Textiles need not be defined by materials or by process.
My graduation collection from GSA in 1983 included decorated cakes and textiles, birds, trees and naked figures abounding. The freedom of the Tapestry Department at The Royal College of Art encouraged the extension of the boundaries of textile practice, culminating in an installation of full scale stitched paper figures clothed in wildly embroidered textiles utilising fabric, wire, plastics and food.
These foundations of challenging preconceptions about the nature of textiles and the exploration of materials as a vehicle to extend techniques and applications, have been a constant in both my teaching and continued practice in Art and Design.
Research interests and activities
Themes: Virgin Christian Saints, Historic embroidery, Collaborative learning.
Materials: Food, concrete, paper, fabric, people.
Activities: As curator of the ECA embroidery collection I am currently engaged in researching the Needlework Development Scheme (1934-1961). The Challenge Investment fund is enabling the gathering of oral histories across the UK to compliment the sample and archival materials collection both here in ECA and nationally.
2013 Book, Saints and Cultural Trans-/Missions ISBN 978-3-89665-621-6, chapter, Who’s bones are they anyway.
2013, FTC conference, Sheffield, Speaker, title of paper Collective designers-the value of nurturing the truly collaborative voice.
With 25 years experience, I continue to learn how to teach better and to teach how to learn well. My research in collaborative practice and vertical integration has fuelled an interest in bringing together novices and experts in a bid to encourage new thinking. The inexperienced can act as a catalyst to innovation through their questioning and challenging the what if’s ?and why not’s of materials and processes?. The ‘experts’ are stimulated and tested to question their own preconceptions and blind beliefs.
I aspire to keep challenging expectations, and asking what is textiles anyway?