Textile Study Group

artists and tutors sharing ideas imagination and skills

Jan Miller

textile

Shingle Bank

textile

Shingle Bank

Sea defences at Cley-next-the-sea

textile

Cloth Bundle (iv)

textile

Walk Notes

textile

Binding Cloth

textile

Rip Tide

Artist statement

Making new work – Thinking out loud

My new work is developing from a curious paradox – it seems that often the most wild and isolated landscapes are in fact the result of careful management.

The coast near to my city home is a stretch of shingle bank bounding a freshwater marsh and reedbeds, historically maintained by the landowner for the purpose of wildfowling. This particular land parcel is now protected by Norfolk Wildlife Trust. A colonised place of safety for its indigenous wildlife and migratory birds; but providing a source of income to support its cause from reed-cutting and cattle-grazing.

A walk on a raised dyke path, stretching out from the coast road, gives an overview of the area. It is delineated from east to west by an installation of vertical lines of rusting anti-invasion defences, made from old train rails and tram tracks. Out at sea, the offshore wind turbines also form a line, a fleeting flash of white movement catching the light before vanishing in the sea mist. A 'natural' environment, that has become outlined by industrial 'plant'. On the sea-bed close-by, lies the Norfolk Chalk Reef, recently designated and protected as a Marine Conservation Zone.

It is a flat sweeping landscape that merges into the huge Norfolk sky. There is an everchanging response to the time-lapse of weather and light – one moment blending and blurring seamlessly, the next dramatically defined. A place to walk or sit … to watch and wait … to listen to the silence and find a sound … to reflect.

My process of making remains the same: collecting and cataloguing found objects – either natural or manmade. Objects that have no value, marked by wear and use, which may suggest slivers of a story. In the studio, the 'collected' are isolated, displayed, observed; groups form, connected by marks, colour, location, shape, size.

Temporary assemblages develop by introducing fragments of reclaimed cloth and papers marked by handling and stains. Hand-stitching, wrapping with wire and thread, making bundles, rolls and stacks, building the two-dimensional into three-dimensional. Finished pieces are presented on surfaces, along shelves or in containers. Each holds a story and has a point of view.

For the last three years, I have just scratched the surface of this unique environment. I am enthused and inspired to discover more, to talk and communicate thoughts and process through my textile work.

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