Winding Thread drawings

Installation, Winding thread, 2007
York St John University

Drawing composed of 5 different layers.
watercolour pencil and graphite on translucent paper. pearl head pins

Two hand printed, hand made books
(Ink, thread, translucent paper, watercolour paper and scrim)

The inspiration for my work is drawn from ordinary objects, gestures and glimpses of daily life. The sewing implements I concentrated on belonged to a woman called Frances, who was the great aunt of a friend. These simple sewing materials have little pecuniary value, yet are cherished objects that may be read as indicators of her life and times.

Spanning thousands of years, from the classical Greek to Norse mythology, there are stories concerned with thread and weaving, metaphors for human existence. Famous in western culture is the story of the Fates, referred to as the ‘Wyrd Sisters’ in Anglo-Saxon mythology, who spun the thread of one’s life and measured its extent. Needlework used as a metaphor for social, personal and cultural narrative. Unused bobbins are pristine, full of potential, with the thread still constrained. Needles are tools, life’s lessons; they are sharp but necessary for development. We need fastenings and hooks to hang on to and make bonds in relationships. The hands reference human conscious required to give direction and meaning.

My work as an artist is intimately bound up with my attention toward the tactile, material world; the quality and grain of paper, the scratching of the dry-point surface or the raised edge of a stitched line In making books my intention is that the viewer will share in this tactile experience; they are invited to handle the books, both to experience a deeper physical relationship to the work and to imprint something of themselves upon it leaving unintentional residue which then becomes part of the work’s history, its own life.

Although this work may be read as ‘feminine’ because of its subject matter my hope is that it resists gender specificity. Needlework has always been a process performed by, and of course essential to, both men and women. Not until the creation of the Medieval Guilds was the separation between male commercial and female domestic work begun*.

My intention is that this work should be quiet and attentive, as peaceful and serene as a Dutch interior, a homage to a domestic tranquillity that is the antithesis of the loudness, coarseness, information overload and sensational headlines that characterise much of our current culture; it asks us to retune to a quiet sensitivity that listens to the inner voice of our humanity.
*Rozsika Parker, ‘The Subversive Stitch’, 1984.

Shoe Drawings from Drawing works Exhibition, 2005

Self-portrait. 2005
Watercolour pencil on translucent paper,
750mm x 520 mm,
private collection

Portrait of a hard working man, 2005
Watercolour Pencil on translucent paper,
750 mm x 520 mm

Portrait of a young rugby player, 2005
Watercolour Pencil on translucent paper,
750 mm x 540 mm