This summer I have been exploring the ways in which I see my garden as an artistic entity in its own right and an inspiration for my other forms of art. During the last few months this has particularly focused on oil painting. I have enjoyed the luxury of standing among the plants to work, giving an immediacy and vitality to the paintings.
As a textile artist with a love of colour, pattern and surfaces, the markets of India are a real delight. Here in Jodhpur the delicious smells of the spices combined with a bustle of life that completely engaged me. I have translated the wonderful patterns of draped cloth the women wore into the rich, light reflective fabrics of my collage.
Visiting Bishnoi Villages in Rajasthan we passed a group of clay carriers, all veiled women, their forms described in swathes of gorgeous cloth. This is the collage I created from the experience.
Visiting Washington State in 2016 I was inspired to work on a series of collages, both of flower filled wild landscapes and of gardens, each with a hummingbird as its focus. This video takes you through the making of a Calliope Hummingbird in textile collage.
Camellia 'Bob Hope' grows in my garden with a backdrop of the shimmering light and sound of bamboo. Songbirds use the camellia for shelter and its flowers as a source of insects for their young. All this creates a theatre of spring drama from which I have created a textile collage.
From design to finished artwork, this video takes you through the creation of the commissioned collage 'Anna and the Foxes' which explores the natural beauty of the West Side of San Juan Island in Washington State.
Through the long days of summer I brought the blue and white flowers of Agapanthus, Romneya and Nigella into my studio, creating their likenesses in textile collage. Although winter has now come I have balanced these elements below a blue sky with billowing clouds. Blue butterflies dance in the air, and I can feel the delight of summer despite the gloom outside.
Buzzards often fly overhead, but there are closer encounters with the birds that use the windswept hawthorn trees along our quiet roads for perches. They fly up as cars approach, dwarfing the hawthorns.
Knapweed arrived uninvited in my garden but is beloved by bees so I have come to love it too. Its dark stems reach up through Stipa tenuissima with its fine hair-like stems and flowers. The shifting light through the grasses is reflected in my textile collage and you can almost hear the buzzing of the bees.
Deep blue Agapanthus have been flowering just outside my studio, together with Hydrangea aspera with its lace-like flower heads in moonlight colours. Entranced by this combination, I have created a textile collage that explores the patterns and colours of these plants in hand-dyed fabrics.