I’m always on the lookout for ‘small joys’ – that’s where ideas hide. Seeing a blackbird intently pecking at the ground recalls the motion of an old sewing machine and sets my mind to thinking, how could these two images be combined to create a narrative?
As a child I valued ‘treasures’ that could travel with me in a pocket or cigar box – seed pods and sea shells, marbles and pipe-cleaner people. It’s no surprise that the pieces I make today are often small enough to pick up and hold in the hand.
I studied at Camberwell School of Art in London in the 80’s, gaining a degree in Ceramics. The technique I developed there of sculpting paper-thin layers of porcelain over wire frames has transferred surprisingly well into needle-felting. The process of creating a bird out of a wilful bundle of wool or deadweight of clay seems to me fascinating and absurd in equal measure.
Of utmost importance to me is that the essence of the subject is realised, whether it’s a ‘Bobbin Bird’ on a reel or a ‘Weight Bearing’ bear balancing on postal scales. I like to capture the moment of stillness between movements, the moment when something extraordinary might happen.