Photo: Textiles in Practice MA – Year 1

Just over a year ago I applied to Manchester School of Art to do the Textiles in Practice MA. I had an interview at the end of August and started a few weeks later. I am doing it part time alongside my work as a theatre designer and community artist so will take me 2 years to complete with a final exhibition in September 2018.

The purpose of my MA is to build up a portfolio of personal practice to support applications for collaborative & community projects as many briefs now demand a high artistic end result alongside the community output in the form of an exhibition, public artwork or publication. I feel the central themes within my range of work can be linked to community, ecological, heritage and regeneration projects. This will also provide a body of work that can be submitted for exhibitions.

I am also using the MA to find my focus for personal making i.e. when not directed by a brief or collaboration, and discover what I make when I am ‘under-employed’, to keep developing my skills, my voice and maintain my sanity.

Through the creation of three-dimensional textiles, I explore at how we find beauty, value and purpose in things that are old or discarded. I investigate ageing and how things change appearance & shape over time, not just eroding or decaying but also new layers of growth, giving interesting juxtapositions of structure and colour.

Generally, I use found materials particularly old clothes and scraps, continuing my appreciation of the old and discarded but also making my practice more sustainable. I add new layers using both print and embroidery and shape them using both stitch and casting techniques. As well as using waste for inspiration and as my main material, I also use waste materials in my print techniques and as formers to dictate the shape of my structures.

I have been researching into opinions on recycling/upcycling and into people’s love of the old and their fascination with ruins and other artists making work around these themes. I have assessed the print and stitch methods that I use and explored other print and stitch techniques new to me to develop the most appropriate methodology for my work.

I have continued to develop the ‘Beached’ series which has developed on from my She Sews Seashells series plus creating work within the framework of the London Road Project, looking at my core themes but within the context of a building.