‘My creative practice revolves round thinking through making, exploration and play.’
For over 20 years I had a textile studio on the Isle of Arran off Scotland’s west coast; an environment where the weather is elemental in its effects on the shoreline, wind and water constantly altering its appearance. These changes and the surfaces they threw up, were wonderful sources of inspiration, with my need to visualize them constantly impacting on my thinking and making.
My interest in reflecting on creative process has deepened over the years and I have found value in embracing ‘new voices’ for my evolving creative practice. One such ‘voice’ of this reflection resulted in an experimental body of work, which sought to represent the transitional nature of the shoreline. Erosion, exposed layers suspended in time have been a special focus, resulting in work such as the textile installation; Seasilks which embodied a special relationship I had with the shoreline on the island and my debt to its magical and healing qualities. The work was later exhibited at Taigh Chearsabhagh, North Uist, in the Western Isles in 2009. Living on the Isle of Arran influenced my conscious awareness of the metaphysical qualities of the land and sea and continues to impact on my understanding of the transient connection we have with world.
Another reflective direction in my practice prompted my undertaking an art practice-based PhD, where I examined how artistic ways of knowing impact on the ageing process. The research revealed how entrenched ways of thinking have a negative impact on one’s sense of ageing. It was found that through opening up to an experiential unknown, creative process has the capacity to offer new ways of self-understanding, which offer insight into a heightened awareness of being in and of the world. Through this visual and textual articulation of creative practice, the communication of sensory knowledge revealed the complexity of the evolving nature of creative process and how this impacts on our sense of self. An integral part of the research was the visual articulation of the subjective experience of being an older woman artist. The resulting artwork, a textile installation ‘Departing Selves’ and a video ‘Re – connect’, unsettles, makes us pause and offers an invitation to re-evaluate our preconceptions of ageing.
My areas of interest into how creative practice informs our search for self-understanding are continuing to absorb me in finding ways of communicating and sharing how we might re-see and better understand our identity as we age. Of special interest is collaborating with community groups, exploring how we might re-configure our evolving identity as we age in ways which encourage autonomy and a sense of wellbeing.
The work on this website spans many years of creative exploration; from my open studio practice on the Isle of Arran to my more secluded studio on the Scottish mainland.