Stories in the Making
Stories in the Making was a touring exhibition originated by Ruthin Craft Centre in 2005. As the title suggests the inclusion of a story was intrinsic to each piece, and my aim was to make a story inside the form of a wire garment. I worked from two sources:my family and favourite writers, and kept alternating between these two themes. My work is made from mild steel wire which I weld and paint,sometimes adding sheet metal.
I’m keeping flowers in full bloom 2005
Painted mild steel, laser cut steel, flocked print, stitched metal
134 cms x 134 cms
This was the last piece I made for the exhibition, and I was tired but elated that I was nearing the end of five years work. It is a celebration of women who juggle so much in their lives: housework – symbolised by the blue pot, the children – symbolised by the red baby,and the goose in the basket – which I could not resist including, I suppose it is yet another thing to be dealing with. This is the only piece to have movement in it, but I wanted to capture the excitement I felt at having achieved something momentous, while still keeping flowers in full bloom.
Painted mild steel,stitched aluminium
165cms x 63 cms
Dismantle celebrates my love of pattern pieces and the enjoyment I get from looking at a tacked and pinned piece of cloth.This piece came after Stories in the Making when I had run out of stories and was looking for new themes.
Mya’s apron, Annie’s dress 2003
Painted mild steel
122 cms x 71 cms
Mya’s apron, Annie’s dress is inspired by both my grandmothers, Annie and Mya, the fabrics they chose to wear and the embroidery they made. Very different women, Annie was flamboyant in her dress, whereas Mya, a nurse, wore more subdued clothes in terms of shape, but I remember a lot of small floral patterns. I have chosen the apron shape as the conduit for the imagery: I remember Mya wearing this type of garment; but I have decorated it with much of the handiwork and wedding dress lace belonging to Annie. The colours come from Mya’s woven raffia handbag, which she used for special occasions. The bottom half of the apron has been deconstructed and reworked to resemble a dress in motion.
Everyone thought it was kitsch 2004
Painted mild steel
68 cms x 132 cms
The motifs in this piece come from a blue and white cotton embroidery, about a metre square, which would have been hung behind the stove to catch cooking stains in Hungarian kitchens. I bought many of these embroideries whilst researching in Hungary, but staff at the Ethnographic Museum in Budapest dismissed them as kitsch. I have broken down the original picture and repositioned the imagery so that it no longer makes a picture, but a decoration.
To Mother with love 2002/3
Painted mild steel/collected ephemera
150 cms x 49 cms
In the sixties my mother was very hip and fashionable and was drawn to wearing bright colours and lots of pattern. I have used images from my grandmother’s clothes in the bodice, to retain the link, but the main part of the piece owes something to Paco Rabanne and his chain linked dresses. The oblong shapes contain repeated images from from my mother’s clothes, a lace blouse, a trouser suit and a silk blouse. The overworking with fabrics, threads and pieces of metal came right at the end and it helps to make the piece softer and more like a textile.
Collection 2006 [with frieze]
Painted mild steel/fabric
165 cms x 122 cms
I made this piece especially for The Stories in the Making exhibition at Oriel Myrddin Gallery in Carmarthen.I was starting a new project at The National Wool Museum,called Drawing out the Collection and was eager to to draw differently by merging and layering information.
In this piece I decided to combine objects as if I was walking through a collection in a museum.