of material in relation to realizing the concept of your work?
Material is everything, how the paint interacts on a variety of boards, how it behaves on the edges, the different textures, the variety of depth and tone. I let the materials lead me; the card, the board, the paint, so that slowly (and sometimes quickly), all the elements align. It’s a fluid process that moves backwards and forwards until I reach a sense of balance. Of course, the choice of thread is an integral part of the work, the gift of illumination which gives the final piece its reflective punch.
What is your most important tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?
A needle for punching and stitching.
A scalpel blade (A Swann-Morton 10A to be precise).
Can you give us a book recommendation that has been important in your practice? And tell us why it’s important.
Sheila Hicks, ‘Weaving as Metaphor’, book created by Irma Boom.
In the mid twentieth century, Sheila Hicks’ broke new ground by bringing the ‘women’s’ craft of weaving to a fine art forum with her exquisite, abstract textile pieces. ‘Weaving as Metaphor’ is a collection of her work over a fifty-year period, brought together into the most beautiful book, designed by Dutch artist Irma Boom. The book is a work of sublime art in it’s own right. The concept, binding and especially the paper, developed and created in Japan specifically for this limited edition, is literally a wonder to hold and behold.
Finally, is there anything new coming up that you would like to tell us about?
I have 2 pieces in ‘A Generous Space’ at Hastings Contemporary until April 17th 2022
Recently I have been experimenting with acrylic varnishes, which effect the depth and reflective nature of the work, capturing light and guiding your eye around the image. It’s an evolving process which I’m excited to be experimenting with on some of my new pieces.
1. Molten 2021, 32cm x 24cm, collage and acrylic with stitching.
2. Play 2021, 50cm x 50cm, limited edition fine art print, taken from an original collage.
3. Goblet 2020, 18cm x 21cm, collage and acrylic with stitching.
4. Rosebud 2022, 27cm x 33cm, collage and acrylic with stitching.
5. Hide 2020, 37cm x 48cm, collage and acrylic with stitching.
6. Olive 2021, 50cm x 50cm, limited edition fine art print, taken from an original collage.
7. Sketchbook 2022.