home maker

I got a First Class Honours degree! My final degree show was an installation called ‘Home Maker’ and was a collection of textile artefacts, found sound and projected emailed text. The textile pieces are a series of hand made door stops which are wrapped house bricks.  The cloth that covers the bricks is linen, on which I’ve then digitally printed and hand and machined stitched personal email stories or memories I’ve received from various respondents who wrote and told me about an object that helped make their house a  ‘home’.  I’ve collated a fabulous range of stories which include a favourite tablespoon that measures out just the right amount of flour for cakes and has the perfect ‘slurp’ depth!… a box of home made Christmas decorations that are brought out every Christmas and then when the festivities are over for another year, the baubles and home made ornaments are packed away in the same box with a note written on top which says ‘not to be opened until Christmas (Eve) 1999, 2000, 2001’ and so on….the box and ritual are special because it was on the couple’s first Christmas Eve in their new house, that the husband proposed and they’re still going strong after 20 years… another story is about a frying pan that is very old and worn and held together with gaffer tape (duck tape) but comes out for special Sunday breakfasts when all the grown up children return from their various colleges and universities and Mum cooks a huge breakfast, safe in the knowledge that her kids are now at home, all at the table waiting for her and of course the breakfast…...

my mother’s bag

This latest project concerns memories of a handbag that belonged to someone’s mother or grandmother. I used to love peering into my Mum’s bag, investigating all the bits and bobs(with permission of course!) and looking longingly at the gold tube of Rimmel Coral lipstick – thinking how great it would be when I had my very own bag and lipstick. I also remember too, how helping yourself to things in my Mum’s bag was a real no no – and that you weren’t allowed to rifle through it – if there was something in there that we needed, we’d have to fetch the bag for my Mum to root through herself. I still do that a bit today, my bag is like my own private cupboard with zips and pockets hiding mysterious bits and pieces (of rubbish usually, important rubbish of course) …my bag is also a visual indicator of my mind…by that I mean when my bag is loaded and heavy with papers, receipts, lists, lipbalms, loose change etc, although I know everything in there is safe, I also know that things are getting jumbled and confused in my mind. Every now and then I tip out my bag and reorder things back into their proper places ie: change in my ‘Elvis’ clasp purse, receipts ordered ready to file, credit cards neatly arranged in order of overdraft size. So this project brought together various stories submitted from other people about their mother’s bag, I took my favourite stories and reconstructed a new bag from the leather and linings from my defunct summer bag. There are 3 main stories...

peg bag

I’ve completed a peg bag. The peg bag holds special memories for me because as a child this was the first piece I’d sewn and completed with my Grandmother teaching me. The bag is made by taking a length of fabric, folded twice and sewn up the sides and inserting a hanger with its hook coming out of a small hole in the top. I recently made my Mum a new bag but used fabrics found in my Grandmother’s attic as the house was being cleared after she had died. Although the bag is a pretty mundane object it actually holds a lot of significance as sewing and doing the washing seem to be a major part of my life in amongst everything else. So I took this idea of ‘can you remember a peg bag in your household’ and opened it up for wider discussion, memories and stories. I didn’t really expect much on this seemingly dull idea but I was overwhelmed by the response I got back. Lots of stories about the peg bag being the first ever sewing project at home with their mother or grandmother teaching or undertaken as a school project. Many still recall the details of the stitching, the fabric used and even some lettering spelling out phrases such as ‘I Hate Wash Days’ and ‘MY PEG BAG’ etc. So I constructed a new bag but included lots of the stories that were sent in as the text on the inner and outer fabric. I also found a book “The Household Book of Hints and Wrinkles” that explained how to launder and dry...

child’s strait jacket

A memory of a most hated garment was sent to me. This person was placed in care as a child and whenever he or another child was naughty or caught fighting or even just if he was crying, he was made to wear a strait jacket until he had calmed down. They recall that a lesser punishment was being locked in the laundry cupboard with the light off. Images that follow are samples from my sketch book and the finished jacket. Handmade with excerpts of the memory screenprinted onto the fabric. Other parts of the text are secreted in the lining and stitiching of the...