Artist & Facilitator

I am a freelance artist based in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria in the North West of England. I have worked within the performing and fine arts for 20 years. Initally I worked within the theatre as a performer and on production. Then moving on to a street circus group that performed around the UK. I did my degree BA(hons) Fine Art at Uclan. For fifteen years I have collaborated with local arts organisations, worked on youth community projects and in schools running a variety of creative projects. I am currently a member of North Lonsdale Embroiderers Guild, Blue Tarn, a rural womens artists collective and Trident Textiles, based in Furness. I am always working on a variety of small scale projects including photography, textile and mixed media. Although my favourite thing is meeting and talking to interesting people!

Monday, 25 June 2012

New Beginnings!

A quick catch up...well, one month in to a new job and all is going well!  I am fortunate enough to have been given a position at Signal Films and Media in Barrow, as team assistant.  I am working self employed but with a contract of 24 hours a week.  Although I am lady of all jobs, I think it is great!  So much happening and never a dull moment!  I have known the company for some years and had spent time on courses and recently been a volunteer for the heritage project.  I really have fallen on my feet at such a time of possible change!  My son starts reception in September and I was thinking of looking for some further projects or work.  An exciting new project is just about to begin with  digital media artist Michael Day about to begin his residency.  To learn more about Signal Films follow the link...

The dog blog project had floundered a bit lately as I have been so busy but I managed to get one up this weekend of  Val and her doggies Beau and Flash.  My own dogs are doing great and have had 5 camping trips so far this Summer.  We are off to Auchenlarie with my cousin and her family of doggies in August too! Lolly and Teddy pictured above sunbathing on our last camping trip.  A lot more refined than my two terriers! Many more dog blog updates to follow!

Still working on pieces for the upcoming exhibition at The Beacon, in Whitehaven for with Blue Tarn.  I had deviated a little bit lately and felt a little disappointed with my results but I am now back on with it!  I cannot decide between printing on fabric and oversewing or collage! Or a bit of everything!

Monday, 30 April 2012

Catching Up!

As ever life is busy and quickly passes by before you realise how long it is since catching up with people!  I have been fortunate enough to have a lot of projects on the go.  My dog blog has slowed down at the moment as I have been helping out at Signal Film and Media in Barrow-in-Furness on their Cooke's Creative Heritiage Project.  Go to website  or click on Cooke's project blog to find out more!  I have been helping out by recreating a 1950's themed tea room and preparing for oral history recordings of people who remember the Cooke's building.  Plus, I managed to set the project blog up.

Just before getting more involved with the Cooke's project I had managed to get some more doggy portraits done and met some really lovely dogs!  I have missed this for a couple of months.  I have some coming up to do shortly when they can be arranged.
This is Peanut a 12 week old pug x chi and he was adorable! The photoshoot took place in the home as he was still too young to go outside and had not had any injections!   The doggy coat business has come to a current standstill too!  I was on a roll making my original designed retired greyhound coats and have more interest but I have had to pack my materials and machine away for now.  We are swapping my son's room round and his current one is to become my studio.  Knowing that the coats are a success is a great feeling though!                           
We have camping a few times lately too and I have had opportunity to get photos of clouds in quest for material for the 'Illumination' exhibition at Whitehaven in October!  Had some brilliant stormy skies lately in Cumbria.  I am getting a little worried as to what I am going to exhibit as I need my machine to catch up on pieces!

I am sooooo itching to get stitching but need my stuff! Hint-to husband to hurry up!  I will get there I know.  It is my birthday next week (21 again) and I will do the emotional blackmail thing to get the room done! However, I have more to do with dog blog and down at Signal too so I am very busy.  I prefer to be busy and do not like lolling about at home doing nothing.  So maybe it is time to consider a 'proper' job now Alex is going to full time school in September?

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Val D'Isere

Just got back a couple of weeks ago from skiing in Val D'Isere.  It was fantastic and we had a lovely time with friends.  There was so much snow it was unbelievable.  Alex was in beginners ski class and he was skiing by the end of the week! He loved it too.  I got lots of photos just walking around.

A bit of sledging....he was dragged everywhere on this even on the roads there was so much snow!

By the end of the week Alex was turning, stopping, going up the drag lift and doing tricks!

There was so much snow plied on the roofs it looked dangerous!

It was a really pretty town and lots to do and see.  I enjoyed the walking around as much as the skiing!

Well looks like next year is booked!

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Dog Blog Going Public!

Well the first couple of interviews have been published now!  So I will put one up every other day now.  Got more photos to get of peoples dogs and waiting on some questionnaires to come back yet.  However, its got going at last! The first interview was done last September!  Along the way I have also been asked to take dog portraits aswell so I have had some lovely times.  But now I can concentrate on my next project now.

The exhibition at the Beacon in Whitehaven in Autumn with Blue Tarn.  The title is Illumination and I have decided to make new work that is relevant to the area.  I have been up there a couple of times to take photos and do sketches.  At the moment I am concentrating on cloud formation and reflections in water.  Light and shade.  Once I get these small sketches and mixed media pieces going it will hopefully inform larger pieces using obvious landmarks.  I am thinking of making sketches using thread of the clouds and water as if they were pencil marks.

I have took the colour out of some photos to see how this may work.  It will help me concentrate just on the light and shadows hopefully.

In this shot the foreground is too busy but I like the fluffy clouds with shadow.

Not a great photo it has been heavily cropped from something else but I do like the texture of the sand and the light playing on the ridges.  Same with the one below of the sea, very cropped so detail is lost but the light sparkling on the water is magical.

I want to add texture and was looking for unique marks in stone and buildings like the sea wall.

Or this old quay side building which appears to be an old watch tower of some kind.

