My interest in textiles, gender and social history finally collided in the making of traditional hooked and prodded rag rugs. I use new and vintage fabrics as well as homespun fibres. The technique is simple but the possibilities endless and entirely congruent with modern ideas of thrift and recycling. My inspiration is varied, focusing on my surroundings, landscapes, local stories and my career as an archaeologist. I collect vintage rug making equipment and I’m always keen to hear people’s stories and memories of mat making.
I’m also a hand spinner and this year finally realised an ambition to start handloom weaving and am the proud owner of a vintage four-shaft counter-balance floor loom to which I am utterly devoted. I love the marriage of the technical and the creative as well as the more abstract way weaving is making me think and its legacy with the past. Again my inspirations are Yorkshire landscapes, ancient weaving and where I live, Saltaire in Yorkshire, a Victorian model village built to house the workers of a colossal textile mill and now a World Heritage Site.
It is an amazing place to live, very creative with exciting events throughout the year including the Saltaire Arts Trail and the Saltaire Festival and home to a thriving community of artists and designer-makers. Although I hope I bring a contemporary slant to traditional techniques, I love that I’m doing something that would have been familiar to the mill workers who used to live here. I can be found in the directory of the Heritage Crafts Association and am a member of the Guild of Long Draw Spinners.