Whilst studying Printmaking, in 1998, on the MA Course at Camberwell College of Art, I began looking back on my childhood, and realised how familiar household artefacts helped me uncover childhood memories and family history. This journey of discovery was developed in my work, through photographic collages and 3d constructions.
My grandparents fled Poland and Russia in about 1915, to settle in the East End of London, where they set up a tailors workshop, to continue their trade. Reflecting on their lives, and family professions, brought up ideas about sewing and making. Remembering too, my Russian granny, that lived upstairs with us; the ‘sewing circles’ she regularly attended, and her much used sewing machine, has inspired me to make work in memory to them. I began to create paper patterns to use as templates, to form irons, sewing machines, scissors etc. These are sewn together using waxed coloured papers.
My fathers profession as a women’s hairdresser is reflected in my ‘hairdresser’ pieces. And with memories of dad’s tool shed, I have begun creating hairdressing ‘objects’, both real and imaginary, through amalgamating old workshop tools, hairdressers utensils, and paper forms.
Although constructing my sculptures largely out of paper, reflects my love of collage, and working in this medium, I am remembering, that although thought of as fragile and impermanent, paper can preserve family memories, and gave my grand-parents a life line, and safe passage out of Eastern Europe.
I began my working life as an Art Director in Advertising. Since then, my creative work has developed in many directions and mediums, often with graphic and drawn elements. Working in clay for several years, I created sculptural forms that expressed my own experiences and passions – my London life, travelling, and Arsenal, my supported football team. However, themes of family history, and ways of making, that begun on the MA Printmaking Course, have inspired me ever since.
Alongside my life of making, I have been teaching Art to adults for many years. Primarily at Camberwell College of Art, for 20 years, and for the last 12 years, at The City Lit, London.
1982 Harvest Too Gallery, London
1986 Sunderland Arts Centre, Sunderland
1986 Cleveland Museum
1987 Edinburgh Art Gallery
2015 Ideas Store Whitechapel, London
Victoria & Albert Museum, London – Contemporary Ceramics & 20c Hat Collection Paisley Museum, Scotland
Royal Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh
Ulster Museum, Northern Ireland
The Crafts Council, London
Bedfordshire Education Authority, England