Textile pieces


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Although I use textiles in my work, my influences and inspiration are principally drawn from the art of Vincent Van Gogh, the German Expressionist painter Franz Marc and from the sketches the sculptor Henry Moore made for his pieces.

I use the technique of reverse appliqué when creating my textile pieces, sometimes using as many as seven layers to create some of my denser textile pieces.

When creating these denser pieces the costumes of the Elizabethan periods are very much in my mind, as are the altar cloths of the Medieval period.

The conception of a textile piece begins with me upending my stash of silks, organza and velvet and strewing them around my workroom and getting a "feel" for the colours.

Colours and textures are selected to create what is usually (but not always) an abstract piece.

Next a basic design is drawn and then picked out on a piece of calico. Then the layers of fabric are built up, interspersing the organza between the layers of silk and cotton, as the semi transparency of organza gives an ephemeral quality and allows the layers underneath to be partially seen.

The design is then picked out again, this time securing all the layers in place.

Then the fun of cutting back and over-sewing with machine embroidery thread begins! I build up layers of material and thread like painting on the canvas – I think of it as painting with a sewing machine. I use polyester thread, often Gütterman thread or Madeira embroidery thread. I use embroidery scissors, which have to be sharpened to a knife edge, for cutting back the layers.

Often I have several pieces in progress at a time, returning to each one and working on it until it is complete – I don't like to be rushed and the timescale from start to finish very much depends on the individual textile piece.

Once the textile piece is finished, it can be mounted or framed to hang on the wall. I have experimented with various framing and mounting techniques, but I never put the embroidered pieces behind glass as this would make them lose some of their depth and tactility.

More recently I have also started to work with soluble fabrics, which are also a feature of my craft workshops.

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