Fiona's work is inspired by the ever changing colours and textures of the natural environment. She is passionate about creating imagery based on personal experience, sketchbooks and photography.
Inspiration for Stubble Field
I took this photograph when the sun was going down over the field behind my house where I walk my dogs every day. The old rape seed plants had begun to regrow and were now dying back. The colours were startling and the stubble appeared a lilac grey. I was really struck by the field, a great many photographs and sketches ensued.
This is one of my sketches from the stubble field. I wanted to catch the warmth of the foliage and enhance the textural qualities of the stubble. I collaged the stubble to create depth. I do not copy my photographs, they serve to jog my memory and help me understand structure. I create a lot of my sketchbook work outside in situation.
Once I had thoroughly explored the colour, texture and composition in my sketchbook, I made a sample stitch sketch to see if I could create the effect I wanted. It is at this stage that often a piece will go no further. On this occasion I decided to alter the colour range from my sketchbook.
Firstly I need to dye scrim, silk threads, and fabrics in the colours I require. Then I lay them out on a piece of water-soluble film. I also use purchased wool, textured fabrics, fibres and silks. I do not copy the sketch exactly. I let the colours work with each other and the piece takes on its own life.
Laying Out Texture Detail
This detail shows how I break up the fibres and build up layers of colour. I try to create most of the texture in the lower half of the piece to create a sense of depth. Consideration has to be given to the size of each mark. I treat my textile work exactly the same as a painting, building surfaces and knocking back areas to create distance.
Beginning The Hand Stitching
Once the background has been established I cover it with another piece of water-soluble film and machine stitch over the entire surface with toned threads. The final stage is building up the textures further by hand stitch. When this has been completely done I dissolve the film in water and my image is established. This is the most exciting stage and it reminds me of watching a photograph appear when working in a darkroom.
Finished embroidery of Stubble Field
These images are from my sketchbooks. Working outdoors is a challenge in itself. I work quickly trying to catch the light and atmosphere, often completing the sketch back home in the studio. Exact detail is unimportant. I am involved with rhythm, colour and texture. These form the basis for further experimentation and abstraction.