My previous blog, Cover her Head is “full up”, an won’t let me post any more photos so I will continue here
Beginning my Final Year of Part time Fine Arts degree, 5 long/short years and it will all be over. As a mature student I may be over before then, it is a race,
“One must tear happiness from the days to come”
Mayakovsky didn’t have long to test his premise.
Kisses to him.
So I guess my work ricochets between Death and Survival.


I have made a collection of 3D figures that explore and question some of the many roles women fulfil throughout our lives. Working with fabric and stitches I have sought to construct life-size figures that retain the vulnerability of the female body but which maintain a powerful presence.
While making this work I have been influenced by artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Kiki Smith, Marlene Dumas, Jacob Epstein, Sarah Lucas, Paula Rego and Eva Hesse.
By gathering them together in 4 groups I intend to subvert the accepted cultural narrative of a woman as “naturally” inhabiting a single continuous persona that is what it is the be Female and thus pose questions about societies expectations.
For instance the woman/man single parent; the howling 3 headed birth figure is she angry or in pain; the house wife wearing a pinny of nails [for various reasons in a patriarchy] and a gas mask [to try and cut out the fumes of corruption] and 2 ways her daughters could evolve; the disappearing older woman [4 hanging shapes] who is largely ignored as no longer of use; the huge Gaia figure lamenting/furious at the death of the poem wrapped woman who has waited too long to become herself, [plus possibly the embroidered torso of historic abuse and the slag writhing under tabloid labelling] .
The relationships between the figures in each group, and between the groups conveys power and vulnerability of the female situation without clarifying too overtly
Thus the groups perhaps need to be in one large space, with sufficient distance between each group so that they can have their own energy, a space where the viewer can become aware of the presence of more than one perspective and gain an impression of the diversity required from women. EG half the sculpture room with the 10’ divider walls to enclose the space
There is a resemblance to shops dummies so they could be displayed in a shop window in town to interesting effect.
They could be displayed on each landing of the Art School stairs so the effect is accumulative.
They could also be exhibited in Room One [café] each group in a right angle of the room dividers.


Making meaning from nothingness.
Making my mark.
Making something solid from an idea in my mind.
Exploration Enjoyment
Communication Introspection Creativity
Examining critically cultural and societal influences and expectations on the individual
By using my creativity explore how I feel and ask more questions of myself.
Achieved this year
About two dozen pieces and parts including
Mainly 3D figures close to life-size, constructed from dyed and painted fabrics on wire frames or stuffed with wadding, pierced with nails, wrapped in stitched tapes. plus 3 secondhand dress shop torsos. Inked and gessoed figures on wood and muslin. Paper mache figure and bust gessoed.
next six weeks
make an enormous woman celebrating being alive


Four figures exploring ALL THE WOMEN IN ME ARE TIRED. The first I made as an empty bag, stitched and waxed. The surface gleams quietly in the light, looks a bit like a snake skin that has been sloughed off. This led to further experiment…..a single layer of net curtain, waxed and cut to the template of the first and then a partial silk figure waxed and spattered with walnut ink. The final figure became the second as to the same template as the first I cut and hand stitched a bag [not completely closed. It could be open and spilling…….but I want to expand my use of different media so it is splattered with plaster and wax….which is rather unstable so may not allow me to add “spilling guts”.
This work has been a development of my previous experiments with stuffed fabric figures. I wanted to make something that was more delicate fragile tired!
Counter intuitively it has led me to consider working on my large “single parent” and making it more flagrant….perhaps painting it as a “nana” ?
looking at the group together t does look rather down beat…maybe more joy is needed….by me. Maybe I am getting my energy back?


In Greek mythology Cerberus is a 3/many headed dog that guards the entrance to the Underworld. It was one of Hercules tasks to remove it.
This almost life?size [maybe a bit smaller, than me anyway] figure is constructed from a base of wired chicken wire, bound with painted and dyed fabric secured with black twine.
It is intended the kneeling figure kneels on the floor, heads flung back howling in anger.
The facial features, hands and feet are stitched in black thick thread.

Bitch is a derogatory name for women, as opposed to the opposite context of a dog being a “man’s best friend” contained by binds
reds and pinks to emphasise the figure is female, and exploding

Louise Bourgeois

“Identification—the power of identification is very strong. I lend the animal, I project the animal and shape my feelings.”

Sarah Lucas made an angry art work in 1995 of a T-shirt stretched over a table with additions.  the placement referring furiously about the position of “screwing the female over a table” like another utensil for male use.

The term Bitch is in itself angry, in some ways referring to loving loyalty, but the emotion is demeaned and rejected.

When referring to a female dog people are often loath to use the term as it sounds somehow rude. Pornographic cartoons and rappers make full use of the label.


Why use this term… make a verbal impact, for a visual impact ….to claim it back as a strength, a fearsome image. an image that already possesses a familiar narrative and connotations, now appropriated in a unexpected way.

Lucas’ and Bourgeois’ work is strong and breaks taboos about sex and gender. Bougeois’ work is often also aesthetically pleasing and perhaps melodramatic [using fabrics breaks this ]  but Lucas goes even further in using every day objects, clothes, tables., mattresses, fruit to shock and engage.


This tape is stitched with road sign warnings, in a triangle? ……repeatedly I have stitched MIND THE GAP and sometimes KEEP YOUR DISTANCE…..some disintegrating into part words.
I am feeling the weight of of the end of the degree course approaching. The GAP between making pieces for ARTSKOOL and my real life. Until I started at ARTSKOOL I sold my stitched work at exhibitions, I was minorly known locally for my different approach to textile art and a sense of humour. I did not reduce my work to flowers and birds [almost a certain sale] but explored and expressed the concepts in my mind, using the human figure which relates almost as well as birds and flowers. But I wanted to develop, to push the boundaries make more extreme responses to what goes on in my head.
So I started the Fine Arts degree.
Now I am finishing it, I have a body of work, large and startling fabric figures commenting on my thoughts of the situation of women in a patriarchal society. I have probably done enough to pass, but……what have I done? None of my pieces would sell, in some ways perhaps it should be categorised as OUTSIDER ART
as Wikipedia claims
the English term “outsider art” is often applied more broadly, to include certain self-taught or naïve art makers who were never institutionalized.
Typically, those labeled as outsider artists have little or no contact with the mainstream art world or art institutions. In many cases, their work is discovered only after their deaths. Often, outsider art illustrates extreme mental states, unconventional ideas, or elaborate fantasy worlds.