I make work to show you my world, looking outwards and inwards. It turns out that it’s the making that shows me my world.
My MA work was about memory and especially the role of forgetting in the story we tell ourselves about our own life. My family photographs don’t interest much with my memories. It was as though they were documenting someone else’s life. But everything that happened shaped me even if there were no photographs. And gaps make room for re-interpretation, re-examination and re-imagining.
That led to my interest in multiple narratives and versions, drawings and photographs. It seems obvious now that, as a twin, my life has always been full of multiple narratives and other points of view derived from the same experiences. But it took me a while to figure it out. Rediscovering the seemingly obvious has become another theme in my work.
And it makes another connection with my earlier life: my BA was in Classics and Greek Archaeology, a subject area defined by loss, recovery and re-discovery. What first interested me in archaeology as a child was the idea that you could reconstruct something – a poem, a building, a whole city – from silent fragments, often of everyday life.
The idea of the everyday brings me back to my childhood memories which are mostly generic and apparently mundane. But most of life consists of the apparently ordinary and mundane, which when viewed from another angle or another time is revealed to be extraordinary. You just have to find that other angle, that other time and place.
My textile work unites my hands, my materials and my ideas. Felting, the most basic and probably the earliest fabric, transforms individual wool fibres, embedding them irreversibly into a new material with its own character. My process is based on constructing and re-constructing, re-imagining at each stage what my materials can do. There is an intrinsically uncontrollable element in felting which means that the final form of a piece is known only when it is finished – and (for all practical purposes) cannot then be altered. Only then do I see what I have made and what it could mean.
As I circle round these themes of forgetting, re-discovering, constructing and re-constructing, I bring to light more of my world
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
from T S Eliot The Four Quartets
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