Representations of mapping, geometric symbols that represent the elements of nature and more abstract concepts about our individual finite existence find their way into my pieces. I tend to work around the idea that many of us have a sense of place and that this is influenced by both our natural environment and the people that surround us; particularly the relationships that we have with those people. My work is inspired by the natural world, and I am fascinated by the innate human response to nature. Despite the fact that many of us live detached from the natural environment in cities with lives governed by technology, we are still able to understand the powerful symbolism that nature depicts. We can relate to these themes with ease, understanding that a tree can represent stability and growth and that we associate the night sky with dreams, a connection to that which is beyond our reach and a contemplation of our place within the universe. My interpretations of the terrestrial and celestial environment focus on the connection between these two spaces. The symbols need little explanation, they are meant to be accessible to all; to illustrate the intrinsic human connection to nature. At the moment I am also working with a series of geometric forms called the Platonic Solids. Plato suggested that each one of these three-dimensional, regular forms represented an element of the natural world: fire, earth, water, air and the fifth element, difficult to define, became known as aether. A recurring theme in my work, aether was once thought to relate to the space beyond our planet or the celestial sphere.
Although I embrace new media and digital methods in my work, I also acknowledge tradition and the importance of this in establishing our identity and idea of home. Notions of both familial and cultural tradition lie at the heart of my artistic practice and in many instances I am considering memory and knowledge and how this is transferred across generations. Many printmaking processes employed aid concept within the pieces as the permanent marks made by tools and techniques evoke ideas of retained memories and the repetition of images alludes to the idea of intergenerational traditions. Making use of traditional methods supports the idea that the learning that has gone before us, and the information that is passed through generations, are things that make up our unique environment and also contribute to our sense of place.
My interest in the book as an object also makes reference to our cultural heritage, a traditional skill that relies on methods that have remained unchanged for centuries. In such senses, the process of bookbinding has become as important as the books themselves and the concepts behind them. Recognising the beauty and skill involved in making books is just as much part of the bound pieces I make. It is a slow process, and requires patience, concentration and practice, but it is calming and rewarding. The hand-bound book stands out in an age where we are used to fast results and machine-made objects.
Materials and technique also play an important role in all the pieces I make, and I dedicate a lot of time to experimentation. This may be with paper, printmaking or even digital media. I like to push materials and combine techniques to understand how they can work in conjunction with one another. Often one piece of work will lead on to the next; my etchings are photographed to create my screen prints, and prints are reworked into end papers for artist’s books, cut paper pieces and sculptures. By bringing numerous complex processes together I feel I am able to produce unique, innovative aesthetic responses to the themes I am working with.