Saturday, January 15, 2011

Artist's Biography and Artist's Statement

Artist’s Biography

I was born in rural Oxfordshire, England in 1966, but have lived in Scotland for the last fourteen years.

My love of arts and crafts began at an early age, when I would spend many happy hours painting, drawing, flower arranging, making collages from ‘found’ items, making figures out of fabric, weaving on cardboard ‘looms’, embroidery, and painting pebbles. I once made an ‘installation’ of a giant spider’s web that took up several rooms in our house made from the contents of my Mother’s knitting bag. On another occasion I mixed every jigsaw puzzle in the house together, hoping to come up with a new picture at the end of it. Since Mum was none too pleased at having to tidy up after me, I stuck to less ambitious artworks after that!

At Clifton Hampden Primary School, as well as the usual academic subjects, knitting, sewing, gardening and cookery clubs meant that we all enjoyed some ‘hands on’ practical work every week.

Berinsfield Comprehensive School allowed me to follow my interest in art and crafts with lessons in drawing, painting, pottery, woodwork, metalwork and even batik. I got an ‘O’ level in art and went on to study Art with Art History ‘A’ level at Wallingford Upper School.

I turned down a place at Maidenhead School of Art and instead chose to study Psychology. (We all make mistakes!) My interest in art continued with visits to Art Galleries and Museums, and eventually, as an adult, I again returned to my first love and began to make sewn goods such as bags, household items, small quilts and cushions to sell at local craft fairs.

Alongside this, I worked in a variety of jobs, including retail, administration, marketing, gallery assistant, book seller, and currently, a button seller.

In 2007, I discovered an online venue for selling my art and craft work, called I am not a prolific artist, and this way of selling a small number of artworks suited my way of working perfectly. You have direct contact with your customers on Etsy, and I occasionally take on commission work.

Although I have been contacted by shops and galleries wanting to sell my work, I have not yet taken that route, as I don’t have enough pieces available!

Artist’s Statement

I am passionate about making textile artwork, using new and recycled fabrics. I make rag rugs, patchwork, appliqués, collages, and also acrylic paintings.

I try to design with colour, beauty, humour and functionality in mind - or at least one of those things!

My ideas are usually drawn from nature, in particular, beautiful colour combinations. I often start with a life drawing or photograph, which is redrawn and simplified until it becomes icon-like, while retaining the essence of the original. (For example, ‘Euphie Guinea Pig’ was adapted from two paintings I made of a childhood pet).

Other sources of inspiration include:-

·         sitting down with a blank sheet of paper and just doodling whatever comes to mind. The doodle can be enlarged to form an abstract theme (for example, ‘Fire and Water’); or may turn into a picture (eg, ‘Secret Landscape’);
·         cutting out pictures or shapes from a magazine and arranging them to form a new image or pattern (‘Three Hills’ card);
·         altering a photograph through colour changes and with special effects, such as using a ‘mosaic’ filter in a programme such as Paint Shop Pro until the original subject becomes almost abstract and unrecognisable (‘Sunset on Snow’);
·         gathering fabrics together and picking out the colour combinations and textures that go well together (‘Raw Edge’ sample);
·         decide on the subject matter and work out how you can best express what you want to say. For example, (‘Austerity Britain’ and ‘Green Britain’ came about this way).

My favourite part of creativity is the problem solving and design:-
·         How can I best express an idea or image? This may involve making trial pieces to see what works and what doesn’t
·         Which medium will suit my idea best?
·         Which colour palette will I choose? And so on.

I hope to continue exploring my ideas through a variety of media.
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