Set up in 2009, Nameless Wonders is a world of hand-stitched collectable creatures. I use visible and energetic stitching to give them the appearance of being that bit more alive and real – even though they are far from realistic! I am probably most attached to birds, and especially pigeons – grimy, toeless pigeons that inhabit our city centre. They’re hated by so many, but I love their resilience and determination to survive. Other inspirations include old toys, folk art and Staffordshire pottery. The work takes several different forms which are bound together by a spontaneous, intuitive approach to working with materials.
I like experimenting with colour, pattern and texture combinations, and hand-stitch freely and mostly without a plan, which to me is like exploratory drawing; finding the form through needle, thread and scissors – working directly with the fabrics, and cutting, stitching and stuffing until I’m happy with the result. The very visible stitching both adds to the surface texture and is structural. It is a materials-first approach, where I try to allow each fabric to dictate the outcome to some extent. The work often contains fabrics that I’ve altered by partly pulling them apart, stretching and fraying, to reflect the fragility and ‘lived-in’ appearance of the subject.
I have also been extending and developing my way of working to incorporate other media such as paint, recycled materials or wire. I hope in this way to produce a body of work that examines the nature of both the structure of the fabrics used and the vulnerability of urban wild animals’ lives.