The subject is the Sea, materials and medium are textile.
As an artist and teacher working predominantly, but not exclusively in Gobeiln tapestry, content is paramount in the development of my work. I aim to create a dialogue between the subject, the materials and the viewer. While traditional techniques and craftsmanship are important it is the idea, the vision and my hand that defines the work.
Growing up in the city, but by the waters edge, the sea is enormously important in my life. Over the last 30 years it has provided me with a starting point for my creative journey. Whether from personal experience or research in to all things maritime and marine. My aim is not to create a representation of the seas and oceans but something experienced, a deeply felt personal connection. It is as much a self portrait as it is a reflection on the sea.
Ideas take a long time to evolve, almost as long as it takes to weave them. Starting with an experience: a sea journey, yacht race, the local harbour, or a wet and windy day on the coast. This personal experience is enhanced by research, both written and visual. The studying of charts, reading of sea voyages and poetry. Drawing, painting, sampling and experimenting with materials and techniques all help to refine ideas. Inspired by the tactile qualities of materials from the painterly and drawn marks to the delicacy of handmade Nepalese paper or the translucency of tracing paper. They all speak their own language, some will need no further development, others will cry out “weave me” This is the challenge.
The manipulation of the woven tapestry technique increasingly plays an important role in the development of my work. Experimenting with the structure of weave, leaving warp exposed, pulling and pushing warp and weft to manipulate the work, all help to enhance the idea and concept. The hard dry qualities of linen and paper yarns give form to structure of the weaving and a subtle dry quality to the surface.
“Tide” is the latest collection of tapestry inspired by the movement of the waters around the coast of Scotland. This new collection of white linen manipulated weavings challenges me to exploit the construction and structure of tapestry, using it to represent the ebb and flow of the tide, the oceans currents, whirlpools and maelstroms. These powerful bodies of water, that are constantly moving, constantly changing can be dangerous and unpredictable places, a possible metaphor for our current, political, cultural and ecological future. We must navigate with care.