My partner David, who is a potter (and also a blogger), has asked me to take part in a blog hop. It seemed churlish to refuse, and also turned out to be quite a challenge as these are big questions. I’ve tried to be brief though…
What am I working on?
I’m currently on the cusp of a few different things. In my community-based practice the funded project that I’ve managed for two years exploring the textile heritage of Bradford is coming to an end (see my previous post). It’s been very rewarding work and has included creating community dye gardens, reminiscing sessions with community members about textile histories, textile making and dyeing projects, and archive-based research. I shall miss it. I’m also currently working on a dye and stitch based piece (work in progress pictured above) for an exhibition that opens in January 2015. Artists have been asked to respond to items from the extensive Bradford Textile Archive. I’m also about to submit the manuscript of my first book.
How does my work differ from others of it’s genre?
I’m not sure that this makes my work ‘different’ but I find that my community-based practice informs much of what I do. It’s a cyclical thing - all about making connections, sharing ideas and looking for the unforeseen outcomes. I like the way that slow textile processes can be used in all sorts of ways, and the pleasure I get from them I translate into my teaching and other work with communities.
Why do I do what I do?
For me the connection between making - using my hands - and thinking is an essential part of my life. I have been very lucky to find a way of using these ideas in a wide variety of ways and earn a living doing it. It also means I get to work with wonderful, passionate, diverse and interesting people.
How does my process work?
I like to start with one thing. It can be an object, a colour, a plant, a line of text, a texture. Through investigating it, researching it, finding stories about it I find a way of working with it – whether in teaching, community projects or in my own textile pieces. These processes are slow and require research, thought and reflection. It sometimes feels like a massive battle to get anywhere, but I’m much more patient than I used to be…
I'm passing these four questions on to two local friends of mine: Hannah Lamb, textile artist and academic, maker of beautiful and inspired textiles and installations, and Chrissie Freeth, tapestry weaver, writer and editor, whose slow approach to making and interpretation of textile heritage I much admire.