I became fascinated with Spurn Head – a narrow spit of land located at the mouth of the River Humber – some years ago after a workshop with textile artist, Alice Fox, who had a residency there. She had produced a couple of books about it, and showed me examples of her rusting work.
I didn’t know it then, but I was to become hooked.
The Brig Emma Closed: 15 x 13.5 x 1.5 cm. Rusted, painted and dyed fabrics, including recycled maritime flag and net curtains. Hand stitching with unsteamed thread. Mixed media images and marquetry veneers. Gold foil. 18th century button. Image transfer.
This small book tells the story of the Brig Emma and its last voyage. I was able to access original newspaper reports and admiralty records through contact with archivists and the great-granddaughter of Emma’s captain. The bookmark is a copy of Capt Barrett’s mourning card.
Sailors’ kit bags
100 x 80 approx (bags are approx 29 x 12cm each). Distressed rusted, painted and dyed cotton fabrics, thread and string. Stencilled.
The Brig Emma foundered in sight of men on Spurn desperate to help. Three bodies, unidentified, were washed ashore the following day, and interred in a single grave. Naval records identify five crew members, but the youngest, William Best, was never officially acknowledged. These named kit bags mark their loss.
15 x 12.3 x 2.5 cm
Small pamphlet stitched book with notes, samples and experiments (there is a slide show of this book on my Textiles page)
Robert Cross (book)
15.3 x 12.2 x .9 cm
Drum leaf bound book with double-sided inserts printed on silk, book cloth covered board covers embossed with Spurn lighthouse outline. The book relates information about Robert Cross, coxswain of the Humber lifeboat
27 x 27 x 6 cm
Stitch and print on organza and muslin, suspended and floating in a frame. Robert Cross, coxswain of the Humber lifeboat based on Spurn, is one of the RNLI’s most highly decorated lifeboatmen. The text is taken from his retirement speech.
Untitled 5 (left, or top), 43 x 33cm, acrylic and watercolour on paper with collaged fabrics and lutrador. Untitled 6 (right, or bottom), 43 x 33cm, image transfer on paper collaged with fabric scraps and threads.
69 x 28 cm
Stitch with mixed media on hand rusted and dyed vintage cotton
Spurn Night 1
45 x 35 cm
Hand stitch on black cotton and net
Spurn Night 2
43 x 33 cm
Hand stitch on vintage suiting fragment
Spurn Scroll, 50 x 25 x 10 cm
Various fabrics joined together, paint, dye, machine and hand stitching, image transfer. The scroll is wound on two spindles so the central image can be changed, and is held on a stand.
73 x 52.5 cm
Handstitched with vintage and modern threads on 19th century hemp
Spurn Lines I.
Mixed media book with various papers, prints, stitch, cottons and silk, image transfer. Printed fabric cover from original photographs. Stab binding. 28.5 x 15 x 1.2 cm closed.
8 x 22 x 3 cm closed
Flag book with machine stitched paper, acrylic, oak gall ink and bound with book cloth
Untitled 1, 2, 3 and 4: a series of four images of groynes at Spurn; lithographs (which took two days to produce) printed on calico, and then collaged with fabric, threads and gold foil. Each 23.5 x 32.5 cm
On this page I’ll collect all the work (which appears on other pages) that I’ve done around this incredible, evocative, soul scratching piece of land.
The deeper I researched the more I became captured by the dramatic effect of natural forces on the vulnerable Humberside coastline at Spurn Head. The power of the elements has overcome sea defences causing erosion, coastal movement, and displacing the once thriving community from this unstable, impermanent headland. This book is my response; it has been shortlisted for the 252nd Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in London (postponed from Summer to Autumn, hopefully).
People Along the Sand: a piano hinge book, printed on Japanese washi paper; cartridge spine with map of Spurn Head and names of some of the people featured in the book. It shows the some of the people who once lived on Spurn, and tells a little of their lives.