Born in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, I grew up surrounded by decaying mills and the remnants of a once thriving textile industry. From a young age I became fascinated by old machinery and dreamt about what had gone before when I found fragments of ceramics, glass, wood, metal and textiles as I scoured river banks. This interest extended to wherever I went, for instance, when I visited beaches at the coast and as I passed farmers’ fields as I walked in the countryside – to this day, I am always on the lookout for ‘treasure’ when I go places. What intrigues me the most about the things I find, is the impact nature has had on them – I love items that are aged, weathered and corroded.
Inspired by my local environment, in 2004 I did a degree in Textile Crafts (after firstly completing a BTEC in General Art and Design), where I specialised in weaving. I got to use looms and other machines salvaged from local textile factories, however, I became increasingly interested in hand-weaving methods - enjoying braiding, basket making and tapestry weaving most of all.
Over the years I have also tried many other types of art and craft – printing, sewing, film photography and felting, to name just a few. I have always had a strong urge to create and express myself visually – as a child I drew, painted and made things from all sorts of materials. I was drawn to areas where I could physically construct things from scratch - I think this was spurred on by a love of working with raw materials. I created things from wood, fabric, wool, found objects - anything that was to hand. Clay was something I only had access to now and then whilst at school and college when growing up. It wasn’t until I did a teaching placement whilst studying for my PGCE in 2009, that I got chance to really start to explore clay – I worked with a group of adults in a pottery for wellbeing class at a day centre - it was only for a couple of hours per week, but during this time my love for the material grew and grew.
Becoming an Art House pottery volunteer, when it opened in Sheffield in 2015, has had a massive impact on me - meeting others with a shared admiration of ceramics has been so inspiring. I love being around clay, in a studio environment and in an educational setting.
The ceramic work I currently make is highly influenced by my background in textiles – I like to make jewellery by knotting and weaving with clay, put my handmade ceramic pendants on cord that I braid and my buttons are created with the hope that one day they will adorn handmade clothing, bags and other accessories. Like the ‘treasure’ I collect, my pieces look as though they have been weathered by nature – it’s as though water has worn their edges, the sun has bleached them and time has allowed them to acquire patina.