These are some of the pieces of textile art that I have designed and made.
I love the tactile qualities of fabric and thread, and I enjoy mixed media techniques in creative embroidery, quilting and book making. My work is influenced by places near my home as well as places that I have travelled to, and it may include architecture, landscape, the sea or nature. I interpret these ideas by using embroidery, patchwork, quilting and appliqué to create my designs, combining these with paper, paint and stitch.
Frescos of the Mediterranean - Kefalonia
Whilst visiting this beautiful island in the Ionian Sea, I photographed a weathered wall distressed with age and vegetation - the inspiration for this work. Size: 22” x 35”.
Frescos of the Mediterranean - North Cyprus
I found this colourful mural on a wall on the Turkish side of Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus. Size: 24” x 50”.
Sea and Sky, Earth and Fire
The central panel is brown wrapping paper which has been soaked with olive oil and painted, and then distressed by scrunching it up. This was repeated many times over several months to soften the fibres which began to feel like fabric. Strips of fabric were stitched to the paper. Machine and hand quilting. Size: 34” x 40”.
From Basilica to Mosque
The Aya Sophia (Church of The Holy Wisdom) in Istanbul. Small pieces of fabric are built up as a collage for the cathedral piece of this quilt. There are Christian motifs to the left and Islamic designs on the right - pointing to the past and present history of this beautiful building. Hand quilted. Size: 34” x 38”.
Rust and Brine 1
This is the first of four designs in a series that I have called ‘Rust and Brine’. I made these when we lived in Lymington, Hampshire, close to the sea. Each design depicts parts of the hulls of boats in the local marina before they were cleaned and prepared for the next season. Peeling paint, barnacles and salt water result in wonderful colours and textures. Each piece was over-painted with acrylic paint after it was quilted. Size 12” x 24”.
Rust and Brine 2
Rust and Brine 3
Rust and Brine 4
When I visited Sibelius Park in Helsinki, I was fascinated by a metal sculpture dedicated to the Finnish composer Sibelius. It is constructed from hundreds of steel pipes which reflect the sky and trees. I used a tree fabric, designed and made by the Finnish design company Marimekko, with Lutrador painted silver and cut with a soldering iron to echo the intricate patterns on the pipes. Size: 31” x 39”.
Storm over the Ionian Sea
This is an abstract of a photograph that I took from Kefalonia looking out over a stormy sea and sky. Size: 25” x 35”.
The view from the lakeside house, near Helsinki, that I was staying in provided the inspiration for this piece. Overlays of coloured Lutrador were used in the background. Size: 34” x 38”.
Passage Defined - 'Keeping Track of Time'
A Sense of Place
This piece is divided into three panels.
The central panel represents a small part of the National Memorial Arboretum in winter, where poppies were tied around the trees in memory of the fallen.
The righthand panel features Paul’s Grandfather, Hedley James Wood, who was a Bombardier in the Royal Horse Artillery and who was badly wounded in action during the early part of the First World War. Hedley is shown on his horse and in uniform, prior to his discharge from the army in 1918, and there are several cuttings from newspapers of the time.
The panel on the left features my father, Flight Lieutenant Jack William Pryke (a navigator), his pilot, their aircraft (a Douglas Boston), one of his navigation charts dated 1943, and a newspaper cutting about a mid-air collision which he survived. In the bottom left of this panel is an image of part of the Bomber Command Memorial, which stands in Green Park, London.
Red Sky at Night
For this piece I have used a horizontal strip technique to create the impression of a view towards a distant horizon shortly after sunset.
Africa - 'Fragile Earth'
Poverty, poor health, civil unrest, deforestation, corrupt governments and guerrilla warfare are just some of the problems facing this beautiful continent. The climate also has its effect on life, survival or death. Size: 18” x 48”.
This is my interpretation of an old prayer rug that I saw in a museum in Turkey. Layers, stitches and cut back, bonded appliqué and hand quilted. Size: 24” x 42”.
A white daisy in a black pot, on a black and white background was the starting point for this piece. Horizontal slices were cut, mounted onto a blue background, and then moved about to form a pleasing ‘broken’ design. A red centre for the daisy and a narrow red border were added for contrast. Size: 47” x 20”
The Formal Garden
Europe Meets Asia
I used a photograph taken from the International Space Station as the starting point for this piece. The Ural River, flowing through the city of Orenburg, separates Europe from Asia - defining the edge of two Continents. I have interpreted the photograph as a map with roads, streets, fields and forest clearly defined. Size: 40” x 24”.
