Over the years many people have asked not only why I make Dorset Buttons but also what do I do with them.
In May, I took part in the Wylye Valley Arts Trail. I decided it was time to demonstrate that Dorset Buttony is more than just a craft for supplying buttons for garments. For over six months, I worked on textile collage pieces which I had framed and hung in my new studio ready for viewing. For those who expected to see these buttons on items of clothing I also prepared examples on how handmade buttons can transform an outfit.
Just prior to the event, I was asked by a journalist to answer a few questions about myself. Here are a couple of them with my answers:
How does your particular region of South Wiltshire inspire you?
I regard myself as very lucky as I live in an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a place where I grew up. After working for fifteen years in London, I made the decision to leave and return to my roots, an area where I have always found peace and inspiration.
What will you be looking at during the Wylye Art Trail?
Opening my own studio will not give me much opportunity to visit other venues but if the opportunity arises, I always head straight for anyone who works in textiles. Whoever I visit, I always find inspiration from other creative people. That is why I enjoy exhibiting at the Cygnet Gallery in Shaftesbury.
What does the Wylye Art Trail mean to you?
The Wylye Valley Art Trail gives me the opportunity to show off my work in my own studio so people can see what I’m trying to do with turning a heritage craft into an art form. I look forward to meeting people and will be serving basic refreshments and hope visitors will engage and share the wonderful view I have from my studio.
I had a very successful week which was followed by another exhibition at the National Trust property at Stourhead, Wiltshire. Dorset Buttons are not just for fastening garments!
At the beginning of January I was keen to get going on a new project that I had been mulling over for a number of weeks. When starting on any project I always take my time with deciding on colours and textures. So when the decision on which yarns and fabrics had been finalised and the construction details calculated I was eager to start.
All was going so well, then disaster. I fell and strained my right wrist. As I’m right handed my project was placed on one side until the pain subsided and my hand regained its strength!
Whilst resting my right hand, and to be deterred, I tried using my left hand. Here are the results….
They are all worked on a 10cm ring using Wilton Carpet Factory yarn which I brought from their factory shop in the 1980s. I'm thinking of turning them into coaster.
I expect many of you know what it’s like to work in a confined space where all your materials, threads or whatever your hobby may be are all in boxes which are piled high one on top of the other. And each time you want something it’s like moving house with the amount of boxes that have to be moved before finding the right one, which usually was at the bottom of the pile.
This was me when I decided to build my own studio. I made a list of all the things I wanted from my studio including the masses of shelf space, enough wall space to hang my large works, lots of work table space, good lighting, a coffee machine and toilet to name a few.
My husband, Patrick, and I earmarked a piece of land that fell between our house and garage for this new timber structured building. Building work started in June and I moved in earlier this month and friends joined us to celebrate this auspicious occasion.
Here are a few photos of the building work from its concept to my moving in.