Denise B.

History

I was born in the 1960's and grew up in South West London.  My sister arrived 2 years later and we all lived together in a terraced house along with my grandmother who lived independently in the house upstairs.  My sister and I, in our early years shared the same bedroom as my mother and father and then some years later my grandmother gave up one of the upstairs rooms so my sister and I could share a room together.  We had no central heating so it was pretty cold in the Winter. But, we had a wonderful dad who would go around lighting all the oil fires so the house was a little warmer when we got up.  Having my grandmother living in the house was an interesting challenge and not something I would recommend.  

I went to a small primary school just around the corner.  I was very shy and consequently didn't like school, but it didn't stop me from working hard and enjoying education.  When the time came for me to go to secondary school my mother wanted me to go to a grammer school.  I didn't believe I was bright enough so opted for the local comprehensive nearer to home.  I was put in the grammer stream but unfortunately was in the class with the students who didn't want to learn, unlike myself.  I was bullied for some years until I came to study for my O Levels when I was swapped into the other grammer class with the students who wanted to learn and school became fun.

When at home I loved drawing, listening to music, reading, gardening, knitting, cooking and sewing.  I wanted to do O Level sewing but was prevented from doing this by my mum and form tutor as they considered this a wasted O Level.  Our bedroom had a balcony overlooking the garden.  In the Summer I would grow plants in pots and hanging baskets on my balcony.  I remember some lovely hours spent with the doors open, sun shining in whilst listening to music and sewing, knitting or doing some other creative hobby.  

When I left school I went to university up in London where I studied computing and later did a maths degree.  It was good fun and I made lots of friends.  I wanted to do Operational Research but after getting a job with British Aerospace and having very little work, which was boring I changed careers and studied as an accountant and have been in this line ever since.  I am now self employed as an accountant as well as running a heating spares business.  I love the flexibility that this brings, although hard work.  I would love to make use of my creative skills one day so that I can reduce the mundane work that accountancy brings now.

About 10 years ago I studied for another degree and then did a masters in Psychology.  I found the degree really interesting and helpful in all aspects of life.  I have continued with my hobbies and 2 years ago I started a city and guilds course in patchwork and quilting,which I have nearly finished.  Since doing this I have learnt not to follow other people's ideas but to create my own designs.  Suddenly a whole new world has opened up before me which I am loving and want to develop.  Whilst I am not into patchwork I love creating pictures on fabric by dyeing, hand colouring, stitching and Applique, along with anything else I can think of.  My inspiration mainly comes from the countryside.

I now have a daughter who is 7, who is not at all shy, compared to me at her age.  She loves school and is happy and friendly.  I have never married, but did live with someone for 10 years before we went our separate ways apart from running the heating spares business happily together.

Three months ago my daughter and I took the big bold step and moved down to Cornwall.  We now have a wonderful house, with fantastic views and a very large garden of an acre in size and lots of trees on a slope!  I hope soon to have an extension built where I can work and explore my creative skills.

Process

My recent work comes from the countryside and the seasons.  For example at the moment I am interested in the colours of Autumn and wanted to use all the lovely oranges, yellows, reds,etc that come from the leaves on the trees.  I will spend a lot of time absorbing what is happening around me when I am out and about admiring what I can see.  Taking photos, looking more closely at what draws my attention, reflecting on what I like and why.  I have not spent time drawing, although I probably should.  I then consider what I would like to do and start playing around mentally with ideas.  I may make a few small sketches and look on the Internet for further pictures relating to my thoughts.  I am pretty bad and don't jot much down.  I will reflect on this for some days having ideas mulling them over, discarding some, focusing on others which may later develop further or may also be discarded too.  I will get fabric out and lay pieces out with pictures, coloured pencils and markal sticks, if I plan to use them.  These will be left out for some days which may be changed as my thoughts evolve until finally I get to the point where I know I am happy and have hatched my idea so to speak. Once I have reached this point I will then start my project, which will continue to evolve further as I go, but at this point I "know" what I want.

Content

I care about the world around me, the countryside, the sea.  I love bright colours and often find myself using flowers in my projects a lot.  I don't tend to include people or animals in my projects, although I care very much for them and like to see people happy and fulfilled with life.  I aim to create texture and would like to create atmosphere in my work as well as depth to draw the viewer into.  I am very interested in how creativity is a way of escaping and meditating, and bringing mental well being.  This is another area which I also want to explore further.