High-Rise - Marginalise
I found the inspiration for this piece in a photograph of high-rise social housing in Hong Kong, which left me with the impression of little boxes on top of one another, squeezed into a small space and reaching for the clouds. In the photograph, a red blanket thrown over a balcony provided a splash of colour. Size: 39” x 22”
Passage Defined - 'For a Moment in Time'
These photographs were taken during the part of twilight that provides an interesting balance between residual natural daylight and artificial lighting.
The vessels shown are some of the largest container ships in the world.
MSC Oliver - Felixstowe - 9th December 2018
The MSC Oliver was built in 2015 for the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC). She is 395 meters long, and she can carry 19,224 containers at a cruising speed of 22.5 knots.
Marseille Maersk - Felixstowe - 22nd December 2018
The Marseille Maersk was built for the Maersk Line in 2018 . She is 399 meters long, and she can carry 20,568 containers at a cruising speed of 22 knots.
MSC Clara - Felixstowe - 14th February 2019
The MSC Clara is a sister ship to the MSC Oliver. Mist had started to form over the water when this photograph was taken.
The often dazzling variety of colours produced by the illumination of man-made structures in this modern age provide many opportunities for night time photography. Sometimes, these illuminations create secondary effects in the form of reflections.
Doha City Centre - 14th April 2019
The Doha City Centre is located on the north side of Doha Bay. This photograph of the City Centre at night was taken from the south side of the Bay, some two kilometres away and close to the Museum of Islamic Art. The wind was quite strong at the time, and so the seawater in the Bay was not smooth enough to reflect the lighted buildings to any great degree.
The Spiral Mosque, Doha - 14th April 2019
One of the most iconic mosques in Qatar is Fanar, Qatar Islamic and Cultural Centre, Doha, which is also known as the Spiral Mosque. This photograph of the Spiral Mosque was taken from the Museum of Islamic Art - with the Dhow Harbour in the foreground.
Fountain, Doha - 27th April 2019
This fountain stands outside the entrance to the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) Park in Doha. The illuminated MIA is behind and to the right of the fountain.
Reflections, Doha - 27th April 2019
A small part of Doha Bay, immediately to the east of the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA), is partly encircled by the MIA Park. With only a very light breeze, the seawater in that area was calm enough to reflect the lights from many of the buildings in Doha City.
This is ‘Mini Edward’ - a replica of the teddy bear who famously inspired AA Milne’s Winnie the Pooh stories. The original Edward Bear was created by Farnell in 1921. This iconic teddy bear has been brought to life again by ‘Merrythought’ - the last remaining British teddy bear manufacturer.
The only source of light for this scene came from an assortment of beeswax candles.
Red - Apple, Tulips and Wine
Lisianthus and Coffee
Tulips and Coffee
Valentine's Day - Recipe
This recipe has just four ingredients: chocolates, a generous measure of gin, flowers, and, of course, the one you love!
Olive e vino per due
Suffolk is one of 48 counties in England, and, although it is ranked as the 8th largest in area, its relatively low population density is ranked as 38th. It is a gently undulating county with few hills and an abundance of fertile soil. Its coastline, facing the North Sea, stretches for some 60 miles and it, together with adjacent heathland, woodland, salt marsh and reed beds, is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
With such fertile soil, it is hardly surprising that arable farming is big business in Suffolk. Much of the agricultural land is given over to growing cereal crops, such as wheat and barley; and root crops, such as sugar beet, are often grown in rotation with the cereal crops. Suffolk also has a great tradition of pig farming, with about one fifth of the UK’s pork originating from the county.
Apart from being a popular holiday destination, with great beaches and rivers to explore, Suffolk also attracts artists, photographers and musicians. Two of England’s greatest painters, Thomas Gainsborough and John Constable, and one of its most noted composers, Benjamin Britten, lived and worked in Suffolk.
Suffolk is also famous for horse racing. Surrounding the town of Newmarket, in the extreme west of the county, is the largest concentration of horse racing training facilities and organisations in the UK.
Whilst there is little in the way of heavy industry in Suffolk, its town of Felixstowe is home to the largest container port in the UK.
Early Morning Sun - Old Hall Farm - Helmingham, Suffolk
This photograph of the sun rising over a wheat field at Old Hall Farm - only a mile or so from where we live - was taken on 14th June 2017.
