The simple version
I love making textiles and encouraging other people to make them too.
The social media version
I live by the sea on the westernmost island of the inner Hebrides. I make felt, weave, spin, stitch, dye, play. I’m curious, creative, capable, changeable.
The short version
I’m from Cumbria but now live on the beautiful Isle of Tiree in the Inner Hebrides, off the west coast of Scotland, where I work and think about the quiet discipline of cloth: habits and quotidian rhythms and the structure of praying the hours; how our outworn clothes embody our history and memory; about what we keep and what we waste, and about connections and inclusion and mixing things up.
I focus on fibre – weave, spin, felt, knit – combined with surface design and stitch. I weave with my handspun yarns and hand dyed fabric, endless play with colours and textures. I’m exploring the ways in which fibre and fabric can connect with and complement each other. Surrounded by sheep, I’ve started including local wool in some of my work.
The warmth of wool and the lustre of silk, the play of colour, the rhythms of the day and the enchantments of cloth – these are the elements that lead me to create. My most used words – experiment, inspire…
The slow version
I work with textile materials, exploring the interplay of fibre and cloth, colours, textures, the significance of garments, mending and joining, what can be included, how it holds together, the beautiful potential of mistakes, flaws, uncertainty.
I’m especially interested in using local fleece and outworn clothing with conventionally precious fibres like silk. I spin, weave, make felt, knit and stitch, often in combination. I’m interested in dyeing, printing and resist techniques. Some of my work is fragmentary. I take photographs, sometimes sketch, more often work from a starting point of words, or a fleeting idea, expressing it directly through working with fabrics, yarns and fibres.
Things I think about a lot:
- Fragile connections, shame, vulnerability and perceived inability, fragmentation, exclusion and inclusion, loss of memory, transience. Both as they frame my inner space and as they fracture community. I’m interested in what stops things falling apart, and in the ways beauty and imperfection interact.
- The Japanese concepts and traditions of Saori, wabi sabi, kintsugi, boro and sakiori
- The power of cloth to mantle, enchantment, invisibility and visibility
- The importance of idealism and wonder, redemption and grace
- The rhythms of prayer and liturgy, quotidian detail, habit as practice and covering, what we wear and what we wear out, the patterns we create and the marks we leave behind
- Margins, edges, intersections, the borderlands between art and craft, clarity and confusion, word and flesh, strength and weakness, precious and mundane, sure and doubtful
- Textiles as both manifestation and metaphor of hospitality and ideas of home
- Slow making, refashioning, minimalist lifestyles, craftivism
I see creation almost as a sacramental act, and I strongly believe in making creativity accessible to ordinary people in everyday lives. I’m passionate about taking art out into my community, and encouraging those who feel (or have been told) they aren’t artistic to begin to find that they are. I’m excited about possibly too many ideas on a community scale, some realised, some in progress, some at the dream stage:
- Participatory weaving at the Tiree Music Festival (2012)
- Bringing a standing-room-only production by Horse + Bamboo of ‘Angus Weaver of Grass’ to Tiree (2012)
- Celebrating the varieties of Tiree wool with a spinning demonstration and display at the annual agricultural show (2011, 2012)
- The Tiree Tapestry (I’m in the management team)
- Feltmaking play days
- Building a web site for the diverse craft and art community on the island
- Saori-inspired weaving with community groups
- A festival of the wind, with art in the landscape and an artist in residence
- An arts and technology centre to offer facilities for innovation and re-creation for people on and off the island
- Exploring the viability of Gotland sheep for this environment
- Researching and writing a heritage booklet about textiles on Tiree
My influences include Brené Brown, Misao Jo, Leonard Cohen, Kathy Escobar, Elizabeth Goudge, Lily Yeh, Kathleen Norris, Gerard Manley Hopkins. I’m inspired by the work of Jo Budd, Fiona Rainford, Ray Reynolds, Dorothy Caldwell, Helen Parrott, Jane McKeating, Jude Hill, Chiyoko Kumon, Susan Johnson, Sheila Hicks, Caroline Bailey, Barbara Rae, where does one stop?
I grew up in Cumbria and have lived there a number of times since. I have an English Literature degree but regarding textiles I’m mostly self taught, which really means I’ve learned from many other artists through friendships, books, magazines, groups and the generous internet. In 2008 I moved to the beautiful and fragile Isle of Tiree off the west coast of Scotland, and in 2010 I completed the Open College of the Arts Textiles 1 course. Over a number of years I’ve slowly been becoming an artist-maker; I’m now selling my work locally, and on Etsy, and exhibited with Tiree Art Enterprises in 2013.
And that’s the story so far.
Contact me at fiona.dix[at]lovefibre.com.