Thursday 3 December 2020

thread stick

Back in 2016 I made Thread Stick using a cherry branch and reels of thread that belonged to my aunt Jess. I've always known I'd make another/others and have begun wrapping a (taller than me) hazel stick with my mum's threads. Precious.

I've got an old Quality Street tin full of black, brown, grey and white thread that belonged to Jess - so that's the fork ended sticks destiny decided.

Friday 13 November 2020

haarlem artspace residency - 13th november - day 5

Today was the final day of the Haarlem Artspace Residency.

We had a Zoom check-in at 9.30am and a deeper sharing/closing of the residency at 1pm. I decided to share the image of the leftover pulp from the rosehips and hawthorn berries gathered yesterday. I wonder at the pulp of our week, what nutrients will nourish, what might be discarded? I've been surprised by how my week started and how it ended. A huge shift. By doing the same walk again and again veils fell from my eyes and I LOOKED with a deeper consciousness (the bellowing calf and cow helped). The listening circle drawings were a great companion too, helping me to tune in and the hedge flail provided an insistent nudge.

Straining simmered rosehips and hawthorn berries

Heart's ease syrup

Pulp and muslin

Thursday 12 November 2020

haarlem artspace residency - 12th november - day 4

Walk encircling Haarlem Artspace and Hob Wood.

A strange day. I'd thought I'd be uplifted by daily walking, I like the idea of walking as ritual, that a protective 'spirit' might linger within the circle walked. But nope, today I felt out of sorts, cold, irritable and sad about splintered hedgerows, tumble down stone walls, animals as units of protein and TOO MUCH GRASS. Towards the end of the walk I watched as a calf was rounded up and separated from its mother, to the distress of both animals and felt overwhelmed with grief.

There is so much caught up in all this, I can't even begin to untangle but I'm glad I'm not walking tomorrow.

Trusty stick

Flailed hedge with old pleacher - evidence of past hedgelaying 


Wednesday 11 November 2020

haarlem artspace residency - 11th november - day 3

Walk encircling Haarlem Artspace and Hob (hobgoblin???) Wood. 

Mistook this mineral/salt lick for a pink plastic bag, was amazed when I got close. Made a listening circle drawing sitting next to it, comfortably leaning on the oak tree. 

A tractor and flail have been working noisily in the landscape these last two days - appearing forcefully in some of my drawings. The track I walked along had been flailed previously and I felt sad observing splintered branches. I thought of the alchemy of hedgelaying by hand, the human to plant scale, a measured progress pace by pace. Later, I spotted gnarled pleached branches beneath overgrown hedges and wondered, who laid these? What would they make of today's mechanised trimming?

Tomorrow I will gather hawthorn and rosehip. I've spotted the abundant places and shall return and pick what I need and no more.   

Mineral/salt lick


Final drawing of the day

Tuesday 10 November 2020

haarlem artspace residency - 10th november - day 2

Walk circling Haarlem Artspace and Hob Wood. Found footpaths missed yesterday and paths I'd walked once felt familiar. Made four listening circle drawings, enjoying the process of listening in the landscape, attempting to draw without judgement (almost impossible).

I'd like to draw inside Hob Wood, but on approaching a promising gap in a hedgerow found a barbed wire fence, and another surrounding the wood.

Tomorrow I'll walk the circle again, and again on Thursday, the last walk during the virtual residency. Thursday I'll gather rosehip and hawthorn for a hedgerow tonic to share with residency artists. 

Pratthall Lane

Drinking trough and drawing

Hob Wood

Monday 9 November 2020

haarlem artspace residency - 9th november - day 1

Today I began a week long virtual residency at Haarlem Artspace exploring my practice in relation to the landscape around Haarlem Mill alongside Tracey Meek, Anna Mawby, Tricia RiceJo Heron and Christine Thomas.

Walk circling Haarlem Artspace and Hob Wood. Got lost a couple of times, over estimating distance and walking further than needed, and this led to an unexpected meeting with a friend on the footpath - perfect.

A mild day, muddy underfoot, was grateful for the sturdy stick I took along. I find a walking stick grounding and supportive, giving a particular gravity to a walk and making me more in my body somehow.   

Pratthall Lane


Hob Wood

Wednesday 21 October 2020


I treated myself to Spell Book of the Good Witch of Pendle by Joyce Froome recently, purchasing a signed copy from The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Boscastle, North Cornwall.

The book is a fascinating imagining and I particularly noted it's mention of nine as a number used in magic: nine nails, nine pins etc, and I began to ponder the number nine.

On the bus last week (aptly at Artists Corner) this orange nine leapt out at me! I'm assuming this tree is due for removal along this stretch of the River Derwent. It's days are numbered. 

This fluorescent sign is keeping nine in my thoughts as I travel to the studio.

Thursday 1 October 2020

button sheet - october

I stitch into the evening/night, crossed legged on bed, stretching numb muscles at intervals. Sitting like this hurts a bit now, the ageing process giving me a nudge, my right knee complains especially. Hours of work looks like nothing (but is something).

