I grew up in Suffolk where the skies are vast and the land is low and flat. My grandad was an architect and he taught me the rudiments of technical drawing when I was 9. He made me a drawing board and a T square, and showed me how to sharpen a pencil with a knife.
I ventured north to York were I studied fine art at University (YSJ) and specialised in textile design. I had fun with pots of wax, resin, shiny fabrics and butterfly’s wings. From there I spent a year in Huddersfield where I studied industrial applications and CAD; fewer butterflies, more Loom Sheds!
My first design job sat me in a sterile studio changing colourways of prints to match company logos and I was never allowed to get my hands dirty. I missed my fingers being permanently stained with Prussian blue, and so I started to paint again.
In 1999 I moved to Sheffield, and after a while I started to sell my work in galleries, and in the art and craft markets there. I made many great friends. I moved to Hebden Bridge in 2005.
My textile design background is always present in the way that I paint, and interpret what is around me. I see patterns in everything; the hills adorned with houses and washing lines, rows of flower pots and stripes of brightly painted drain pipes. Lines of gold thread trace lines through the landscape, and gold leaf changes the surface of my pictures with the changing light of day. I want to paint beautiful pictures of the places that I love. There are never people in my pictures but they’re full of life and warmth.
Hebden Bridge is home and is part of who I am and what I do. I love the warmth, the colour and the community of where I live. I love that almost everyone I meet in the street can do or make something beautiful. It inspires much of my work and the longer I am here, the more I learn about the town, and so my work develops. There is such history here. I hear stories from the people who remember the town when it was black and industrial and those who remember the hedonistic hippy days. The house I live in has seen it all, and we’re uncovering it’s histories as we pull up the floors and strip the walls.
I live in Hebden Bridge with my husband and my three small children. I can see trees from my studio window at the front of the house. There are the remains of a vast mill chimney in my garden. It is full of nesting birds.
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