I am attracted by complexity…by objects and texts which have many layers of meaning. This is reflected in my making practise as layers of constituent parts are fused and transformed by the felting process.
Inspired by nature, I was musing about a tree being reflected in water. I realised that I was picturing mythological images that included the Tree of Life and Yggdrasil – a long time interest of mine and the subject of the first ever wall hanging that I made. As I sketched out ideas, the tree mirrored in the water became more symbolic and less material.
The original text ‘As Above, So Below’ came from The Emerald Tablet, thought to be written between 6th – 8th Centuries. This came to be part of 16th century alchemists’ guiding principles having been translated from the original Arabic by Newton and others. C G Jung linked mystic alchemical images with symbols that emerged during his patients’ therapeutic journeys. This led to his formulation of the concepts of collective unconscious and archetypes. Alchemists in search of the Philosopher’s Stone pioneered what we now call the scientific method. Today we still search for immortality, the curing of all disease, creating higher matter from impure materials, dividing all matter into its smallest possible components and the resolution of conflict between the spiritual and the material.
The colours reflect water/sky and sky/water. The tree is a recursive form that has at its centre a spiral symbolising the hermeneutical principles of reflection and growth. The leaf that falls from the tree of knowledge decays and is absorbed into the roots, only for its essence to be drawn up again into the tree.
The circle of life.
Transformation and transmutation.
Making and materials
Merino wool and hand dyed silk is combined through the process of wetting, rubbing and rolling – this is nuno felting. This technique entangles the various fibres together, causing distortion, rippling and transformation as fibres become bonded together. Pieces of recycled old blankets are used as resists to give depth and further texture. The felting process creates shimmering sumptuous layers that form the base fabric. The constructed fabric is then machine and hand embroidered using a combination of straight stitch, bobbin work and couching. The leaves are made from free motion embroidery over organza.
About the artist
I have been making felt for about 8 years and have found it to be a joyous creative process that is also meditative for the felt maker. I believe that making is an essential part of the human psyche and that to be creative is to be fully human. There is great pleasure in weaving my life learning as an educationalist, therapist and scientist into this rich kinaesthetic and visual medium. There is some vulnerability here too – in putting something so personal on a wall for others to view. That, though, is the essence of the creative outcome as each viewer adds layer upon layer of personal meaning.