The Translation of Story to Textile Art

What inspires my stories

The stories I tell in my works are collected from all over the world. I have been fortunate enough to have travelled extensively and the places, people and experiences I have encountered, are visible throughout my collections. These are ‘yarns’ spun in wool, transformed into tangible platforms to covey anecdotes, memories and legends, using millions of interwoven fibers to not only convey a picture but an entire story. 

When anybody looks at my work, there is no doubt that they will see a strong current of my love of our natural environment. Like a rip tide, it pulls in the observer and takes them on a discoverable journey, cascading through waterfalls of the New Zealand rainforests, a walk through poppy filled meadows or exploring the depths of South Australian waters amongst the magical dances of leafy sea dragons. Numerous varieties of flora feature in my work, as does my inherited love of birds.

My storytelling  - the translation of story to textile art

The process of storytelling is for me, neither deliberate nor planned. As such, I do not look at a bird or a blossom or memory and try to recreate it in my work; it is more of a poetic reminiscence, a vivid memory that is recorded, processed and accessed when the time is right. I do not actively plan a piece, it is never drawn as a design or forced into being. Besides the conscious awareness of the technical skills in felting, I view my creation of felting in the same way as the materialization of a dream. Difficult to define and to pinpoint its origin, both the design process and fulfillment of a dream are dynamic but easily fleeting and require a concentrated, consolidated energy to fulfill into a tangible outcome.

The design is often triggered by a mood or memory, the phenomena of a simple event such as a falling star, a piece of moving music or a story told by someone else. The intuitive process occurs in a semi-dream state, whereby the design is guided through the manifestation of recollection rather than a specific starting point. I am not acutely aware of the narrative as I design, the entire process is a meditative state, where my mood and feeling guides colors, textures and volumes of wool to appear in a solid form.

I am often asked how I choose the form of each story – how do I know whether to make a scarf, a wall hanging, a cape or shawl? Will it be large and voluminous or delicate and small? I do not believe that size or shape reflect the degree of emotion or feeling; small items may convey powerful imagery with a direct impact on the viewer in the same way that whimsical musings may take place across a large span of fabric. I often do find, however, that works on which I pause and reflect on frequently take on greater dimensions.