I attended a workshop with Alice Fox not long after she had completed her residency on Spurn Point, and was intrigued by the landscape. After personal research I started to discover the history of this small spit of land and became absolutely fascinated. I visited Spurn for the first time some four years ago, and have since been drawn deeper and deeper into the lives of the people who once lived there.
I now have contacts with the local history group, authors of books and pamphlets on the area, and have also managed to find long out-of-print publications. My research seems to work like stepping stones – one question asked brings up a myriad of information which leads to further research – such as the loss of the Brig Emma on the sandbanks at the south of the island in a storm in 1893. This led to my book, Spurn (below), being kept in a seaman’s duffle bag with the name of the captain of the Brig … which in turn led to contact from the captain’s great grand-daughter.
I became very emotionally involved with the lives of the people who lived on this spit – the lifeboatmen and their families – who were often left in darkened, flooding houses whilst their menfolk were out at sea, risking their own lives to save others; the children, mixed ages, gleaning an education with teachers who were also involved in the post office; families trying to eke out a living by gathering “sea coal”, salvaging wrecked vessels and helping to load sloops with sand and gravel off the “binks”.
My book depicts the changing landscape of Spurn – the spit itself moves over time, but is also being eroded, more rapidly in recent years since the coastal defences are no longer being maintained. Of greater importance to me is telling the story of the people themselves – showing children at school and on the beach, the fishermen, the sloops off the spit, and, probably most poignant, the volunteer lifeboat men wearing their flimsy cork lifejackets.
My two large pieces for the exhibition are, again, around the lives and land of Spurn Point. The first is a hanging showing the shadow of the land from above with small pieces of fabric floating in the air instead of the sea.
The second is a large “page” from my book – a collage of fabric, paper and mixed media.
I have also made bags for the other five sailors lost on the Brig Emma. The story of their loss, which sometimes overwhelms me, is told in a small accompanying book.
A Letter in Mind: A Sense of Movement. The National Brain Appeal, Gallery Different, London, November 2022
Stories in Stich, textiles2020. Espacio Gallery, London, April 2022
Untold Stories, Prism Textiles, The Art Pavilion, London, March 2022
Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, Piccadilly, London, September 2021-January 2022
A Letter in Mind, The National Brain Appeal, London, November 2021
Printmakers’ Council Archive, work included in the permanent collection at the Scarborough Museums Trust, 2021
Sewn Antidote, 2020. Contributed to a collaborative textile artwork on reflections to the first lockdown of the COVID pandemic. Accepted as part of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s textile collection
textiles2020: the show, Espacio Gallery, London, December 2020
In Transition, CityLit Gallery, Covent Garden, London, February-March 2020
Construction Sites, CityLit, Covent Garden, London, July 2019
Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair, Arsenal, London, November 2019
London Print Studio Summer Show, Kilburn, London, July 2019
Meanwhile, R K Burt Gallery, London, July 2019
Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair, Arsenal, London, October 2018
London Print Studio Summer Show, Kilburn, London, July 2018
Pressing Time, R K Burt, London, June 2018
CLFA Final Show, Espacio Gallery, London, July 2017
Stuff of Life, Whitehouse Arts, Cambridge, November 2015
Modern Marquetry, Portico Library, Manchester; solo exhibition, March 1976
Marquetry, Lantern Gallery, Manchester; solo exhibition, October 1975