I am a textile artist living in the beautiful Peak District village of Parwich. Surrounded by steep sided limestone valleys, craggy outcrops, dry stone walls and lots of grazing sheep, this forms the inspiration behind my felt and stitch work. For me the Peak District acts as the lungs of the Midlands and its natural beauty and protected areas are something I wish to share through my artistic creations. I feel privileged to create work based upon where I live and I think it’s critical to show both the artistic world and the general public the importance of discovering and better understanding the complexities of felt making as a credible and appreciated artform.
To supplement the traditional art of felt making I incorporate a strong element of freeform stitching to highlight the finer details of my work. Using the wet felting method I build up layers of dyed fibres considering the elements of art; form, line, colour, space and texture. Using similar principles a watercolour artist would with their paints. Layers of coloured fibre laid more densely create a deeper shade. I usually make the pre-felt (substrate) with white fibres then I can apply colours on top using the ‘light’ from the white beneath, as a watercolorist would do with paper. I like to add texture to my pieces, little areas of interest; for example, the lichen and mosses on a drystone wall. I then use free motion machine embroidery, to complete my work. Each picture I stitch is totally free form, no mark making or colouring between the lines. I like to consider how the fibres lay then overstitch using a variety of machine threads, often adding elements of hand stitching too.
It is not just the technical work of felt making and stitching that is a motivation behind my artwork, I also ensure that many of the wool fibres I use are locally sourced. I think it is important to support local businesses not only for economic reasons but with the addition of positive environmental benefits. As my artwork is based on nature and the surrounding landscapes of the Peak District, environmental sustainability plays a significant part in the process of choosing the fibres I use for my pieces.
The joy that this artform brings to my customers is what I find most gratifying about my work as an artist; being able to see so many people enjoy the landscapes I interact with on a daily basis evokes strong emotions that I believe art should also encapsulate.
I am a self-taught artist and still relatively new to my art, I love to learn through experimentation. I am humbled that my work has sold to many people outside the Peak District area, having sold to customers across the UK, USA, Canada and Australia.
I am a proud member of S.E.W. The Society for Embroidered Work. 'Promoting and supporting the best in stitched art Worldwide'. www.societyforembroideredwork.com