Industrial Heritage - Abandoned
This industrial site was originally the location for the first ever complete superphosphate factory. In the mid 19th century, the increasing demand for new effective fertilisers for agriculture led to a search for a substitute for crushed bones, the traditional source of fertiliser. Edward Packard discovered that fossil dung, found across East Anglia, contained high levels of phosphate, the ideal base for fertiliser. Between 1851 and 1854, Packard built this wooden warehouse at Paper Mill Lane, a few miles northwest of Ipswich, and pioneered the production of artificial fertilisers for horticulture on an industrial scale. It was an ideal site due to the combination of the River Gipping, which was navigable by barges between Ipswich and Stowmarket from the late 18th century onwards, and the addition of the railway line in 1846, which both provided the means to import raw materials and export fertilisers.
Taken in January 2018, this photograph clearly demonstrates that time is running out for this ‘Listed’ building to be preserved. The modern overhead electric wires for the railway between Ipswich and Cambridge are in stark contrast to the crumbling building behind them.
Displaying this image in monochrome serves to highlight the feeling of desolation associated with a building that has lain abandoned since 2003.
Meerkats are not, of course, native to Suffolk! This one is part of an eleven strong colony at the Suffolk Owl Sanctuary. It would appear that the only connection between owls and meerkats in this context is that the founders of the Suffolk Owl Sanctuary wanted to create a colony as a visitor attraction!
New Snowdrops - Old Tractor!
Taken at Old Hall Farm, Helmingham, Suffolk, on 15th February 2019.
Sunset and Deer at Helmingham Hall Park - 21st February 2019
Helmingham Hall is a moated manor house dating back to the fifteenth century. It stands in a 400 acre park, which is home to large herds of both red and fallow deer.
We are very fortunate to live just two miles from such a beautiful place.
This photograph was taken 10 minutes before sunset.
Sunrise at Aldeburgh - 26th February 2019
Aldeburgh is a 16th century Suffolk town on the North Sea coast. It was home to the composer Benjamin Britten, and it remains an arts and literary centre. Fresh fish are sold daily from huts on the wide expanse of shingle beach. A few fishing boats still operate from Aldeburgh, and, when not at sea, these are drawn up onto the shingle above high tide.
Sunset - Helmingham Hall - 12th May 2019
This photograph, taken 17 minutes before sunset, shows the front of the moated manor house. The entrance is via a drawbridge, which was down at the time.
Bee and Peony - Helmingham Hall Gardens - 14th May 2019
The Grade I listed gardens at Helmingham Hall are truly spectacular. They are open to the public for several days each week from the beginning of May until the middle of September.
The Travelling Life
In a memorable scene from the film ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’, Grandpa Potts, played by the incomparably talented Lionel Jeffries, travels overseas in a garden hut that is suspended beneath an airship! During this trip he entertains us with a song that starts with the following lyrics:
“This is livin', this is style, this is elegance by the mile
Oh the posh posh traveling life, the traveling life for me
First cabin and captain's table regal company
Whenever I'm bored I travel abroad but ever so properly
Port out, starboard home, posh with a capital P-O-S-H, posh”
‘P-O-S-H’ in this sense refers to the apocryphal story that, in the days of steamship travel to India, wealthy, first class, passengers would pay for cabins that faced away from the sun - i.e. port (left) going out and starboard (right) coming back!
Whilst it is very unlikely that any of us will travel overseas in such an unusual way, there is every possibility that, during our travels, we will see memorable sights that we wish to record.
Quite a Contrast!
A traditional, wooden dhow travelling from the Dhow Harbour towards the ultra modern Doha City Centre - as viewed from the Museum of Islamic Art - November 2017.
The Museum of Islamic Art - November 2018
Constructed in 2006 and officially opened in 2008, the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) is located at one end of a seven kilometres long waterfront promenade, known as the Corniche, that encircles Doha Bay in Doha, the capital of Qatar. The MIA was designed, at the request of the rulers of Qatar, the Al-Thani family, by I M Pei, a prestigious and internationally acclaimed Chinese American architect born in Kwangchou and raised in Hong Kong and Shanghai.
Pei, who was 91 years old when he agreed to undertake this enterprise, traveled throughout the Muslim world on a six-month quest to learn about Muslim architecture and history and read Muslim texts to draw inspiration for his design. He was especially impressed with the elegant simplicity of the 9th century Mosque of Ibn Tulun in Cairo. Pei was convinced that the sites proposed for the MIA could be affected by the proximity of other buildings, and so he successfully argued that an artificial peninsular should be constructed to extend some 60 metres out from the Corniche into Doha Bay, and that the MIA should be sited on a new stand-alone island at the end of this peninsular.
The MIA is thus bounded on its eastern and southern sides by a purpose-built park, whilst two bridges connect its southern front with the main peninsular that contains the park. The western side of the MIA adjoins the Dhow Harbour, and the northern side looks out into Doha Bay.