Here are some of my recent projects. Each one has its own gallery - swipe along to see the project and its inspiration.
NOVEMBER SKIES; BLONDUOS
Representing the changing colours of the sky over Blonduos throughout November. Every day I recorded the colours between 12 and 20 times, before translating them into this handknitted piece. One horizontal ridge represents each day.
Hunafloi is the name of the large bay in Northwest Iceland between Vatsnes and Skagi peninsulas. The studio in the Icelandic Textile Centre looks northwards over Hunafloi. I used 12 colours and a repeating wave motif to capture the colours of the sea.
Inspired by Icelandic columnar basalt rock formations as seen at Kalfshamarsvik, near the tip of the Skagi peninsula. Hand knitted in handspun undyed and naturally dyed Icelandic wool from a nearby farm.
Sticta coronata is a New Zealand lichen used for dyeing.
Using 100g of dry lichen sent to me by a New Zealand friend, I made a dyebath and used it to dye small batches of wool yarns, also some silk and linen fabrics. I kept re-using the dyebath, reheating the same lichen in it each time, and the colour gradually changed from deep purple through pinks to a pale pinky cream. Then I tore the lichen into small pieces, reheated it in the dyebath and it gave yellow shades. By dyeing some natural light grey yarns as well as white, I got an even greater variety of colours including greens (yellow dye on grey yarn).
3 'scarves' documenting roadtrips in New Zealand, Iceland and Scotland.
On a roadtrip in New Zealand a conversation about random sequence generators ran in to a conversation about the lack of variety in car colours, which resulted in me recording the colour of every passing car for 2 hours. I knitted the first Roadtrip 'scarf' using New Zealand grown, spun and dyed wool, one row per car in the appropriate colour.
A long bus journey in Iceland, 7 hours from Akureyri to Reykjavik, saw me noting car colours again, and knitting the middle 'scarf'. Then I felt obliged to complete the series in Scotland by documenting a bus trip from Inverness to Oban.
Since March 2019 I have exchanged monthly knitted postcards with my friend and fellow textile artist Sue Elliott, from New Zealand. Each postcard reflects something significant in our lives that month. Although we don't co-ordinate theme or colours, I feel that as a whole, it is cohesive and a testament to creativity and friendship.
OF THE LAND: ICELANDIC WOOL PART 1: COLOUR
I spent the summer of 2018 as Artist in Residence at the Icelandic Textile Centre, exploring the characteristics and possibilities of Icelandic wool.
Icelandic sheep produce two distinct types of fibre in one fleece - long outer fibres called tog and shorter, softer inner fibres called thel. I separated the fibres by hand, spun them and experimented with dyeing them using locally available plants.
I was surprised to find that the tog fibres became more intensely coloured when both types were dyed in the same dyebath.
OF THE LAND: ICELANDIC WOOL PART 2: TEXTURE
By separating the tog and thel fibres and handspinning them before recombining, I created a number of yarns with different textures to exploit the differences in the fibres. In some yarn samples, I have used a natural black wool with the white, to highlight the structure. The photos on which the yarns are mounted were all taken around the Icelandic Textile Centre, where I carried out this work.
AFTER THE RAIN
Inspired by the view from my workroom.
After a day of heavy rain the sun tried to come through layers of cloud.
I constructed this large square shawl in the traditional Shetland way, starting with the grey lace edging, then picking up almost a thousand stitches for the coloured border, and finally filling in the centre with cosy garter stitch.
A collaborative project with Victoria Hamilton, a final year Product Design student at Glasgow School of Art. Tori asked me to produce five small pieces to illustrate the themes she had developed in her project. The pieces were shown as part of Tori's exhibit in the Glasgow School of Art Degree Show in 2019.