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.

Spurn notebook

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

Robert Cross

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.

Spurn landscape

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.

The Binks

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.

Spurn, flotsam

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.

Spurn, Flotsam – was inspired by the fate of the brig Emma which foundered in 1893 on the Binks (sandbanks) with the loss of all hands.  This piece takes the form of a stitch hanging with suspended “floating” fragments (shown below). 71 x 120 x 27 cms.
Spurn collage, 121 x 108 cms, mixed media

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).

Spurn; a textile book, mixed media and stitch. Full description is here

Whilst researching this work I became deeply affected by the story of the loss of the Brig Emma just off Spurn in a gale in November 1893, and was able to access the research done by his great granddaughter, Meg Hartford. I made this small book to keep everything together.

I am working on a piece for the Textiles2020 exhibition (postponed from July to December). Rather than carry my large sketchbook around with me, I made this small notebook (I’m also a bookmaker) and filled it with ideas. There are a couple of pages still free at the back for me to continue to add samples. It works perfectly.

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.

Tall flag book
Spurn: large collage with stitch, mixed media, image transfer, acrylic
Spurn Groynes III; watercolour on paper
Spurn Groynes IV; watercolour on paper
Spurn Groynes V; watercolour on paper
The old lighthouse tower at Spurn; oil on canvas
Spurn I ; two colour etching with aquatint, sugar lift and spit bite; EV 2/20
Spurn lighthouse; three colour woodcut; 1/5
Spurn Groynes II; lithograph; 2/14. Two days to create this! Also printed on fabric.