My early works were inspired by the intricacies of flora, influenced by my degree in landscape architecture. Over the past decade I developed a floral series, during which time I explored the possibilities of portraying a single flower form on a large scale. My intention was to delve into the contradiction of portraying nature’s smooth, fluid forms in simple pixelated stitches, using the freestyle blending of colours within each stitch to incorporate intricate details of light, shade and colour in every petal.
In recent years I have developed a deep interest in Moroccan interior design. My travels to Morocco have exposed me to the centuries-old tradition of ‘zellige’; the technique of making geometrically patterned mosaics, used to decorate walls, ceilings, fountains, floors, pools and tables throughout Morocco.
I became fascinated with the idea of juxtaposing the ancient technique of hand-stitching with the Moroccan tradition of zillige. My Moroccan-inspired tapestries have drawn on the impressive geometric and calligraphic designs of zillige, inviting the viewer to contemplate how intricate shading created with stitched wool can represent an ageing tile that may date back centuries. My work is also influenced by other Moroccan architectural features, such as doorways, ironwork and timber panelling, and ways in which they can be represented by stitched yarn. My work is non-political and non-theological.
Running in parallel has been my ongoing interest in interior design trends, and the role that tapestry/ needlepoint can play in enhancing modern domestic and commercial interiors.
The process of creating a contemporary tapestry begins with a theme, a concept, and some good original source photographs. I interpret original photographs and used blended colours to create my piece. I make constant artistic decisions as the work progresses, relating to colour and shading, to create depth of field, and ways in which to represent nature’s imperfections, such as an ageing flower petal or an ageing tile.
The two images on the right show how I use source images to create my designs. The source image (left) becomes a stitched tapestry (work in progress right).
When viewed from a distance, my completed needlepoint tapestries are designed and worked to give a realistic photographic appearance, yet up close, the viewer is made aware of the pixilated nature of the work created by individual needlepoint stitches. In a world dominated by the visual image made up of pixels on screens, the pixilated centuries-old tradition of needlepoint tapestry provides yet another parallel to the modern world.