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I am currently in my final year of studying Embroidery at Manchester Metropolitan University. I grew up in Leeds and have enjoyed transatlantic summer holidays camping and hiking with my family in upstate New York. My mum's background as a weaver has definitely influenced me, with early memories of colour mixing and fabric appreciation, which have stayed with me right into my degree!
Manchester now feels like my home, and I enjoy discovering all that this city has to offer. I know at some point it will feel natural to move on and to start exploring new surroundings, but for the time being, I am happy with the friends, events, food, live music and dancing that can be done in Manchester.
The Story of My Work
Embroidery was not an obvious choice at first, I have toyed with the ideas of painting, printing and graphic design before settling on a university course that offers the opportunity to dabble in other areas of art and design, whilst still teaching me skills and essentially, a craft. My foundation year at Leeds College of Art and Design opened me up to the potential of textiles, whilst steering clear of the slightly stuffy preconception I had arrived with. I was able to experiment with the structure of fabrics whilst tapping into a primary interest of mine; colour mixing. This has continued into my degree where I have really enjoyed layering hand stitch and prints to create optical colour mixing, distorting shapes using colours and layers of netting. The embroidery workshops that I took part in during the first year of my degree have really informed my work and interests now. I love the visual possibilities of filling-stitches, the graphic repetitive quality mirrors my love of geometrics.
My work has always had quite a strong graphic element to it, which originated in a longstanding interest in typography and handwriting. I explored this further in the final year of my degree, highlighting the effect of ‘legibility’ and our associations with letterforms and alphabets. My current work takes the idea of legibility further, investigating the effect of combining patterns with layers of filling stitches and laser-cut fabrics to create highly visual and exciting surfaces. I am working with the idea of embellished sportswear, which allows me to explore a wide range of fabrics and processes whilst also looking at the broad range of traditional and contemporary sportswear shapes.
I spent a term last year studying in Budapest at the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design. Living in such an exciting city really pushed my creativity, whilst also forcing me to adapt to unfamiliar surroundings and a whole new language! I would love to go back and continue where I left off, exploring the city and creating work that reflects the colours and textures of such a vibrant culture.
At the moment however, I am looking forward to continuing the work I have been doing this year. Although my degree is nearing completion, I know it is not the end for this project. I am still really enjoying it and look forward to the time I can spend working on new hand stitched samples and printing techniques. The Embroidery BA (Hons) degree show opens on the 15th of June 2012 and runs until the 20th of June. It will be held at Quay House, Spinningfields, in the heart of Manchester. I would be happy to answer any questions about my work, or what I have done to get me to this point in my academic and professional career!
I am currently working on a website, but I still use and update my blog regularly.