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About Me - Tilly

I live in the centre of Elgin with my son young Ethan, husband Mark, and our diva dog Bella. They and my other close family members have been a great support while I am in the process of developing my art practice and while I was studying as a Fine art and Textiles student attending Moray School of Art. I have recently graduated from Moray School of Art with an Honours Degree in Fine art and Textiles. I loved the freedom of expression that the course allowed me as a developing artist.

Coming from a family of strong women that have always been involved with textiles in one way or another either, for example in, the process of dying wool, finishing garments, or creating items of clothing. I have grown up appreciating and knowing the effort and work that goes into producing what appears to be a simple garment or piece of cloth therefore I am acutely aware of the value of woven fabrics. The textiles that I have inherited from my mother, my grandparents and great grandparents inspire me to create work that has a history contained within its very fabric.

Through my developing art practice, I am finding out that I enjoy exploring texture and opacity. I am currently exploring and experimenting with the properties of paper and used well-worn domestic textiles. I love finding within my (I would love to say ‘archive’ to sound organised but that would be a lie!) stash of materials a worn-out piece of fabric with its own history that many people would discard and presenting it in a way that shows how valuable and beautiful it is, with all the history it contains within its fibres.

I am finding, through research into different art processes and cultures, that I share many values with that of Kintsugi, which is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery and highlighting the repairs with gold. The pottery is extremely valuable to their culture, just as I feel fabric is extremely valuable to me and my family. Items are valued, respected, and repaired instead of being discarded. The repair often becomes the strongest part and the focal point of the piece. The repair is treated as part of the history of the object and celebrated rather than being disguised.

Embracing of the flawed or imperfect has always been part of my making. I try to only use materials that I already have in my possession to create my art works and not to purchase new unsustainable products. I have inherited so much fabric and materials from my family, creating my stash, that this is quite an easy task in one way but very challenging in others. I find that the vintage, sometimes heirloom, materials provide me with inspiration but also can hold me back with emotional attachments.

I was firstly inspired and frustrated in equal measure by pockets. Pockets in clothing or the lack there of in women’s clothing, the surprisingly political and sexist history of pockets, and how people make use of their pockets. This frustration and inspiration opened up a quite a few paths that I could explore: feminism, concealment, secrecy, the hidden element, and equality to name a few. Some of these paths at first filled me with dread but I have tentatively but eagerly explored them. I am currently experimenting and exploring with layering, trapping, concealing, and encasing fabric remnants and treads within archival tissue paper. I find the process of layering and covering fragments of fabric to be a stark contrast in what I am trying to achieve with my research and reading.

I am inspired by the work of Jennifer Collier, Cas Holmes, Lucy Brown, Mandy Pattullo, Betty Pepper, and Alice Fox.

My son Ethan, with a huge smile on his face. He is holding a plate with a waffle and ice cream.

Proud mum of one happy boy!

I have been trained well by beautiful Bella.

Small black and white dog, Bella, laying down in front of a door.
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