My background

I have been fascinated with textiles from a young age. One of my earliest memories is making dresses for my dolls with my maternal grandmother. She used to make me the most amazing dresses with pictures on the front that were upside down. This was so that when I looked down they were the right way up. This taught me that what we wear is about us not anyone else.

I enjoyed art through school, although a love/hate relationship grew with flowers as they were often the subject of watercolour studies and the annual Wales in Bloom competition. This very formal approach did not suit my style and I avoided them as a topic in my work if I could.

Whilst still at school I became actively involved in the drama department. I had many roles on and off stage. Many of my onstage costumes seemed to involve black, however I discovered a love for mask making and costume/prop design.

In college I focused on my passion for garments studying fashion and textiles. It was here that I began making my own fabrics. The idea that something could be truly unique from concept to realisation by utilising a completely one-off fabric as well captured my imagination. I also played with my passion for uniforms. My final collection was based on camo wear for the high street, which may not seem so radical now, but in 1998 it was not really a thing. My tutor tried to fail me saying it was never going to take off as no one would ever wear it! Thankfully I justified my position and passed my course and moved on to university after a gap year travelling and working outdoors.

In university I side stepped and studied Fine Art and the History of Art and Material Culture. This gave me a broad range of skills to draw upon within my work. Although I continued to utilise textiles within my work, I also returned to my love of photography. I had racked up albums full on my travels and was still shooting on film at the time as digital was a very new media. Printmaking, painting and drawing also feature heavily in my work. I still often draw upon my knowledge of the history of Art to inform my own practice and love to play with ideas from the past within my costumes.

I worked for several years as a coach and freelance artist. My creative work being mostly photography and journalistic work. I did continue to make textiles, but more as a personal outlet rather than a commercial one.

In my late 20s I went back to university and trained as a secondary school teacher. Fine art, of course, with a specialism in ALN (additional learning needs). Then, to further my research I gained a Masters Degree in Fine Art focussing on engagement of the public with Art. I have always felt that art and craft were something that should be accessible and enjoyed by everyone, not to be put in a white box and kept at arms length for the high few while they sipped on their wine and stared at not a lot in a white room. Creativity is central to wellbeing and the enjoyment of life. After all, did Churchill not remind us that without the Arts what were we fighting the war for.

For six years I ran a community Art centre giving opportunities to locals and those from father afield to become involved in art and craft for this very reason. Here we held national exhibitions, supported charities, gave textiles a voice in the art world, started many artists on their journey and built the confidence of many more. It was a great hub for the community, but not something I could do forever. For many reasons it came to an end and life moved on in a different direction.

In my wellbeing journey I have studied neuroscience, NLP, CBT, hypnotherapy, mindfulness, and the role that art and craft have to play in the process of wellness. A theory that is central to my work is wabi sabi as it had a life changing effect on me when I found it back in 2008. The promotion of wellness through various means is central to my work still today.

I choose to work in line with the environment as much as I can, as I am lucky enough to have grown up in some of the most beautiful areas of the UK. The Cotswolds, Norfolk, Devon and North Wales. These areas have taught me that we have a world that is worth saving and my work is made in ways that will not damage it further, in fact I aim with some of it to promote the restoration of our planet. This is definitely when I rekindled my love of flowers as I am able to approach them in a way that is more natural and forgiving.

I work a lot outdoors. I grow a lot of the things that are used on my work in my own garden or forage for them in the local woods. It is really important to me that the work represents the world around me in a real way. My colour palette is generally natural and earthy with pops of blue. Nothing unnatural or forced. Gentle and harmonious. Balanced.

How does the kink side fit with this? It’s easy. At nineteen I was issued a press pass to a fetish ball and I never looked back. Have you seen the outfits?!

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