Textile Art, Photos, Glass, Ceramics & Painting
Welcome to a website with images of some of my art. I hope you will enjoy exploring the range of work.
I come from an artistic family. My mother was a professional painter (Nina Carroll; www.paintingsbyninacarroll.co.uk) and my sister (Anna Steane) earns money painting images on shop windows in towns in the foothills of the French Pyrenees; she also paints beautiful small watercolours. My father’s interpretative architectural drawings of old buildings illustrate his book on the archaeology of standing buildings (John Steane and James Ayres 2012), and he has provided illustrations for his wife Elaine's published long-distance paths guides; he has painted watercolours most of his life.
Being involved in producing art enhances my mental health; it provides an outlet for my creativity, gives expression to my feelings about the world, promotes my self awareness and self achievement and enhances my problem solving abilities. I enjoy colour and form and sharpen my my sense of space, pattern and foreground as well as developing my perceptual interpretation. By concentrating on creating art I can push the rest of the world momentarily to one side and just 'be'.
I have bipolar disorder with some serious episodes from my teenage years onwards. While controlled to some extent by medication, it is exacerbated by external events. I have found that being involved in art and crafts is essential to my mental well being.
As a teenager I spent many hours learning to crochet, to make pillow lace and to work on Florentine tapestry in order to make little presents for my mother who always appreciated home made gifts. But no one else in the family shared my enjoyment of sewing except my maternal grandmother who made many of her own clothes. My paternal grandmother disliked embroidery and happily gave me one of her beautiful sewing boxes (she'd inherited a few).
For a significant portion of my life I have been involved in archaeology, artefact illustration, interpretating and narrating the story from past excavations and with pottery identification (as an assistant to Alan Vince). While this life is reflected in some of my recent work I didn't return to textiles until 2006.
I was encouraged by my friend Debs to think about joining the Bailgate Embroiderers’ Guild and learn new skills. I haven’t looked back, and from January 2007 to 2018 being part of the Guild has been a marvellous revelation of new experiences. I have been particularly inspired by Heather Farquhar, Angie Hughes (www.angiehughes.com), Lynda Kinnard, Mary Paulger, Christine Plummer, Robyn Smith (www.feltybits.co.uk) , Margaret Talbot (www.elmswell.force9.co.uk), Janet Taylor and Julie Willoughby (www.zoomorphia.com). More recently I belong to Lincoln Stitch Club, an independant group; we all take turns to teach the others.
I began with black and white photography, first as a sixth-former working in the school darkroom. As a student I had a couple of one-woman exhibitions (Oxford and Hull). I abandoned the artistic side and took up colour and recorded my life for years, until my father bought me an SLR in 1992. This opened the way for me to take the images I could see and develop my own style. Eventually the heaviness of the camera led me to acquire a Canon Sureshot and when that broke down I moved into digital using a Kodak Easy Share C813. I continue to use a camera which is very light and easy to take everywhere with an Olympus VR-350.
I came to glass fusion through attending classes as a patient at the Peter Hodgkinson Centre with Terry Overton. I was eventually discharged and then I became one of the volunteers with Terry. I supported Sara MacDonald in her role as tutor for the fused glass Gemini Project organised by Terry.
I was introduced to stained glass (using copper strips and solder) both with a Bassingham Village Group and at IMPart where we made images for two windows. I belonged to a stained glass group called ‘Reflections’ based at the Thomas Garrett Arts, Crafts & Heritage Centre in Heighington, Lincolnshire until 2018.
After my first bout of depression at 17, I dropped Chemistry ‘A’ Level to take Pottery as an Art ‘A’ level (together with English Literature and History). Under the tuition of Shirley Phillips I first tasted the pleasure of working with clay. Since then I have taken various evening classes, and have found the ceramics very therapeutic after episodes of bipolar disorder. For several years I was part of a weekly class at Andrew McDonald’s The Pot Shop, Lincoln (this catered mainly for children who were educated at home). In 2012 and 2013 I continued to explore the joys of creating ceramics working from home together with two others, but still using Andrew's kiln. For now I have ceased work with ceramics.
In autumn 2016 I decided to start water colour painting classes with Kathy Paton. I hoped this would have a positive effect on my textile design. But I found that I really enjoyed learning about the water colour process in its own right and wonder if I am hooked. I joined an art group in 2018, called Aquarius meeting and being inspired by other artists with mental health issues. In 2020 I tried acrylic and oil pastel too.