It was during the lockdown that I extended my emballage work that is to say works employing recycled cardboard packaging – and began to include a range of new materials beyond cardboard, palette papers, paint and ink. The discovery of my daughter’s infant frocks suddenly became the inspiration for the cardboard quilts you see in this show. “Cardboard quilting” is a term I have coined to describe the works in this show that combine cardboard with material.
Quilts are traditionally aesthetic objects made by women, by hand, and often these are highly influenced by time and place, pressures and circumstances. The overwhelming reality governing the period during which my largest quilt “The Vaccine Garden” was created was the pandemic. I thought about the scientific explanations and diagrams of Covid-19, full of shapes and forms. For me, this visual experience was the beginning of abstraction and design for my ensuing work. Living with two sons with a huge interest in biology and medical research, it struck me looking at their computer screens how these scientific diagrams resembled the birds’ eye view I had from, the top of our house looking out onto the neighbours’ gardens. The shapes of molecules and plant structures became as one on the vaccine cardboard quilt of imagined gardens over on that wall. The spots on my daughter’s infant frocks became the antibodies on a scientific diagram and these materials served to inspire a whole new direction for the cardboard packaging from the three David Austin yellow roses that had arrived
The Vaccine Garden (A Cardboard Quilt)
Mixed Media comprising the cardboard packaging of a David Austin Rose, fabrics from my daughter's toddler frocks, wood, gouache, acrylic, ink
Canvas frame 120 x 150 x 3.5
Imagined Growth Series: A Triptych available separately or together
I had worked with cardboard and paint and ink but why not actual materials and wood and stone? Lockdown gave us more time at home to garden. The imagined garden quilt series – the three jute pieces – became the tangible embodiment of all my aspirational, wildly experimental garden schemes.
Growing up In the Barbican (a cardboard quilt)
“Growing up in the Barbican” was influenced by the brutal forms I see through the windows of my Barbican studio. I like to refer to the work as from “The Bauhaus School of Cardboard Quilting” and I jocularly invited other artists on Instagram to join me in this “new school”. The Bauhaus never had quilting of course but I think they’d have been interested in it".
Mixed media cardboard quilt made from recycled cardboard packaging, fragments from my daughter's infant and toddler dresses, ink, gouache, pins, button
Bespoke oak frame ART glass