wool, felt, plastic 330 × 120 × 90 mm
Comfort Sheep, 2000
wool, felt, plastic, paper approx 210 × 180 × 90 mm
My awareness of textiles came through Janie, a rag doll made for me by my Aunt. Janie’s orange wool hair was a great comfort to me, I would tickle my nose with it. Her hair would gradually wear out and my Godmother would give her a new lot, always wool, always orange.
My Godmother became my greatest inspiration. She was always making things, not frumpy, lumpy things that you hid in your wardrobe, but fashionable, desirable toys and clothes. She was a free spirit. She lived alone, was unmarried and just got on with her own thing. I associated textiles with her and therefore with freedom.
I loved the Clangers, they were knitted. My Godmother taught me to knit, it was difficult, she was left handed. I loved knitting.
I was further inspired by the knitwear designer, Patricia Roberts. She did not rely upon traditional textile images, wholesome flowers, but turned instead to the contemporary urban world for inspiration. She was bold. I entered knitwear design competition in a craft magazine. I won. I was academic but I was also creative. I knew which path I would follow, the one that represented individuality.
Photography: Douglas Atfield