Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Hemp and Wool Coil Basket Bowls

I am so very thrilled to share with you all my very latest creation!

Made from wool and hemp in an original unique style of my own creation, these have evolved from many many hours of sewing. Available for order now through my etsy store .

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Original Handmade Spiral Coil Floor Mats

It would be amazing to see this sort of style done on a super large scale. I've never quite managed to go larger than 1.2m diameter as it's super time consuming. The goal is to one day make one that's 3metres wide. It's much finer than the thicker plaited and then coiled ones I've seen. Hmm... another project to be continued one day.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Silk Art Cushions

When sifting through op-shops I find my hand unconsciously fluttering along the racks of clothing... I've done it many times and I know what I'm looking for...


When your hand touches it you stop and want to touch it a little longer. Well, I do anyway. It's such an incredible material, difficult to work with, and one that seems so precious with all those little silk worms eating, munching, spinning, twirling, dying for us to use.

I love to collect secondhand resources and come up with creative ways to put things together. I collect and hoard many used saris and shirts, scarves and skirts. I shred and chop and satisfyingly rip to then have a unique colour palette ready to use to form a new kind of fabric. I save every tiny piece. Even the smallest fibres can morph into something wonderful.

As a labour of love and excitement I spent 10+ hours on each of the creations you see below to bring the fibres together and make it into something of use. Each cushion is completely unique and made from only secondhand materials. Some are still available in my etsy store at

They feel quite incredible - the sort of thing your hand is compelled to touch (and repeatedly stroke). Trust me, those who've come to see them in my little studio find their hands moving in the patterns beneath their fingertips.

There's great satisfaction in the journeying of fibre. When I make in this way I keep the scraps, add them to more offcuts, and add those in to the next project so that each cushion forms the part of the next... and on it goes. I look forward to the time their fibre journey continues into someone's lounge.


Saturday, 20 August 2016

Featured Artist: Hayate Hosenji

Some people seem to be natural born artists. I had the very grand pleasure of meeting Hayate Hosenji when he was a young boy. I was lucky enough to stay with the wonderfully creative Hosenji family during my solo journey around Japan over seven years ago.

Without me speaking much Japanese, and without Hayate speaking much English we found a common language - black line and colour! The top middle pic is of a collaborative artwork we made, laughing and colouring madly. Hayate then proceeded to draw a portrait of me (see below). I was awed by his speed and sureness for someone so young.

This young man is one to watch. He's still only in high school. With such talent and his own flare it's so cool to see what he does as he matures. I can imagine some epic urban murals in years to come.

Check out more of Hayate's work here:

Friday, 19 August 2016

Rainbow Hemp Bowls

After doing something for a long while, like making metres and metres of cotton coil baskets, it's nice to discover something new. I managed to get an amazing skein of wonderful hand-dyed yarn. These firm little rainbow bowl baskets are made out of hemp and wool. 

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Give me a Sharpie and Pencils

With the craze of colouring-in and buying colouring-in books I've thought back on all the colouring-in I've done. I never really understood buying someone else's black outlines though...

Many of my teenage days were spent making big poster-size colouring in. I would even get people to help me colour in at parties. I really was that kinda girl and was known to bring my fave Lyra Colour Giants with me... or have a Sharpie on my keyring.

The originals of these are plastered with PVA to a bunch of youthful photo albums, that I'm sure I would have thrown away already if it wasn't for all that colour on the outside.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Reconstructed Harmony

Here's a little colour exercise from a Steiner art class some time ago...

This series stemmed from the wet-on-wet watercolour painting exercises designed to create the three secondary (and harmonious) colours: green from lemon yellow and Prussian blue; violet from carmine, ultramarine and a little Prussian blue; and orange from lemon yellow, gold and vermillion. Using this technique, I had limited control, and for a moment the paint had a life of its own on the page - moving, spreading and expanding. This created an atmospheric softness, with muted tones, light and darkness – perhaps a touch of the ethereal world.

