I studied printmaking at Brighton Polytechnic followed by an MA in Sequential Design and Narrative Illustration at the University of Brighton. I joined the University of Portsmouth in 1998, having previously taught in Further Education, Secondary Schools and Community Arts. I also set up and ran Gallery Zero One: a retail and gallery space specialising in fashion and textile related products.
My research investigates the employment of traditional domestic craft techniques within academia and the wider design community. It explores whether the use of traditional domestic craft techniques, outside of their vernacular context, subjugates and relegates the craft to a lower position within a visual hierarchy, redefined by the (higher) artist/designer, thus alienating the community within which the skills and traditions are held and practiced. The reading of such work requires the viewer to understand the appropriation and subversion of the techniques used, again creating distance from the traditional practitioner. I am exploring whether collaborative methods can be employed to address this, generating work which has mutual authorship and communal ownership, whilst implicitly containing the individual’s contribution. Observation of the emergent practice is allowing for an exploration of how the individual contributions may have been changed by this interactive process. It explores how the skills of domestic craftspeople can be incorporated into the discourse of professional crafts practice. I have been recording articulations of a design process by amateur domestic craft practioners through interviews and personal narratives and have created a series of craft pieces in response to this information.
In my own practice, I have experimented with combining and layering techniques within printmaking, to capture the hand-drawn, physical nature of the process. I have explored the possibilities of narrative and illustrative textiles, using feminist literature, domestic artefacts and the deeds of my house as sources of inspiration.
My more recent work has utilised traditional domestic craft techniques as a means of salvaging and adorning thrown-away clothing through obvious and overstated use, which at one and the same time renders the items both more and less functional.
An eternal obsession with drawing is determining my current work through the relationship of drawing to stitch and the transformation of drawing through design software.