The natural world has always fascinated me. I combine drawings and stitches which record and respond to the essence of my chosen environment. The work I produce is quiet but with an inner energy that aims to engage and draw the viewer in, to notice things they may have overlooked. My drawings are usually monochrome using pencil and charcoal. Working with lightweight and transparent papers I transform these papers with scissors, stitch, paint and gold leaf. Always an exciting process, from experimenting and sampling, through to creating the fully worked pieces.
As a young child, I loved making beautiful clothes for my dolls under the watchful and encouraging eye of my mum, her scrap bag contained wonderful fabrics which felt so good to my young fingers. All my wild ideas were possible with her needle skills. This passion with quality and attention to detail have remained with me. I have an overriding desire to provide a well crafted and yet peaceful meditative art work.
Whilst on my Foundation Course at Cheltenham College of Art, I began to realize that drawings are a vehicle to seeing, understanding and exploring subjects and concepts. During my degree course in Fine Art Embroidery at Manchester Polytechnic, my mind and eyes were opened, not only to a media that satisfied me, but one that also engaged the viewer.
On moving to London in 1981, I was quickly involved with the 62 Group of Textile Artists, this was a supportive membership that I enjoyed for several years, even when I lived abroad. I was invited by the British Crafts Centre to be part of a Paper Exhibition in 1983, which sealed my long lasting passion with paper. The material that I still choose to work with. In 1985 I was recognized with my first one woman show at the Anatol Orient Gallery, London, opening on the eve of moving to Papua New Guinea.
Living within the National Arts School in Port Moresby awoke in me an interest in geology, fossils and maps, themes soon to be linked to my drawings and textiles. Over the years these fossil and rock themes became more intense with an inner energy and meditative quality. A series of paintings and paper textiles illustrating corals and underwater worlds was executed and exhibited in Oceania and Australia. My first daughter was born in Papua New Guinea, and the place and its people will always hold a piece of my heart and influence my way of thinking. My young daughters, sewing, drawing, and children’s workshops engaged me for ten years in Kent.
I now live in Gloucestershire, working from my studio, in a small village high up in the Cotswold hills. The woodlands and landscapes that surround me are inspirational at all times of the year. The drawings contain inner dialogues, finding solutions to create movement and landscapes that sing of the places. I will draw whilst out walking, look, and take photographs; these are worked on in the studio, changing scale, using pencils, charcoal and pen and ink.
I have strong links with Nature in Art in Gloucester, a museum totally dedicated to Nature and have worked as their Artist in Residence many times. Demonstrating for Nature in Art at ‘Art in Action’ was a great opportunity to talk to many, many visitors and share techniques and ideas.
Work is regularly accepted in the Annual Open Exhibition at the RWA Bristol. Every other year I take part in Cheltenham Open Studios, again a wonderfully busy time talking to patrons and new visitors about my work.
The skilled theological writing of JP Williams and the inclusion of 6 full page black and white drawings, has been an exciting collaborative project, resulting in the publication of ‘Seeking the God Beyond’ in the summer of 2018.
Paper Textiles were included within the ‘ING Discerning Eye Exhibition’ 2018, 2019 and 2020.
Work is for sale, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
August 2020 – A short film describing Work in Progress on the latest landscape drawings
November 2021 – Live Interview with founder of PureArts Group, Lesley Samms