Aside from the technical instructions we were also asked to bring an intention into the painting through consideration of the character of each colour. In other words, if colour were an entity in its true nature, how would it appear, move, breathe, come in to a room and thus come on to the page? In painting each piece these descriptions were formed and visualised:

To me, green is alive and expresses life on earth. It creeps, crawls, sprawls, entwines, uplifts, and sparkles as the yellow reaches towards light and the blue reaches towards darkness. Green is renewing, refreshing, regenerating and harmonious.

Coming from the strong and robust carmine red, and the enfolding and embracing ultramarine blue, I see violet as shy yet holding an inner strength, pulse and rhythm. Like a robe for royalty, violet holds circulating mystery beneath its folds.

I see orange as zingy, zesty, lively, mischievous and flirtatious, like flickering flames slipping between stimulating red and cheerful yellow. It is warm, cheeky, changeable, impulsive, and unpredictable and moves from strength and sureness to infinite light.

In Steiner education it seems there is an emphasis on natural and pure resources like cotton, silk, wood, metal and wool. This appeals to me, as the purity works on the senses, speaks to the heart and fosters reverence for the natural world. However in this modern time I have become deeply committed to acquiring and buying less and buying second hand wherever possible, I began to wonder whether there is a place within Steiner education for recycled materials. Could the essence of the ethereal and colour experience gained through wet-on-wet watercolour paining be achieved using natural second-hand materials?

As a textile artist, typically working with repurposed silk, I was interested by this in-depth study of the true nature of colour. I wondered how these wet-on-wet paintings and the consideration of the character of each colour could influence my textile art. So I attempted to remake each watercolour painting using a recycled silk technique I had previously developed in making homewares and decorative cushions.

The recycled silk technique comes from deconstructing second-hand silk shirts, shredding them into fragments, laying them scrap-by-scrap onto cotton backing, and securing them using machined stitching. Each panel takes many hours to create, as each individual scrap of silk is placed and stitched. In doing this I am able to touch every fibre, select its location, and fully immerse myself in the colour and new formation beneath my hands. Although a sewing machine is used, rhythm and breath is created through the repetitive movements, especially when stitching around in a spiral, as specific hand movements are required to keep it all moving smoothly and continuously. This technique is much freer than say patchwork, as all pieces used are organically shaped, with frayed edges, and they are placed using intuitive selection without too much thought. It is their merging that creates something unique.

During the construction of each silk panel in this series, I viewed the paintings I had created as a guide to the light and darkness, gesture and mood of each colour, brought my intention to the character of green, violet and orange respectively, using the character descriptions previously mentioned, however allowed the form and line to be different, to meld better with the silk technique.

In the watercolour exercises, the deliberate sequence of layering two colour (rather than using pre-mixed paint) and brush technique allowed the secondary colours to emerge on the page in front of my eyes. When constructing the silk panels however, the dyes in the silk were predetermined, so the creation was in the selection of tones (i.e., which silk shirt I would choose to deconstruct) and placement of pieces (reconstruction).

The nature of wet-on-wet watercolour painting is such that the colours appear differently wet compared to dry. A painting is considered finished while still wet and you hand over control during the drying process. Once dry, imperfections in the paper are found and the colours have changed. This is not to say that the end product is no longer beautiful, however this led me to question, is it the process of painting or the end product that is of most interest? In the construction of the silk panels the process moves from a chaotic and rough textured piece, to smooth and secure with more stitching. It is easy to add another scrap and more stitching at any time and the viewer in none the wiser, so in a way you can add layer upon layer ad infinitum (provided your sewing machine could fit so many layers).

The techniques are very different however they both allowed an internal journey into the character of colour. Transferring the colour theory gained from the watercolour exercises enhanced my textile art as I had a much greater intent in the mood and gesture created through the silk placement. Making colour more tactile, so that you’re able to touch it as you create brought a new level to my understanding of colour.