Sunday, 9 June 2013


A recent trip to Cornwall has my sketchbooks bursting with inspirational shapes, patterns, textures and colours. The cliffs and rock pools at Perranporth are covered in barnacles and mussels; always one of my favourite sources of inspiration for drawing and making.

These gorgeous rock pools can be found towards the left of the main beach access, reached by climbing down steep steps cut into the cliff face that surfers use to get to the waves.

The further you climb down, you will see barnacles and mussels growing on almost every available surface, creating a blanket of lumpy clusters as they all squeeze together. The striped banding on their shells forms rows of arched pattern, I can visualise them made from domed copper shapes, hammered and joined into links in a mussel-shell bracelet or neckpiece. I love the symmetry of their pod form, and would like to add to my 'Moss Pod' jewellery range with some new lockets inspired by mussel shells.

 There's something about the way that barnacles and mussels grow in clumps that I always come back to when I am generating ideas for my jewellery. They often appear in my mixed media and textiles pieces as very small crochet shapes or stuffed muslin balls.

I made these small textiles samples in response to the textures I saw on my travels in Cornwall. All the fabrics and threads are hand-dyed, using traditional fabric dyes as well as rust dying, where found metal objects are laid onto the fabric in shallow trays, and concentrated salt water poured over to speed up the rusting process. As rust forms it seeps onto the fabric leaving permanent marks. I like the authenticity of the colouration and the element of chance that comes from leaving the mark-making to chance. I often bury my work to enable it to become more earth-stained and distressed, nothing makes my work look more weather worn than the weather and there is something very exciting about digging it up again to see what effects have been created.