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textile picture in frame Cate Fox

Maker in Focus - Cate Fox

Guild member Cate Fox has a background in textile design and has used this as a starting point for artworks that she loosely describes as embroideries. Using hand stitching and fabric combined with materials such as mirrored glass, metal foils, mother-of-pearl and wire to explores the possibilities of pattern, texture, colour and light, Cate's designs include both grid and abstract patterns, fish and floral images and a variation of the sampler tradition.

We caught up with Cate to find out more about her practice.

Where do you find the materials that you use? Does this give them more of a sentimental meaning?

A lot of the threads and fabrics come from some friends who have a house clearance business. Much of the materials I use would have eventually ended up in landfill. Sometimes I feel sentimental about a piece I'm using but mainly I'm curious and wonder how it came to be discarded, especially pieces of jewellery. In a recent piece of work I used a locket with a photograph inside. I left the picture in the locket as the smiling man meant something to the previous owner.

Do you find inspiration from playing with different materials?

Yes much of my artwork is materials led - I like to play and experiment with textures, materials and scale. I love working with silk and wire and scraps of anything. Currently very excited about making small woven squares using a needle and thread.

Your pieces are so lovely and tactile, how do you decide what will work together?

I place pieces on fabric and move them around, this can take days or weeks. I sew small samples and try out ideas - I keep these experiments in sketchbooks for future reference.

What is your favourite technique to use?

I have lots of favourite techniques. I love hand printing using simple techniques and I also enjoy using plain stitching and French knots. The repetition is very meditative.

What is your newest make (or one you are most happy with)? What do you like about it and why is it special?

I like the piece entitled 'Fragments of Affection ' , it encompasses all the things I like in my work - the new found obsession with weaving, the items (both found and salvaged) plus the secret history in the form of a photograph in the locket.

What does being part of the guild mean to you?

The Guild gave me a home and encouragement when no one else was interested. I love the history, heritage and solidarity of the Guild.

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