My love of textiles began at a very early age, influenced by my grandmother, a weaver and embroiderer, who had cupboards full of natural fabrics and exquisite needlework. I learnt to use a sewing machine and was making my own clothes when I was 9 years old. Being brought up in Lancashire, we were surrounded by a combination of textile mills and beautiful, wild moorlands. I remember the towns being quite dark, with enormous mills overshadowing the terraced houses, making the contrast of the surrounding countryside even more impactful.
The first business I set up was designing and making hand tufted rugs. My ‘studio’ was in an unheated garage with no natural light. To keep warm, I used to wear a black balaclava, cut off gloves and a big black jacket. I managed to scare the postman a few times!
Commissions included a rug for a Contemplation Centre at a Rotterdam Hospital and a rug for the Managing Director’s suite, British Rail, Birmingham.
I now have a lovely warm, bright studio to work in. My favourite textile machine at the moment is the needle punch, which has a bed of 2,000 needles. It blends and distresses layers of fabric in very exciting and sometimes unpredictable ways, as I learnt by trial and error! Experimentation is what I most enjoy.