August 2021: This is an edited text of my virtual exhibition in May 2021.
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Twists of Thread: Notebooks, Bags and Quilts
My new notebook design combines fabric and paper. In these mini embroidered pictures, I have tried to capture a feeling of nostalgia and yearning for 'home'. I love the comfort of the textured feel of the fabric in the hand. Painting the fabric, stitching mini pictures in jewelled colours, making the paper boxes and folding the pages of the book provide the elements of the jigsaw. Hand sewn together they create a treasure journal with a hidden pocket. It’s a bit of magic!
A new, important aspect of my work is to support local creatives in far flung places. I chose to make the paper boxes in the notebooks from handmade Lokta paper which provides employment for people in Nepal.
I love making practical items, so as well as the embroidered covered notebooks, there are bags made from fabric pieces, left-overs from other projects. I made a blouse in the flamingo fabric and used the remnant to make a tote bag.
There are three Mandala wall hangings made in 2008 for an Artweeks exhibition. The inspiration was developed from 'mandalas', geometric patterns within circles. These patterns can be used as a focus for contemplation and meditation.
Queen of The Dance, Celebrating Life, Love, Hope, was originally the batik centre piece of a large African gown. The border is my own design and surrounds the central panel in a mosaic of blues and greens. A bold and beautiful dancer, she moves with freedom and spirit at one with all time. It can be a wall hanging or a quilt.
Finally, there is a selection of cards made from the front covers of some of my embroidered notebooks.
Sewing has always been a part of my life.
As a child, I watched fascinated as my mother turned cut out pattern pieces of fabric into finished garments. I am now on a more than 50-year expedition through this piecing and joining journey, using fabric and thread.
Moments of pause and memories fill my internal landscape, sources of inspiration: the sea, sun sparkling on water, open spaces, flowers and birds, the moon and sky, sunsets. Growing up in Trinidad influences my choice of colours: bold, strong contrasts of deep greens, vibrant reds, cerulean sea blues and the intense blue sky of the tropics. There is often a stitched sun with its rays radiating over the picture on my embroidered notebooks. An uplift to push above the grey cloud cover of Oxford.
My safari in fabric has enabled me to travel through many landscapes. To name a few: there was the framed picture phase, the fabric collages for jackets and waistcoats, fabric lanterns shining like light through stained glass, fabric covered boxes and machine stitched baskets, quilts and wall hangings. I explored the idea of using a design on fabric as a focus for meditation on Mandala wall hangings. The most recent quilt is of a joyous dancer celebrating Life, Love and Hope.