What Inspires You?

I’ve subscribed to Embroidery since 2000 when I was studying for my degree. The magazine was on the recommended reading list and I found the articles a change of pace from the more traditional magazines about textile art.

The September/October edition arrived this week and the intro from editor Jo Hall was the inspiration for this piece.

It’s a question that artists are asked regularly. What inspires you? It can prove tricky to answer. The range of elements that make up an artist’s work often make it difficult to identify a true inspiration. But ask an artist who or what has influenced them, the answers flow more easily.

The biggest influence in my life was my grandparents who adopted me at the age of two, they were very creative, practical people who taught me so many skills.

Me & my Grandparents, 1980
Me & my Grandparents, 1980

Our house was filled with exciting objects and books, I think some of my friends thought I lived in a museum! The day trips and holidays we took gave me the biggest influences in my practice.

The Yorkshire Coast

Runswick Bay
Runswick Bay

I have been visiting the Yorkshire Coast for as long as I can remember, it has been the inspiration for projects such as Time & Tide and a place where I can centre my thoughts when I’m feeling overwhelmed.

I love to beach comb and collect objects to incorporate into my work, using rusted metal fragments to dye fabrics.

Rust Pin Cushion
Rust Pin Cushion

My latest commission is inspired by these journeys around Runswick Bay, Whitby and Scarborough. Love Arts Leeds, an annual celebration of creativity and well-being takes place in October. I have been asked to create a piece of work inside a vintage suitcase which will be exhibited in Leeds on 14th October as part of the Love Arts Pop Up.

Suitcase at Runswick Bay
Suitcase at Runswick Bay

The National Trust

Fountains Abbey Image courtesy of www.nationaltrust.org
Fountains Abbey, Image courtesy of http://www.nationaltrust.org

We visited so many beautiful National Trust properties when I was growing up, they inspired my love of textiles and interest in history. We spent many weekends walking around Fountains Abbey and exploring Brimham Rocks and I still love to visit places like Nunnington Hall and the Carlisle Collection, a beautiful collection of miniature rooms.

The Queen Anne Drawing Room image courtesy of www.nationaltrust.org
The Queen Anne Drawing Room, Image courtesy of http://www.nationaltrust.org
Housed at Nunnington since 1981, the Carlisle Collection is now an intrinsic part of the house and collection. Gifted to the National Trust in 1970 and is regarded by many as one of the finest collections of miniatures. The collection is noted for the high quality craftsmanship and attention to detail, as well as its unusual scale.The collection was the creation of Mrs Carlisle, fondly known as Kitty, began as a few pieces of miniature Indian silver displayed in an alcove of her London home. She began collecting antique miniatures in 1921 and over the next forty years, the collection grew to form a magnificent collection of period rooms.
Whitby Museum
Whitby Museum, Image courtesy of www.whitbymuseum.org.uk
Whitby Museum, Image courtesy of http://www.whitbymuseum.org.uk
On our visits to Whitby each year we visited Whitby Museum regularly, my love of archives started here, exploring their collections. I have been meeting with the museum this year to discuss an exhibition responding to pieces from their archive as I did with Thackray Uncovered.
Narwal Skeleton at Whitby Museum
Narwal Skeleton at Whitby Museum
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