The sheet becomes increasingly cumbersome, buttons weighty, creating tension in the cloth. The tension makes placing buttons not too close/not too far from each other a challenge. 

The sheet drapes across my arm, hugging, buttons clack and shimmer. 

The precious Lenor scent fades as I work, a loss.

Progress traced in grey zigzags.

Wednesday 9 September 2020

button sheet - september

I've been thinking about this work for a year or so, it's a daunting thing to begin. I'm hand stitching buttons onto a single sheet that was my mum's. It retains the scent of her favourite fabric conditioner 3 years 4 months after her death.

Monday 31 August 2020

holly, ash and beech

Hand stitched dress forms suspended from trees
Daughters of daughters
August 2020

Holly grove

Ash, beech and field

Wednesday 29 July 2020

daughters of daughters

Second experiments with staging and photographing this piece, playing, seeing where/how it makes sense to me. Daughters of daughters comes into my head when thinking about it, so that may be the title. Tomorrow I'm taking the dresses into the Derbyshire landscape to see how it/they sits there.  

Monday 20 July 2020

eight dresses

First experiments in hanging this (as yet untitled) work and beginning to understand what it does. Enjoyed its weight and the tension between each dress form. Plan to play further by taking this piece into the Derbyshire landscape. It's an unwieldy, slippery thing!

Monday 6 July 2020

dress forms

All eight dress forms are finished in my current project to make a sculptural piece in organza. Each hand stitched and cut from a 1970's pattern. I'm unsure how I'll join them and intrigued to discover the process that will reveal itself as I make... More stitching, more ironing needed to complete this piece...   

Tuesday 16 June 2020


I'm making a work thats been in my head for a while. I'm 6 dresses in (there will be 8), all cut from a 1970's pattern. The pattern cutting takes almost as long as the hand stitching of each dress, organza is so slippery it requires ironing and pinning into position in an attempt to stop distortion within the fabric before cutting. I decided to hand stitch the dresses, as each represents one of the seven generations of women before me, the women who birthed daughters who birthed daughters who birthed daughters and this line that stretches back to the first humans ends with me.   

Monday 11 May 2020

knitted branches

Through trial and error I replicated these branches in hand knit, using double-point needles, increase and decrease. Knowing how to make a sock was a great advantage.

Working out how to do it through doing it. Carefully replicating each branches twists and undulations, unwinding and re-knitting one branch dissatisfied by the accuracy of my first efforts. Yarn passing twice though my fingers in slow, puzzled learning.

And, now these exist, soft, foldable, reminding me of snakeskin. What shedding happened as I made? What growth?

See previous post for images of the yarn pre-knit, it had been wrapped round trees in Epping Forest for 15 years.    

Thursday 26 March 2020

tree/time dyed yarn

Two years ago I visited Epping Forest, near my childhood home and unwound acrylic yarn I'd wrapped around tree trunks 15 years before. See 15 years for reflections on that day.

Last week I went to my studio at Haarlem Artspace and collected plants, basic art materials and two projects I've been intending to work on - the yarn came home with me.

I'm finding it difficult to relate to my pre COVID-19 'to-do' lists and I'm resisting the upsurge of 'doing' all over social media BUT, think I can get my head and hands around making knitted branches using the tree/time dyed yarn.

Lets see what happens.

Images show the yarn, branches gathered in Matlock and an old set of double-point knitting needles.

Saturday 22 February 2020

essex hawthorn

Beginning to organise my work for Print Fair 2020 at Nottingham Contemporary in March. A gang of us from Haarlem Artspace will be there - come and say hi.

My Essex Hawthorn linocut is of a tree I sat under as a child, I remember colouring in my flower fairy book under its branches. This memory is so vivid because I developed a painful migraine that afternoon and spent the rest of the day in the back bedroom with curtains drawn...

When I left London in 2018 and knew I'd not be walking past the tree anymore I took photos and created the linocut in Derbyshire, bridging then and now.

At times I doubt the impact my work may have, but had this challenged recently when a friend who'd bought a print said she has it above her desk and looks upon it daily. She uses the work as a gentle reminder about keeping healthy boundaries and this practice has had a deep effect in her life.

The hawthorn is adaptable and an amazing boundary keeper. When cut and tended it becomes an abundant hedgerow for wildlife and container of livestock and if left to its own devices grows into a beautiful gnarly tree. In either form it has leaves you can eat, May blossom and edible berries).

Hawthorn is my favourite tree and before we know it she will be signalling her presence in the hedgerow with her May blossom - white firework flashes that are particularly enjoyable from a speeding train window.

Wednesday 8 January 2020


Hello 2020!

This is the last knit of my decade long project Close Knit. The idea developed early in 2009, the first knit photographed on the 21st August 2009 and the final on the 7th January 2020.

Determined to finish the project in 2019 I stayed in on New Years eve, knitting then sewing up the work, making the final stitch at 11.59pm. I'd intended to finish & photograph the knit in situ in December but train fares were high, so the next best thing was a booking in early January.

The journeys taken are part of the work, logistics, planning and physical travel to the burial sites - a small ritual. I wonder at the others travellers around me, what unseen rituals or pilgrimages are they participating in?