My choice to stitch by hand and the way I build a contemporary stitched textile continues to be inspired by kantha. Kantha is a Bengali word both for cloth and as a way of stitching an embroidered quilt. These quilts are made from the good parts of old worn saris, layered and held together with lines of running stitch. I am intrigued by the free style qualities evident in the drawing of kantha designs, the mix of non-representational images and decorative motifs, and the individuality of each kantha.
I fill travel note books with drawings, which result in an eclectic mix of images from different cultures. Kantha can offer a way of bringing some of these together. In my early pieces I focused on using running stitch to draw animals. Then the placement of stiches in relation to the previous line of stitches enticed me into building patterns. As I became more informed about the processes of kantha making I began to reference woven saris borders and the coloured stripes sometimes sandwiched between layers of folded cloth, and to divide my work into compartments.
Drawing is central to my work, and colour. When the weather warms up and the days are longer I love to be out-of-doors working directly from what I see and feel around me. Recently I have ventured into digitally printing drawings of landscape and trees onto cloth. This allows me to keep the immediacy of the drawn mark and patches of colour, which I then extend by adding layers of fine fabrics and areas of stitch. It has also led to creating mixed – media pieces which combine marks and colour made on paper with marks and colour printed on cloth, and to begin exploring more abstract possibilities.