I make wearable art silk wraps, these picture scarves are fluid and the design is revealed or hidden depending on how the scarf is worn: draped over the shoulders the full story can be appreciated or loosely tied at the neck the design becomes an abstract picture of shape and colour.
It is this versatility that means my designs are not passive art for the walls but dynamic adornment. They celebrate the vibrancy of the wearer.
Fabulous hand made batik art scarves inspired by myth, nature and the Fens.
I work with molten wax but each design starts with a pencil drawn sketch. Often my designs start with a story, something fantastical. I think I have read so many fairy stories and books to my children that I have inhabited all their worlds and the dragons and knights, lions, unicorns, ancient gods and monsters are prominent in many of my pieces. I like to have a narrative to the designs so the story can be read in the pictures. However, some of my designs are all about here and now and the world of the Cambridgeshire Fens: a world full of water, sky, birds and reeds and seemly endless flat land.
I have many influences on the elements I include. Coming from the Isle of Man I grew up in a land of damp green glens, rocky shores, the stormy sea and myths that were so close to the surface that it was easy to believe that fairies could cause chaos so you didn’t paint your door green or mess with the tramon trees. The Manx Celtic heritage is my heritage too. It developed from the Scandinavian knot work on standing stones to Archibald Knox with his pointed loops and complex geometric closed patterns. My designs are all free drawn and my knot work is flowing and tangled more of a mind walk with a pencil than precision mathematics. I like to think that studying physics and working in engineering for 10 years gave me an appreciation of form, pattern, material, forces and a wonder at the universe. The precision of an engineering drawing with fine lines conveying meaning and relating to a 3 dimensional object shows up in my designs as the scarf is a 2 dimensional form that when worn conveys 3 dimensions. Plan and elevation are a recurring motive in my designs.
The realisation of each piece typically takes three weeks but some designs have been in my head more for more than 20 years. The silk is stretched on a frame and the design drawn in wax and dyes painted into each enclosed cell. I like to mix my own shades and often use pearlescent dyes to add sheen. Molten max is so fluid and free to draw with but at the same time it is capricious. Too hot and it spreads into a thick line, too cold and it beads on the surface not penetrating the fabric. Any splashes, stutters, too fast or too slow a movement are all permanent as are the dyes so the designs have idiosyncrasy and a naivety. Each piece shows the journey I have taken with it, every mark and line. Like life there is no going back. All my scarves are intended to be worn and can be hand washed and ironed dry.
I have been making my art scarves for over 3 years and have exhibited 40 scarves on the Isle of Man at the Hodgson Loom Gallery and currently sell a range of my scarves on line and in Peterborough at Art in the Heart.