Having been the owner of an architectural antiques business for a number of years, old houses and the people who lived in them intrigue me. In my current series I create intricately detailed portraits of people from the past. Using fusible appliqué, I first create a puzzle based on vintage black and white photographs, and then put all the pieces together to create a realistic portrait. I choose vintage photos where a uniqueness of pose catches my interest. Each of these photos reflects something about the society of the time through the person’s pose or through the details of their clothing. The clothing worn is influenced by society’s mores, and thus gives us a glimpse in to what life was like at that moment in time.
My work breathes new life into grey and forgotten photos of ordinary people. I enjoy the excitement of bringing the person to life though the careful selection of a variety of fabrics, both commercial and hand-dyed. I particularly use hand dyeing to create the multiple values needed for the skin tones in my portraits. Each carefully crafted piece takes a month of work in my studio to create from the initial sketch to a completed piece of art.
In a way my work is similar to archaeology in that I dig in to the past to see how people lived and what society was like at that time. I preserve a small moment of the past which encourages people to reflect on past times.
My work honours ordinary people and provides a focus for reminiscences about the past. I combine a love of history, with a curiosity about people from the past, to capture character in fabric.