I enjoy mixing colour through pigments and dyes, or interesting juxtapositions of fabric and thread. Dye based watercolour provided the vibrancy I needed for my pomegranate series. AN ASSEMBLY OF MIXED MEDIA SAMPLES and MARSH combine the “best” parts salvaged from a digitally printed cloth with applied papers and fabrics, emulsion paint, and areas of stitch.
My work often includes recycled fabrics and kantha, a Bengali word for cloth and the way running stitch is used to create embroidered quilts made from old worn-out saris. In 2019 I went to West Bengal and Odissa where I was intrigued by the messages conveyed by old kantha, and the vibrant mix of colour and fabrics being hand stitched today.
WILD GARDEN is about plants found along footpaths, fields boundaries or in open spaces. These are hand stitched into a fragile, fragmented background of opaque and transparent fabrics patched and pieced together. While preparing the background I made closely observed ink drawings of plants, using feathers chosen for their unpredictable qualities. Beginning with traced outlines I hand stitched some of these directly into the background whilst others were stitched onto separate patches which were moved around until they settled into place.
Stitching by hand is essential to my working practice. I like the rhythm and feel of a needle passing in and out of cloth. The way I put my work together is informed by kantha making. I reference the woven stripes sometimes sandwiched between the layers of folded saris by including fragments of coloured fabrics between layers in my work. My way of layering, patching and piecing has evolved into an on-going process in which colour and fabric can be added, areas cut away, revisions made and sometimes repairs necessary. The blobs, spots and speckles, squiggly lines and textures created by the stitching provides me with a repertoire I can use freely.