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Hooks and Threads

Textile and Mixed Media Artist

My Thoughts

Exploring line — with a variety of tools

Grids — with pen & ink and machine embroidery; words and music scores

Music scores — movement & dance; dancing around people and issues — perpetually moving

Dance — pleasure & fun but also pussy footing around someone or something

Fabric — fabric perpetually moves; flowing; exploring line, texture, colour, shades, form - placement

Words — exploring language & words — the written word & meaning; interpretation

Colour — interpretation; the movement of colour; shades; tones           

I have been spending time exploring the perpetual movement of all of the above linked to my life journey and the domestic abuse & violence I suffered for over 20 years.

When I was working with line and mark making with a wide variety of tools including natural objects resourced from the environment I realised the marks represented movement and in turn represented the roads and pavements I have travelled. From here the grids I made began to remind me of crossroads, roadways, paths, tram lines and train tracks and I began to wonder where they all led and where they all came from. Where did the journey begin and where would it end?

The grids also made me reflect on the five lines of a music score and how the notes on a music score bounce around and jumped here there and everywhere and unless you can read music it becomes a random array of marks perpetually moving/dancing across the page — from where had they come and where were they going?

These notes or marks on a music score made me think about how we dance around our perpetrators — perpetually moving not knowing where we are going; dancing on eggshells. Abuse of any kind is one big dance. We pirouette around perpetrators and follow a sequence of steps in order to keep the peace and stay safe. We create an unhealthy dance and rhythm between victim and perpetrator that over time becomes normalised. The dance rhythm and steps change according to the perpetrator's dance and the length of time we remain with the perpetrator. The music and dance change beyond recognition on fleeing and it can become very unsafe.          

I then began to consider words using antique manuscripts which I selected randomly. I began to mark with a black pen, the shapes running through the gulleys and spaces in the manuscript which looked like rivers and streams flowing from the top of the paper to the bottom. As I was doing this, I noticed words that could have been attributed or linked to my story, journey and the abuse. Taking a pink highlighter pen I picked out a whole range of words that could have been written by me or for me, positive and negative; in fact, they could be attributed to any abuse victim or survivor.

The words I found were:

  • Forgiveness
  • Soul
  • Petrified
  • Virtue
  • Wisdom
  • Desires
  • Honour
  • Barren
  • Heart
  • Unsafe
  • Conduct
  • Ethics
  • Sordid
  • Free
  • Rightness
  • Universe
  • Life
  • Divine
  • Vice
  • Rules
  • Force

This work formed a symbolic journey of my own survival perpetually moving and dancing; traversing roads and pavements, rivers and streams; navigating oceans, the desert, hills and dales, continents turning corners, jumping rivers and negotiating dead ends, T-junctions and cul-de-sacs to find peace and ultimately happiness.

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