The Shepherd’s Daughter

‘The Shepherd’s Daughter.’
As a textile artist I am inspired by family history and a love of nature, using digital print and embroidery as a means to explore ideas of memory, myths, fact and fiction. I am fascinated by the different ways our identity is shaped by place and experience, which has led me to understand that my interests and taste have been forged by the wonderful upbringing I have been fortunate enough to have. 

This exhibition of drawings and textile artworks uses the lens of mother’s life as a vehicle to look at our shared experiences of the contrasts inherent in living in a rural farming town whilst working in the textile industry. Colour, texture and materiality are underpinned by a rich palette of craft and textile processes. 

My mother’s birth certificate lists her father’s occupation as ‘Shepherd of Bumblebee Cottages’. It is the stuff of fairytales. In response to this landscape and experiences take on magical, poetic and fantastical qualities. 

As the 4th daughter of 9 children she talks so fondly of her childhood in a small village outside of Market Harborough, Leicestershire, where her freedom to explore and discover a love of nature more than made up for any lack of material possessions. She remembers her father as a vital farm labourer, a man of all seasons in tune with the rhythms of the land. In her mind he is driving the Ferguson tractor and dealing with all aspects of livestock and arable farming, whilst I can only remember him as my elderly grandfather suffering from chronic ill health.  After school she went on to become a machinist in ‘Symingtons’, the long since closed lingerie factory that dominated the town where she met my father.  As a child I grew up with an industrial sewing machine in our living room as she was an outworker. Instead of wandering the fields with rabbits we had a pet rabbit in the hutch in the back garden. Listening to her anecdotes has always provided limitless inspiration. The exhibition encompasses several themes that range from the nostalgic black and white photographs of family and buildings, in contrast with detailed drawings of farm animals and colourful interpretations of a magical cornfield filled with wildlife.  

Exhibition ran from 6th to 29th June 2019