Who am I?
Hi, I am Becca. I’m married to Terry and we have two teenage boys. I've stitched and crafted all my life; being creative has always been an important part of who I am and it allows me the time to tune out from the world and just focus on 'being'. This became very important in 2009 when after several years of ill-health, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue. My children were just 5 & 7 years old at the time of diagnosis and instead of going back to work as my youngest started primary school, I found myself confined to the sofa trying to rest up enough in order to collect my children from school and do all the other things a parent does. It became important to find a way to make a life around my health issues, one that would allow me to cope with symptoms, flare ups and rest as needed and for me, art was that life.
What are your creative influences?
There have been a few influences in my life that inspire me to create but the 2 main ones I guess are:
1. My Mum and various other friends! Mum started me on my journey into embroidery and sewing as a child. When I was in my late teens, Mum did her City & Guilds qualifications and seeing the new techniques and the work she created gave me a greater insight into what could be done. Via my Mum and then later on via courses and internet forums, I've met many creative people and all have inspired me in some way. You can be an artist and be creative on your own but seeing how other people create and discussing the way they've used a material or product or technique is really inspiring and I find it often sparks a new thought, a new idea and spurs me on with current projects.
2. As well as Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue, I am deaf. I've worn hearing aids all my life and in 2008, after losing the little hearing I had in one ear totally and having minimal hearing in the other ear, I had a cochlear implant. It had been a devastating moment when I realised my 4 year old son was acting as my interpreter, I didn't want my children to have to be my ears and to feel they had to help me understand what people were saying. I wanted them to have a childhood and for me to support them not the other way round. So having a cochlear implant made a huge impact not just for me but also for my family. My experiences of invisible disability and illness have informed my work over the past 18 months and I feel drawn to exploring ways to make the invisible visible within my work.
Describe your style in 5 words - share your thoughts on these words
At the moment, with invisible disability and illness being a focus of my work, these 5 words seem to pop up most often. I'm looking at the emotions that come from coping or dealing with an invisible part of me. I have many layers (as do we all) and I want to reveal, to make visible these layers to try and make what I and many other people are going through visible and more understood and accepted by those who haven't been through the difficulties that these conditions can cause.
What are your favourite mediums and techniques to use?
I'm a 'child in a sweet shop' with techniques but if I really really have to pick a favourite, I can narrow it down to two - using water-soluble fabric with machine stitch and using Lutradur with paint, machine stitch and heat to alter the surface and create texture.
Fabric and thread form part of the mediums I use but I really enjoy including more unusual materials such as fruit nets or cassette tape and working with materials that originally came from other industries such as Lutradur, Tyvek and even dissolvable fabrics.
I do suspect I am a secret pyromaniac and vandal as I love nothing better than using heat, water and paint to change the surface of my work!!
How did find your creative style?
I'm not sure I have totally found my style yet! As I said above, I'm like a child in a sweet shop when it comes to new techniques and methods, I always want to try something new! But over the last 18 months or so, I've been taking a couple of courses with Amarjeet Nandhra at the Windsor School of Textile Art and with Amarjeet's support, I'm slowly starting to find and develop my own style.
Do you dabble in any other crafts/art?
I've explored many different crafts - scrapbooking, paper crafts, glass painting, lace making, macramé to name but a few. I can honestly say knitting and crochet are not crafts for me - I end up with so many added and dropped stitches as I go that the piece just looks unrecognisable! I also love creating upcycled one off pieces for my home with scrap wood but I think my husband might say those are more joint projects!
I have a few that I keep a note of, two that relate to my art are:
"Art is restoration: the idea is to repair the damages that are inflicted in life, to make something that is fragmented – which is what fear and anxiety do to a person – into something whole" - Louise Bourgeois
"Art is not always about pretty things. It's about who we are, what happened to us and how our lives are affected" - Elizabeth Broun
Our next Q&A piece will be with Dia.
Our next Q&A piece will be with Dia.