Hand weaving has been at the centre of my work for many years. From the first I loved the process of weaving; starting with a collection of threads and combining them to make a fabric. At University we would sample lots of ideas, but I remember weaving my first length of cloth and feeling this was ‘real fabric’. It’s what led me to start making my own work.
I have been a hand weaver for over twenty years working on a large traditional hand loom known a Dobbie loom. It was developed in the early 1800’s to weave small pattern fabrics such as damask. I love the fact that I am able to use it to weave contemporary fabrics.
Recently I have concentrated on my collection of handwoven scarves where I use combinations of more traditional yarns such silk, merino and linen. Hand weaving is a lengthy process, but for me there is a sense of satisfaction about working through the different stages with their different rhythms. Then finishing with a set of scarves that bring out the qualities of the materials and feel great to wear.
Sampling is still a key component of my design process. A weaver friend of mine once described me as a technical weaver, because I love to experiment with weave structures and materials to see what I can do with them. Over the years this has led me to weave with a range materials from wire and horsehair to paper yarns. From these experiments I created a number of art-led pieces that I framed.
I trained in Manchester at the Polytechnic (now Manchester Metropolitan University) completing my BA (Hons) Degree in Constructed textiles. The main focus of this course was design and it gave me a good grounding in weaving techniques. Most of all it gave me the confidence in weaving to try things out and experiment with materials and combinations.
Some 10 years later in 2003 I completed my MA in Textiles at Goldsmiths, University of London. This was looking at textiles more as an art form and it was here that I was able to take my love of experimenting with structure and materials to a new level.
I have been a member of the Art Workers' Guild since 2007. Founded in 1884 The Guild currently has a membership of over 350 members around the country. For me it is an opportunity to meet art workers of many different disciplines. www.artworkersguild.org
Fellow of the Society of Designer Craftsmen.
This society has a long history starting in 1887 as the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society. For me it is also tied up with my own family history. My Uncle, a furniture maker, is a Fellow and his father, my grandfather also belonged as a rug weaver. I was selected as a member of the Society in 2007 and was delighted in 2017 to become a Fellow. www.societyofdesignercraftsmen.org.uk
Books & Publications
My work has appeared in the following:
Art Worker's Guild 125 years: craftspeople at work today Lara Platman 2009 Unicorn Press pp102-3
Textiles Now Drusilla Cole 2008 Laurence King Publishing Ltd. London pp 70 & 81
London Studios A Japanese publication
A Natural Affinity Selvedge April May 2005