The accessibility of rag rugging, particularly, as a medium, makes it ideal for work with groups, in a wide variety of situations, and often involves my working collaboratively with school and youth groups, local community residents, adult education students, hospital patients and staff, special needs and the elderly.
Much of my work within education is designed to provide a valuable contribution to the National Curriculum. As well as the provision of CPD and INSET training for teachers, I conduct workshops and residencies for all Key Stages.
“If mark-making and applying colour to fabrics is approached experimentally, there is considerable cross-curricular learning potential, from mathematics to geography and science. Even extracting dye stuffs from a range of plant and vegetable materials, annotating results, and using these as a focus for artwork can hugely excite children, and stimulate their future interest in working experimentally.
I believe that far from laying down rigid criteria concerning “quality” in children’s art making, it is the nurturing of their being in touch with and sensitive to the tools and materials they use, and their infinite potential, that is at least partly responsible for artistic enrichment. It is akin to empowering children with an increased and enriched vocabulary with which to express and explore their inner as well as outer worlds. If one considers the delight often experienced in children’s earliest encounters with sand and water play, finger painting and modelling “play-doh”, we should aim to extend and engender that fascination and sensual experience through our teaching. We have only to look at artists like Picasso and Miro to acknowledge the need in art-making, to retain on some level the more primitive drives and curiosities of a child. In a world where people have become more fragmented, human contact is often diminished, and the school curriculum often sadly places art on a back burner, we need to recognise the power of art in these terms, in striving to help children become more “whole”.”