My love of the the sea and the shore line.
Some of my earliest memories are of a beach… Totland Bay in the Isle Of Wight. The feeling of the soft sand under my bare feet. Paddling, but being aware that the sea was big and could swallow you up. A kind of delicious fear like the fear you get in some fairy stories.There is a saying that you are either a mountain or a sea person…I’m definitely the latter.I think I might have inherited my mothers passion.
I buried her ashes in the churchyard at Wembury (above), just beyond Plymouth Sound. My mother was born in the parish with her two sisters and younger brother. Her sisters ashes were scattered just outside the church wall, on the cliff side (she didn’t approve of religion!) My mother spent the whole of her life pining to get back to the west country . Whenever she had a holiday from her work in the civil service, she would take a cottage close by, either in Devon or Cornwall.
Wembury beach is a very important site for scientific research into the inter tidal zone, it has wonderful rock pools. I also have this longing for the west country, but at least I have fulfilled my dream of living next to the sea. This afternoon, 14 October, the weather was warm and balmy. I rode my scooter along the promenade, the sea was still and silvery the water was so clear you see the colour of every pebble, it was beautiful and I knew I was lucky to be able to experience it.
I had decided to use textiles especially threads and strings to make work expressing my experience of the Tresco beach. I had so many photographs of every aspect, the different sea weeds, the shells, the striations on the sand, the rock pools and the rocks. Many people and especially men, think that the use of textile is just for craft, or for functional purposes, I have never been particularly interested in using then in that way, I wanted to use them just as you would paint, stone, metal etc. Why not? I can remember how delighted I was when I had my first male students on my college textile course (incidentally they both came from the Channel Islands)
As usual I always use my sketch books to develop my ideas.
Above. I wanted one part of the structure to be solid as a support for free flowing elements. Every time I go to a museum I draw things that interest me and sometimes there is a fusion of two ideas.
I had done small experimental tests with different threads, woven, knitted or crotcheted to see which ones could be most easily shaped. My favourite materials became sisal, jute, horsehair thread and the tougher wool produced for Tapestry weaving.
Rock pool. Detail. Woven tapestry, crotcheted free elements. Jute and tapestry wool. Sold
Below. Tapestry plus free moving wrapped threads. Sold
Below Sea anenomes. Crocheted Jute, dyed silks. Sold
Below Eddy Layered and cut dyed cloth, Sold
I’ve never got tired of the theme and the way in which it has developed. I’m always quite amazed when someone wants to buy the things I do, I certainly never make them with selling in mind. I always hope they will go to a good home. I have sold quite a lot that I forgot to photograph…sad.