Marilyn H.

I wasn’t sure how I was going to manage to reduce that huge draft into a couple of paragraphs.  I have spent a week reading through it, thinking about it and discussing it all with my sister.  I then realized. By writing all of that stuff down and giving it time to soak in I had discovered the thread.  So I was able, after all, to distill everything into a couple of paragraphs.  It is so reassuring to discover that I knew what I was about all along, I just hadn’t worked out how to accept and embrace it and use it in my work!! Thank you Jane.

 My story

I grew up within a happy, traditional family with my parents and four siblings in a very rural country village where my lifelong passion for the great, wild, open places began. My father had been a Far Eastern prisoner and loved the freedom of that rural lifestyle and the simple pleasures of life. I was introduced to cloth at an early age as my mother made all of the clothes for the family and costumes for our small ballet group.  I was drawn to it and developed a natural talent for all aspects of textiles.  As a teenager growing up in the 1960’s, I was exposed to all of the new ideas that were blossoming, just over the horizon lay new freedoms and opportunities that were inviting me. However, I became a traditional needlework teacher, married and had two children. Nonetheless the need to fight tradition and challenge the norms has been a relentless, powerful driving force throughout my life.  Marrying this desire for originality with my love of textiles has been a constant dilemma as they appear to contradict each other; textiles having always been associated with the feminine, domestic and decorative, the very things I have always challenged.  I have now come to realise that textile art is the ideal platform to challenge those traditions and can become a metaphor for freedom and liberty.

Cloth is my passion and is therefore the most important element in my work.  I use natural cloths and hand stitch into them, embedding them with personal meanings. They are often sculptural and heavily stitched; the slow, gradual process of building the work becomes a time for quiet thought and contemplation.  It is the process of making rather than the final result that holds the key to personal fulfillment. I cherish the freedom to express myself through my art.