Growing up, my mother made my clothes (including bikinis made of curtain material and curtain rings). She also made clothes for other people. She had a dedicated sewing room in the house. When she wasn’t making clothes for the family or others, she would spend her evenings in front of the television doing embroidery or crewel work. In later years, it was patchwork and appliqué – something she is still passionate about.
Despite being taught to sew from a young age and spending my young adulthood occasionally making clothes I couldn’t afford to buy, I have never enjoyed the process. I always declared I didn’t have the patience for it, probably brought about by being made to unpick seams not deemed straight enough or neat enough.
So, with these scars and often saying I’m allergic to my sewing machine (which, for many years, I only used to repair my horse rugs), I find it somewhat amusing that my art practice occasionally pays homage to my mother’s passion for textiles. Several years ago I created line drawings of landscapes on linen using a sewing machine, framing them in embroidery hoops.
Today, in the studio I’m creating patchwork images of new urban developments on my “rocks” using paper mache. I’ve also been hand embroidering details into the banner I’m experimenting on for my new work, tacking and cross-stitching through the architect’s tracing paper I’m using. I’m not sure my mother would be so proud of my technique, but I do hope she appreciates the influence she has had on me all these years later.
This post is dedicated to Pam Goldsmith. Thanks Mum!