Here in Glamorgan the coastline is battered by the stormy waters of the Bristol Channel and the cold grey Irish Sea. Weather systems reaching the slopes of the Blaenau Ridge some 10 miles inland bring with them some of the highest rainfall totals in the British Isles. On more days than not the hills here are shrouded in mist and low clouds. They may look like barren heath and moorland but often the ground is brackish bog, criss-crossed by narrow sheep tracks and stone-edged causeways. These cloudswept hills – their legends, landscape and people – are what inspire my work as a textile artist. I use a range of creative stitchery techniques and much of what I make reflects an aspect of my current project. You can find out more about this in About Unlost Places
Slow Stitched Poetic Maps
I’m never sure whether the starting point for one of my slow stitched poetic maps is a walked journey through an ancient landscape or a snippet of some piece of folklore that I heard or read about some time in the past. I take scraps of fabric on walks and smear them with earth pigments or natural dyes. Back in the studio these rags are printed with snatches of the poetic tercets and then embroidered in layers to create an reflection of metaphysical features of landscape.
Part of the methodology of the Unlost Places project is that I collect found objects as I walk through different landscapes. Using free form knitting or free weaving to create wall hangings means I can incorporate tufts of fibres or feathers that I’ve come across in hedgerows or fences. Fruit, nuts, pebbles and twigs can all become part of the final piece of textile art and contribute to the authenticity of the piece as a reflection of a place in time.