It is a well known philosophy that all art produced is autobiographical, that creative output is a direct result of life’s experiences. Being brought up in an environment surrounded by books and enjoying the natural world from an early age has provided the influence for my artwork. These seemingly disparate entities both offered me the ability to immerse and lose myself as a child and offered me comfort. In adulthood I recall these themes through my work with nostalgia as they allow me to escape from contemporary society with its complexities and challenges.
I often consider place and its meaning to an individual in my work. Literal interpretations of the environment, representations of mapping as well as more abstract concepts about our individual finite existence and our relationship with home find their way into my pieces. Tradition, both familial and cultural, 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.
Using the book itself 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 work. 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, and I dedicate a lot of time to experimenting with paper, paint and printmaking, pushing materials and understanding what they do. I am particularly interested in paper as a material with its fragile properties and I enjoy its sometimes unpredictable nature. Printmaking has become a large part of my practice over recent years and again I enjoy the historical relevance of this method of working and passing on of traditional skills. Many printmaking processes employed aid concept within the pieces as the permanent marks made by tools and techniques evoke ideas of retained memories and repetition of image alludes to the idea of intergenerational traditions.