I still remember the smell of the dark room, standing under the soft red light waiting excitedly for the photo to emerge. Those college days of 'slow' experimental photography long gone, were instead replaced by the daily grind of motherhood, of broken sleep and piled up laundry, the stereotype of mother certainly rang true for me. When my second child came along, already in a world I had misplaced as my own, it was little surprise that I developed some mild post natal depression. Becoming a mother in 2010 changed me in so many ways and whilst at that time I loved working as a corsetiere I was struggling to find enough time to work on my brand, and as an already labour intensive venture it was taking me weeks, sometimes months to finish one piece and so I was losing momentum and enthusiasm. Having always been a creative person I knew I needed to find an alternative form of creativity, one that I could incorporate into my brand, as with two small children, corsetry was just too difficult to pursue at that point in my life.
Thankfully photography has been one constant in my life since the birth of my second child and the weekly focus of getting out into nature to take pictures with the kids was enough of a focus to shift those blue feelings and became the beginning of what is an ongoing love affair with landscape and floral photography. Over that time I've managed to teach myself the basics with a fairly modest set up. I also credit this time with setting many other wheels in motion, an awareness of the need for human connection with nature, wanting to incorporate more natural products into our home and lifestyle, and each new discovery lead to another and that's when I fell into natural dyeing.
The healing power of nature became a central theme to my way of thinking and my values, and I began to question what other synthetic processes and products were around me, and the beauty and romanticism of traditional and floral dyes were enough of an enticement for an already floral loving babe! So I spent the next couple of years researching and learning the basics, and the best bit was that this was something I was able to pursue at home in the kitchen with the kids around, rather than needing to be in my home studio at the top of our house, it was accessible. And whilst it is still a fairly 'slow' pursuit, it has helped with the evolution of my work and brand and has brought me to where I am today.
Still, with this new found satisfaction, during the last couple of years I have had an ever increasing pull to start painting again, my degree after all is in Fine Art. That whispered voice became so overwhelming that in 2018 I moved into my own little art studio set within a local communal studio as it felt important to integrate myself into the local community to avoid feelings of isolation and to get involved with the arts scene.
I now divide my time between two bodies of work, my ongoing naturally dyed textiles and painting. Attempting to bring enough cohesion I am experimenting with natural dyes and earth pigments on both silk and canvas and elements of stitch and embellishment within both disciplines. One year on and I have just launched my first official collection of original paintings, a modest collection combining my love of florals and inspired by the natural dye colour palette of my silks.
I am anticipating that this year will see my work take more of an art direction overall with the odd mini collection of naturally dyed silk scarves and eye masks, but I already have an exciting project to kickstart the year which will come to light in a couple of months.
Can't wait to share more with you soon!
You can shop the new collection here!