Part of my creative practice is writing.
I’ve earned my living as a writer for more than 25 years – researching and writing social policy, and now writing web content and lifestyle journalism.
Writing is also a key part of my art. I have kept a journal for more than thirty years, both personal diary and studio journal to explore ideas, capture inspiration and sometimes just to get things out of my head and on paper. Adding text to my artwork in the form of stitch or a kind of backwards opaque writing that looks like language, has the form of language but is only meaningful to me. Opacity rather than communication is the key to my art text. I use Latin, or stitch using the same colour as the background piece, or crosswrite, or paint over layers of translucent colours.
Creative writing, in the form of short stories and poems, has become increasingly important as another way of expressing the thoughts and images that swirl around my head. Over the last twelve months I have started a new, bigger project – a fictional memoir that rewrites my childhood. The facts of my childhood have resisted therapy and counselling. I got some distance towards overcoming the trauma but stopped making any headway and was left shackled to the hurts of the past. And it was both frustrating and boring. I was sick of having my present overshadowed by my past.
And so I started writing a new childhood for myself. A new draft – Life2 – that would replace the first draft – Life1- and allow me to detach from the trauma, and the flashbacks and defuse the painful legacy that threatened to spoil what had become a pretty nice life. Alongside this new memoir a textile artwork has started to take shape, experimenting with stitching words that define Life1 on one side of a vintage tablecloth, the other side will have words that define Life2. Early samples look very promising, and this feels as liberating as writing the memoir itself.
Writing creates. Writing brings things into being and creates new realities, new truths. By using writing and words in my art, putting text in the textile art, my new life is given meaning and depth and a different level of reality.