Artist Statement

The discovery of a very old family account book containing references to the farming of flax led to a nostalgic interest in the Irish linen industry. I was inspired to research the many processes involved in producing the cloth, from growing the flax to weaving and finishing the linen. The research also highlighted the darker side of the industry – the impact on the people who had to make a living, often meagre, from it. Outworkers could make a very fine shirt or a lace handkerchief. Standards were high but the reward was poor.

Along with reference to contemporary writings, this social history informs my current work, the starting point being the fabric itself. I use quite a restricted colour palette which, I feel is relevant to the subject matter and interpret it using a variety of techniques from traditional hand stitching to the incorporation of paint, paper or print.