The Sheila Mortlock interview – 2

    Happiest working spot.
I’m very lucky to have a room to work in. It’s packed with bits and pieces of fabric, painting media, you name it, I’m sure I will have it. Some of my textile books are there, a radio, and reference material if I need it. I have my desktop computer in this room which is just off the dining room and the dining table is handy if I feel I need to spread out.

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    What was your initial route into textile art?
My mother had been a knitwear designer when she left school and so I grew up with her example of working with my hands. She always had knitting on the go or some sewing, including dress-making which I also enjoy. I have always liked stitching and knitting and find it relaxing as well as stimulating. I find it one of life’s pleasures. At secondary school I was inspired by one of my art teachers in my choice of course at Duncan of Jordanstone. Mrs Russell had studied printed textiles and embroidery there and I thought she was wonderful so I decided that when I got a place at art school those were the subjects I would study. I have never regretted my choices.

Sheila's sampler

    Do you use a sketch book – if not, how do you prepare an idea?

I do use a sketchbook but I also produce mixed media pieces on thin card that are inspiration for work. I enjoy the freedom of working like that, producing mixed media work. When I was producing the Marks in Time pieces I really enjoyed the historical research that went with it. In fact I see that as an important part of the work.

Sheila's sketchbook

    How has your work developed?

When I look back at the work I have produced over many years, the surface and texture of stone has been a recurring theme. I think in recent years I have further developed that to interpreting the marks of the stone in print as well as stitch. The ideas and the means of production are closely linked. I like playing with close toned colour and recently I have been experimenting with a more painterly approach to adding colour to fabric.

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