Talk us through your career path since graduating
I have continued to work very hard! A month after graduating in 2015 I curated an international exhibition of hand woven tapestry and in 2017 I did it all again getting an Arts Council Grant to take the show to Brick Lane, London. The next is in 2019 and I intend to continue these exhibitions every other year. I have moved into a dedicated studio in part of my home and this has enabled me to buy a scaffold frame and work on larger pieces. In the last year I have exhibited work in Artapestry5, a large scale tapestry exhibition that is currently touring Europe, I was invited to exhibit at the Istanbul design biennial and that show is also going to tour Europe. I have just finished a large round tapestry which will be exhibited in Canada early 2019. I have taught advanced tapestry techniques at West Dean and other colleges and demonstrated tapestry weaving at Chatsworth House in the State drawing Room surrounded by the Raphael designed 'Acts of The Apostles' tapestries.
What projects are you currently working on?
I am just about to weave the second half of a diptych to enter for exhibition later this year and I am also experimenting with weaving using bungee cord. The artwork for a small tapestry 10inches square is also in the pipeline. I have been invited to exhibit in a small format exhibition on the theme of 'Interface'; this piece will reflect the links with the matriarchal structure of my family.
What do you consider your biggest achievement to date?
Some major achievements are - getting a Qest Scholarship, doing my MFA at West Dean when I had no formal art training whatsoever before embarking on the Graduate Diploma, setting up Heallreaf, the biennial international tapestry exhibition, winning the Valerie Power prize in 2015 and winning the Cordis Showcase Prize in 2015.
They all mean a lot to me and I don't think I can separate just one to make it the biggest achievement.
Do you have any tips for recent graduates?
Don't 'get lost'. As an artist it is easy once you leave college to lose the rigour that you were taught and practised at college. Many of us have to take 'proper jobs' to help pay the bills, this might be teaching or something which is nothing to do with our art at all and it is easy to slip out of the habit of making art and lose that sense of discipline, especially when you are self employed and don't have the routine of heading off to the college studios everyday. It makes sense to forge links with other artists and maintain them over the longer term. Don't get isolated.
How do you think studying at West Dean College prepared you for what you do now?
College 'taught me to see'. I am not sure how, as we didn't have lectures on this subject, but I now look at art, the world and life in a very different way.
What's your favourite memory from your time at the College?
I have many good memories of my three years at West Dean. The first year especially was a time of great mutual support amongst the students. We all got on very well and I am still in touch with many of my fellow students, I had never previously experienced such a supportive environment.
My other memory was the sheer practical beauty of having the studio space to work in. I often worked alone in the late evening in the tapestry studio; the peace and serenity was sublime.