Circumstanced (2017-)

Undyed sheep wool crafted by the artist. Translations sourced by the artist from native speakers mostly living in the UK.

My practice brings together objects both made and found to reveal subtle harmonies and oppositions, allowing new meanings to make themselves manifest. I usually work with humble materials such as wool, beeswax and soap, whose sensory qualities combine and contrast with their architectural situation for the duration of the installation.

The inspiration for this work came whilst thinking about the lived experience of people – whatever their circumstances – who are seeking safety. The signature phrase suggested itself to me as I was making some felt.

I meet people through happenstance. There are stories, questions, conversations. What does it mean for us to feel safe or unsafe? “May I ask what languages you speak besides English?” So it begins; the questions, the stories, the conversations, the translations. Then the making. Where have I met people? Stories told. Stories untold. Many different dimensions to the experience of unsafety. I make the body-felt, then needle-felt the translations by freehand. In the process, the wool absorbs thoughts, memories, stories.

The felts are visually beautiful against the background of the historic brick wall, which provides a textural contrast with the worked wool. The wind animates the felts. They are in conversation with each other and with the viewer. Rain, wind and sun will weather them, as the wall has been weathered; the elements will continue the felting process. You want to touch them, to identify with them. You may touch them. But are they safe to touch?