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Arts Practice and Processes

As a textile artist, I am inspired by hidden stories and memories, protecting and honouring them through stitch. I explore relationships not only with others, but also the wider world. My work is conceptual, and research based – I love looking for and using quirky, often overlooked facts.

All of my artwork begins with research; it is fundamental to my art practice and often provides the meaning behind my work. Research can be gathered in many forms – I may research online, look at images, talk to people or visit places. All the time I’m looking for that unusual element that really speaks to me. It’s often a quirky fact that draws my attention.

This artwork, called Spark, is a good example. I was commissioned by Ilkley Literature Festival to create work on the theme of Spark. I began by researching the word spark and apart from the obvious meanings of the word discovered that spark is also a data processing computer programme, which provides a processing structure. I then developed the idea of a structure in which to process information resulting in the artwork being supported by a wooden structure. The mainstream meaning of spark was explored with synonyms hand embroidered across the background in bright colours that are often found in sparks. I added flecks of metallic thread across the background to represent sparks from a flame. To complete the spark meaning I scorched marks across both the fabric and the wooden structure with a soldering iron.

This work told the story of spark in a wider way and although there wasn’t an obvious relationship element in the work this came afterwards. The work was part of a Chain Reaction programme and was used to inspire other artists to create work based on both my work and the word spark.

Materials are central to my work – it's essential to me that they further the narrative and expand the meaning behind the work. For this reason, I often use non-traditional textile materials such as wood, found items, metals and paper in my work. I often select preloved items, taking their history apart to reveal their story. During this process I reflect on the previous owners and their use of the item; these musings often affect the final piece.

Lady in a Sieve is one of the pieces that brings these elements together. The vintage wooden sieve led me to consider its actual use and who was likely to have used it. Given the age of the sieve I supposed it would have been a female and began thinking back to a time when, traditionally, females would look after the home and the children, whilst males were free to work and develop a career. These musings then made me think about how frustrating it would have been to be a female who wanted to work and have a career yet be unable to do so. From here I developed this work – the lady in the sieve who, due to her being a female, was at home cooking and cleaning yet yearning for something more. Dreaming about something different.


The hand embroidery was done using vintage threads of a similar age to the sieve to further add to the narrative behind the work. There’s something so lovely about hand embroidering in vintage threads – the way it feels and sits on the fabric is just so nice.

The techniques I choose to create the work must further the narrative and be relevant to the work. If I’m working on a piece that tells a story about a particular era, I’ll research textile techniques and stitches that were popular at this time and use those. I create my work using both hand and free machine embroidery – sometimes in the same piece if that is appropriate.


Hand embroidery creates a connection with the work. It enables me to reflect and develop the work further whilst it is progress. Free machine embroidery is more instantaneous, giving a different look to the finished work.

Natural dyeing features in my work, making a connection to place and time. The processes chosen for this mean that the results will never be the same, which adds intrigue and excitement to my work.

You can see more of my work on my social media pages here and here I often share work in progress as well as my artwork when it completed. I also have some work on my website here and also a Facebook group that you can join here. My Facebook group is for those interested in textile art, who are inspired by it and would like to learn more. You can share work you’ve created, look at the work of others and I also share hints and tips alongside textile related news I think people will be interested in. I’d love to see you there.

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