Artist Statement

My work over the past year has been focusing on textile installations mostly made through the process of crochet. I am interested in the perception of men and women in society today, how this impacts them and how to create an awareness of this. I use bright colours and soft textures to implicate a safe feeling within my work, with an aim to endorse comfort and relaxation. Influenced by fibre artists all over the world, I use crochet as my platform to promote peace, equality and amenity.

After personal experience of a loved one, my Degree show piece titled ‘Safe Place’ is a yarn-bomb installation with a path and garden. It is a display of what I consider my comforts and made to make you feel comfortable and safe. It is full of vibrant colours from both the wool and flowers, and is set outdoors in the fresh air. I made this piece to be a sensual experiences as you walk through, you are able to smell, hear, see and touch different things, and each visit can alternate along with the weather of the outdoors. Safe Place has taken place over the past 3 months, as each tiny square of crochet has been put together to form a taught coverage.

Safe Place is a space for you to be in touch with your inner self and find peace and calmness amongst day-to-day life.

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Working alongside Madina

I have been having many conversations with Madina on my course about our degree show work. Her piece only a short walk away from mine, ties in really well together. She is looking in to the Suffragette movement and has created a bunting of washing lines across the garden behind the PTBM studios. Strictly keeping her colours to black and white, we believe there is an interesting contrast between our work but with similar intentions. We have both been keeping each other’s spirits up throughout the difficult weather conditions, both working outside. I also recommended a couple of artists to her which I think relate to her piece, and she has assisted me with simple conversations about technical aspects of my work and how we can make our pieces work together.

Studio Clear Out

On Saturday 27th May I headed in to university to help out with the clearance of the PTBM studios and set up of exhibition walls and space. It was such a hot day but together, everybody working in a team and communicating efficiently we managed to get it done within good time.

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Hanecdote – Hannah Hill

Hanecdote is a young embroidery artist who I discovered through Instagram. Her work explores Feminism, body positivity and the London grime scene. I admire her free hand embroidery as I respect the difficulty of the technique and the level of skill she obtains. Hannah is a really influential online presence in regards to the context of her artwork and Instagram posts, her artwork has even been used by the UAL student’s union and grime artist Nadia Rose. I was so intrigued by Hannah’s work and context that I interviewed her for my MCP.

What do you think of embroidery as a medium within a Fine Art practice?

I think embroidery is such a versatile medium, which can be used seamlessly with other mediums in endless ways. Embroidery and other textiles techniques have been used by feminist artists who want to reclaim space in the art world with mediums which don’t have such historical connections with men. 

With the ongoing development of technology, why do you think artists of our generation have decided to revert back to forms of needlework as a medium?

I think its nice to take a step back from technology and to immerse yourself in an activity which takes skill or time and concentration. I find it relaxing to focus on the process of hand making something, its so rewarding. I love technology, Im obsessed with instagram, so I actually like the contrast of a traditional medium such as stitching and then sharing on social media.

Do you think social media has impacted how women see themselves?

Social media has definitely impacted how I see myself and other women. Online I follow babes of all colours, shapes, sizes and abilities, who are beautiful inside and out and share ways of learning to love yourself. 

What does body positivity mean to you?

Body positivity means being kinder to yourself and being kinder to others. Trying to unlearn toxic thought processes about body image and beauty standards and going by what you are most comfortable with yourself. Not judging anyone else choices about their bodies. It feels like constant work but i has to be worth it in the end.

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Collaboration with my mother and progress

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My mum has always been a huge inspiration to me. Always encouraging my creative side as a child and young adult, we used to cross stitch together on holiday and always enjoy creating together. She taught me how to crochet during my first year of university, so was excited to hear about my degree show project. She crocheted granny squares in her spare time around work and other commitments to send to me in the post for my piece. My mum came in to assist with the installation of my work for 2 days, Saturday 3rd June and Monday 5th June. Having her there was a huge help as we worked as a team – one person to attach the panels to the staircase and the other to attach the squares together in preparation for this.

Collaborating with my mum was particularly important to this project as it was difficult to have technical conversations with people at university about the installation of the work or to fix any hiccups along the way due to the medium I chose. This is something I had to remain patient with and accept as the medium was a choice of mine and I had to be aware of technical difficulties when I undertook this challenge.

Garden & Further Development

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I found out through peers on my course that Gema also planned on using compost in her Degree show piece. With the convenience of having a car at the time, I offered to drive both Gema and I to the garden centre to get the compost and bring it straight to uni. I also bought some bark chip, to create a definitive path through the space with compost either side to bed colourful flowers in bloom. Laying down the compost and bark chip, I decided the best option was to lay tarpaulin on the ground, with the compost and bark chip on top, for an easier de-installation process and to ensure the compost could be re-used by Pete if he so wishes.

My first year helper, Michelle, helped me with this process of laying it all down and spreading it out. After getting half way, it was quite clear we were in need of a lot more compost and bark chip to fill the space sufficiently. So as we were unsure when Michelle would be able to help me next, we decided to head straight back to the garden centre and finish the garden today – which we did! Michelle was a fantastic help for this process, on a boiling hot day and a fair bit of heavy lifting, I’m sure I would have struggled to cope on my own.

Koestler Trust

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In the Summer of 2016, I began volunteering for a prison arts charity called the Koestler Trust. In this role, I would visit their HQ every Friday at HMP Wormwood Scrubs, writing feedback to inmates for the pieces they have submitted for the Koestler Awards. These pieces were then exhibited at the Southbank Gallery in November 2016. I was able to assist with the organisation of pieces of artwork in to categories in preparation for the upcoming exhibition. I am continuing to volunteer with the trust again this summer, as they prepare for the Koestler Awards 2017. Working with the trust has encouraged my interest in art therapy, which I am really keen to look in to as a career.