I'm a designer maker living in the rural heart of the Midlands, England where I share my life and adventures with my dogs Patch and Parsnip. As a self-proclaimed contemporary folk artist, curator and all round good egg, I make art dolls, textile treats and other strange little fancies, mostly using reclaimed, vintage and carefully selected new materials. In many ways a typical child of the
1970’s, I grew up surrounded by thrifty, nifty creativity and some really
strange children's television. Both my grandmothers and my mother made and
embellished clothes, bedding and things for the home. They taught me to sew,
crochet (aka poke and hope) and hoard! We made and dressed most of my favourite
toys together. That excitement of bringing a character to life and telling the
story of it whilst doing so has never left me.
That simple love, fuelled by a curious
imagination, the need for whimsy and nonsense and a fascination with folk
art has subsequently led me down a long and sometimes quite jagged road. To
here, making "weirdly beautiful" little people … on my own, in my
room, laughing manically as I capturing their fluttering stories from around my
head. Well not quite.
'Here' is actually me developing a body
of work around subjects that are important to me and looking for ways to
use them to tackle things people don’t always like to talk about. Take ‘Laid to
Rest’ my current project. When I first tell people they often say “ugh how
morbid” but it’s not. Yes all the characters have died but I’m celebrating what
was important to them and the achievements of their lives. Plus giving them the
funeral they deserve. Why?
Because I believe it
is all too easy to “neglect to consider” how that person stood in front of you
is made up of a whole, big life. How all too often we see only a snapshot of
who they are and only during occasions such as a funeral, learn more about
someone than we ever did when they were alive. I have never yet met someone who after
a little conversation hasn’t surprised me.
So I use my self taught skills to reflect
upon this and my general fascination with people and the stories they tell. Life,
death, presenting a false self, telling tall tales, oddness and family folk stories
sit under the fabrics and stitches, the craft and my need to make.
So there it is. Sweet or saccharine,
lovely or creepy, whimsical, flippant and even a little naughty my work could
be seen as completely self indulgent. Me in my little room, making my little
friends. But I hope it’s not.