I first learned to weave at evening classes at Edinburgh College of Art, run by Archie Brennan and Maureen Hodge. I was 19 years old and working at the Dovecot silk screen printing ceramic tiles. I had observed the weavers working every day and was really interested in learning to weave (on a much smaller scale!!). I built up a portfolio of work which was usual in Scotland and was accepted by ECA. I completed First Year General and was accepted into the Tapestry Department and was there until I graduated. I also worked in black and white photography, taught by Theresa McKenna, a fellow student from Ireland. As students we were encouraged to keep sketchbooks and work through ideas, but I usually know what I want to weave next, generally before the piece I am weaving is finished and already have many thoughts of how I am going to go about it.
The connection with the Irish weavers and learning about their working practices has been a wonderful experience. It has also been great to see that there is an informed and appreciative audience for tapestry in Ireland.
Tapestry gives me a medium which best expresses the work that I enjoy making. There is scope for looking at line, shape, texture and pattern, all of which interest me. Tapestry has allowed me to develop as an artist, challenging me to experiment in many ways and developing techniques which are different. I have always used photography as well as drawing to explore subject matter. Life sized figures are the subjects of my larger pieces of work and they are shaped around the human. They allow me to explore form as well as pattern and texture.
I also weave smaller sculptural pieces which involve 3 dimensional knots. Also at a smaller scale I weave images of animal eyes using pattern and texture.