Notes from the Studio

After a busy six months of teaching, community projects and admin, I’m choosing to shake things up. I’ll be dedicating two days each week to my practice. Working in my studio or a local cafe, I’ll be researching, sampling and creating a series of work inside boxes, tins and cases.

This isn’t my first project working with cases, in 2017, I was commissioned by the Love Arts Festival to create a piece of work inside a suitcase. We exhibited at a pop up gallery event with First West Yorkshire. For one day, a double decker bus became an art gallery, showing the work of Yorkshire based artists inspired by journeys. My suitcase was filled with embroideries, each telling the story of my travels around the Yorkshire Coast.

The starting point for this new collection of work will be two wooden boxes that belonged to my grandma. The boxes have been stored in our loft for the past few years and I was surprised to see that they were filled with objects from my grandparents house. Aspirin bottles, jewellery boxes and wallpaper fragments greeted me as I opened up these beautiful boxes.

My work has always had a strong connection to objects and places so starting with my personal stories has allowed me to tackle some new pieces using research I have collected as part of other projects including Archive and Deconstruct/Reconstruct.

I’m a process led artist, so I love to start with fabric right away, planning and adjusting ideas and pieces as I go. My dedicated studio time allows me to work on hand embroideries that take a few hours, telling a story with each line of stitches. My first samples are centred on a jewellery box that belonged to my grandma.

The box has a very fragile paper lining which I’m planning to cover with hand embroidered fabric, starting with the lid. I’m looking to my maps of the village where I grew up, creating a stitched design inside the box. It wouldn’t be a collection of my work without a pin cushion or two. This piece is nestled inside a jewellery box from Cornwall.

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