A portrait of Maggie Smith, textile and mixed media artist

"Whatever you can do, Or dream you can do, Begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now."Goethe

I love textured surfaces, colour, stitch and the process of creating. Sometimes I work quickly and freely and other times I can be meticulous.

Defining where I fit in to the bigger picture is difficult. You make your own judgement.

I use dye and print to achieve satisfactory surfaces that are colourful but subtle, contain simple repetitive imagery and have depth through layering. I follow with hand or machine stitch from a simple stitch dictionary where I feel a mark is needed.

I have started making dolls as a response to recycling fabric scraps and as a way of using the odds and ends which I love collecting.

I keep sketchbooks, sometimes quite formal and organised, others simply a vehicle to keep surfaces together. However, I also love notebooks where brainstorms, theme thinking, lists, poetry, doodles and quotes from other artists help me to be in touch with what I want to convey and where I am.

My background in fine art and literature seeps into my work of its own accord and manifests in a love of words for inspiration, a joy in the unexpected and a love of process. I lectured for fourteen years in Further Education, teaching City & Guilds, Design and Embroidery and in the Art & Design department, tutoring students in fashion, textiles and design. I teach adults on a regular basis, through tutoring, workshops and mentoring sessions with committed groups and individuals. I feel strongly that we all need to be passionate about our creativity, growing and developing to our full potential.

I am always ready to take a fresh look at what I do, to stand back and reassess, and welcome constructive criticism from friends and colleagues. Talking to like minds often clarifies your path or opens a new way of looking, it helps to move you forward.

Each area of my life feeds the other.

I’m sometimes asked by young students why I do what I do “as it takes so long”. The answer is simply that I love it. I want to. It satisfies me, and when I’m immersed in the process I’m in a good space that nothing else comes close to.