So from these initial photos I will get cracking with some thread sketches and see how that goes and what ideas spring from there.

Thursday, 5 January 2012


I have been so busy lately with a couple of dog projects.  First one being a Dog Blog which is yet to go live.  I have been informally photographing and interviewing people and their dogs around the area.  It has been a brilliant learning curve and I have met some fantastic people and of course dogs!  I intially was interviewing the people face to face and then photographing.  The idea then being that the person will get a cd with any images once their interview is published on the purpose blog I am setting up.  Now I am emailing the person to fill it out and then visiting them to photograph them.  I was ending up being at peoples houses for hours just talking about dogs!  This all kicked off when I got my two rescue Jack Russell Terriers last Summer.   I have always had dogs but my husband hasn't and he kind of does not quite get why people have dogs so it went from there really.  There is no money in it but I have built up a little network.  Which is invaluable.  Although through this project I have gained other commissions for photography and for potential business for the other project.

This is Farah, a dog trainer in Newton-in-Furness, with one of her stooges Ticana aka Teeks, an american bull dog.  To know more about her go to

Above is Troy, a German Shepherd from Morecambe, with his family.

The other dog project has been helping my cousin set up her business in doggy clothing and products.  We have had a couple of months making and trying out doggy coats and accessories.  Some been successes and others not so much.  Basically we have been trying to design and make 'made to measure' dog jackets.  Anyway from the various prototypes my cousin has been able to determine the direction for her business 'Little Dog BIG'.  It will hopefully being starting up trading by next month.  Most things are now in place.  I have now been able to take a break from the sewing machine too.

I had sent off an embroidered postcard with the guild for the Olympic 2012 Games. This was part of a country wide project amongst the guilds.  Each guild was given a participating country, ours was San Merino, then we had to produce at least 15 postcards (specific sizes and colours) which portrayed that country.  Then they were sewn together to produce a hanging. My card was a hand embroidery on blue/purple silk with vines, Forget-me-nots and pink Cyclamen. The Cyclamen is the national flower.  See North Lonsdale Embroidery Guild Blog for current projects.

Once I get the Dog Blog up an running I will be able to concentrate on my textile project for Blue Tarn.  Blue Tarn have a exhibition in the Autumn at the Beacon in Whitehaven but I have not properly started on my pieces yet.  So need to get on with it.  Plus need to make head way on some personal pieces I want to do with my other group Trident Textiles.  Or though a name change might be happening.  The group would like to be more inclusive to other artists.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Quilt Sent Off to The Great Northern Quilt Show 2011

Unbelievably the Tsunami quilt has been sent!  I have been ill for a while and felt really lethargic and disinterested so at one point it was touch and go if I was going to finish it.  It turns out I have a thyroid problem and anaemic! No wonder!  So in the first weekend of September the quilt will be exhibited alongside others at Harrogate. 

It mesaures 23" x 33" and has a bias binding on the edge with the required 4" sleeve on the back.  There are technical faults with it but I have learnt alot whilst doing this quilt.  Like do not quilt!

Ideally there would have been a lot more water droplets on the big wave creating more of a 3D effect.  Anyway I have more detailed photos to upload later.  It is now onto the next project!  Recently I went up to Whitehaven with my camera to get some shots for possible work for next years exhibition at the Beacon in Whitehaven. 


Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Projects to be Finished and New Ones to Begin!

The Firebird quilts have been returned and they do look better than I remembered!  I had to get my entry and statement in for the next project I am working on.  This quilt is for The Great Northern Quilt Show in Harrogate, this September.  I am entering the themed cateorgry 'Beside The Sea'.  I prefer to do this at the moment so I can really get to grips with the medium and taking part without worrying too much about what to actually do! 

Initially for this I thought I could do a nice art deco poster style scene or a saucy blackpool postcard type but changed my mind for something more current and potent.  The recent Japanese tsunami in March which devasted so many people lives.  Those images of the towns and cities, peoples homes and of course the nuclear power station disaster which flooded our news channels for weeks were very eye opening.

There are a series of famous Japanese 18th century wood block prints of  different views of Mount Fuji.  The sea features in many of them, the most famous being 'The Great Wave'.  I had decided to update this image into a quilt.

The simplicity of the design yet dramatic effect lends itself to fabric and stitch.  I made out the pattern, chose the fabrics and thread that would allow me to make a modern version.  Once I had made the pattern I decided not to follow the original faithfully, in fact I did not look at it.  I wanted the sea to be muddy and allow the viewer glimpses of drowning houses, cars and boats.  Complete devastation and debris.  Make it difficult to tell where sky, land and sea meet.  Instead of Mount Fuji it is now Fukashima the nuclear power station.  I printed onto fabric various old texts and photos showing that some part of history and heritage has been lost.  However, the use of the Japanese flag rising sun symbol shows revitalized life and hope.  I have much more work to do on it.  It is just in its 'about to be embellished' state, before sandwiching it.

I have used applique and reverse applique with heavy machine embroidery.  There is a lot more to do with the crest of the waves, they are heavily wadded and will have a dramatic 3D effect when complete with droplets and debris coming out of the scene. 

At first I was concerned the subject matter may be too recent and morbid but soon dismissed that as I felt it was more worth my while to highlight the disaster then to work on something that did not mean anything to me.

I had applied to be part of Blue Tarn, a rural womens' artist network in Cumbria and after a couple of months I had found I had been accepted and attended my first meeting just recently.  It was great meeting the ladies and getting to find out about what they do, their work and more importantly their wonderful workshops!  So inspiring for me!  There are lots of things in the pipeline most notably a two month exhibition next year at The Beacon in Whitehaven.  So lots of new things to gear up for and even more interesting is the actual networking opportunities now available to me through this group.  So excited!!