In 1996 I retired from nursing early due to having MS and mobility problems. I enrolled at the Batley School of Art where I completed a Pre BA Foundation Course, an HND in Surface Pattern and finally graduated with a BA(Hons) in Fine Art for Design in 2001.
I developed my technique for creatinging rope sculpture in response to a module to design and create contemporary packaging for a chosen object. I chose the ‘egg’ because I am fascinated by its strengths and weaknesses. I chose natural fibres to create something akin to a nest but failed miserably until I visited an exhibiton entitled, ‘Contemporary International Basketmaking’ in Bradford, West Yorkshire. My first attempt was to soak strands of jute in PVA, hung them up to dry and knotted them to create a vessel. It was surprisingly effective but very laborious and messy!
Next I tried knitting and crocheting 3ply sisal twine with broom stick handles shaped to a point at the ends. This was far more productive. It wasn't until I had finished and they were included in an exhibition that I noticed their likeness to body bags.
Although quite successful it was gently pointed out to me that the technique I had hit upon had been done before and if I wanted to be different I would have to think of some other way to construct textiles. I played about with many different techniques and realised that if I combined two techniques I could achieve some interesting results. I found that crochet was the most amenable process. I simply crocheted around a thicker yarn. I soon realised that to work, the thicker yarn needed to have substance if a firm shape was the desired result. I found sisal rope to be the best.
The rest as they say is history!