I was born in Stockport but spent part of my childhood in Singapore where I was surrounded by vibrant colour, changing landscapes and people of every nationality and culture you can think of. We lived by the coast, holidayed in mountains, walked in rainforests and swam nearly every day in the bluest of oceans. I remember vividly the many costumes worn by people of so many different cultures; the braids, the embroidery, the sari silks and ribbons, Indian cottons and batik. My early life in Singapore definitely influenced my appreciation of landscapes, colours and textiles.
So it is probably not surprising that on retiring through illness after 36 years as a teacher and and then headteacher, that I turned my attention to art and craft to ease my soul, learning new skills and revisiting the colour and landscapes I love. Some say retirement is your chance for second childhood and I took the opportunity to play. I met some amazing women at a local craft group and found what became my love of all things ‘woolly’ as I learnt from them how to crochet and knit and explore art. My thirst for a new adventure, a new direction in life after retirement, led me to want to learn more about combining art with this woolly world. I wanted to understand the whole process from fleece to woven yarn; spinning, weaving and dyeing and ultimately to creating my own art. I wanted to be able to look at something and feel proud that I had created it from its raw materials to the finished article. I have my parents to thank for the steps I took next. Dad had taught me that it’s possible to make something out of nothing and how to reuse and recycle what would be considered by some as waste materials. Mum had taught me so many early practical skills through her own love of a variety of crafts and her love of gardens. So my journey exploring wool began and ‘WoollyArt’ is the outcome of that journey.
It was born on the hillside in Sowerby, West Yorkshire; a beautiful part of the world where my craft room window looks out over stunning scenery, fields and wide open skies. It is all those landscapes and colours from my life and still in front of me that inspire my work and I try my best to save just a little bit of our precious Earth along the way. I try to avoid buying any new yarn, preferring to work with my own dyed and homespun yarn or recycled yarn. I produce my textile pieces on my own hand built tapestry frames and began spinning on a secondhand antique spinning wheel. I love the textures and feel of my work just as much as the visual shapes and patterns I create. The born teacher is still in me and I love nothing more than sharing what I have learnt with others and in turn learning more from those around me. I hope you enjoy sharing a little bit of my world when you look at my ‘WoollyArt’ and I hope it inspires you to take time to learn new skills, be creative, stop and appreciate the world around us, and add some more colour to your life.