My current project begun last summer with bits and pieces I had collected from the garden and on walks in the countryside. My collection included pieces of bark, dried leaves and petals which were twisted and contorted into interesting shapes and often exhibited striking colour combinations.
One of the shrubs in the front garden was so attacked by insects that the leaves barely held together for the holes left behind! What remained were incredibly delicate lacy leaf-shapes, perforated with irregularly shaped holes.
To begin with I was interested in how pieces of bark were layered with scales and their irregular shapes when they have come off the tree trunk. I made some similar shapes from papier mâché which I then used as surfaces to draw patterns and do mark-making on, inspired by the materials collected. Experimenting with different paint effects and methods of distressing, applied to twigs and the papier mâché shapes has inspired me to look at ageing and deterioration again – a theme I often return to.
I think that there is something really beautiful about the effects of deterioration, in nature, on man-made materials and also on textiles. Methods of repair, such as darning, patching and the tiny stitching used in Japanese boro can add further character.
I have always found the use of clothing as a statement about attitude and unorthodox ways of thinking as displayed in youth culture groups, to be very interesting and particularly when clothes and textiles are deliberately damaged to express a spirit of defiance and deviation from convention. As more environmentally-considerate approaches to lifestyle are adopted as well as in this time of ‘austerity’, economic restraint; methods of re-using, re-cycling and up-cycling are highly valued.
Textiles displaying meticulous mending skills or being of vintage origin are viewed as treasures which have survived the passing of time. These are the ideas I am looking at as I endeavour to explore textile possibilities at the moment. There is a romance about something which is worn or weathered and it becomes the subject of a story that the imagination seeks to define.