In September 1982, I attended the funeral service of a college friend. The priest didn’t know her but eulogized her nonetheless in clichés, glancing at his watch before hurrying on with the Mass. The absence of authentic human feeling in her commemoration upset me and drove me to express my own grief at her death. That night I wrote a poem, the first of many on loss, life and relationships. 

Soon, however, I grew frustrated by the abstraction of language; there seemed to be an essential unexpressed element about the poems. I returned to art, to mark making. Then, while researching for a body of work, I came across an article on Nushu. A coded ancient writing system, from 10th-century China, it was written by illiterate women to communicate secretly with other women. These illustrated and embroidered messages conveyed pain, despair, desire and love; it was their way of telling stories both personal and mythical.

Informed by this tactile language I began my own explorations to create a private code that conveyed the essence of my emotions, sensations and reflections. What emerged were rhythmic ink compositions. I call them ‘Mark Poems’, contemplative studies which I create early morning in silence. Each multi-media collection is a devotional communication to a significant individual in my life, living or dead. The ‘Mark Poems’ are touch memorials, to record, remember, and embody the encounters that formed that relationship over time.


Born in Galway, Ireland 1962
Lives and works in London

Education
2015-2016 MA Fine Art & Design, Distinction
London Print Studios & Buckingham University
1985-1986 Associateship of The Textile Institute, Distinction
University of Huddersfield
1984-1985 Masterclass program in Weave Design & Production
Drogheda, Ireland
1983-1984 Craft Design & Production, Distinction
Kilkenny Craft College, Kilkenny, Ireland
1980-1983 BA Double Honours, Applied Psychology
University College Cork, Ireland
Selected Awards
2015-2016 Courtauld’s Prize
Exhibitions
2018 Unnamed 3, Middlesbrough Art Weekender, Middlesbrough, UK
2018 Stitch, Fine Art Embroidery, Daniel Raphael Gallery, London, UK
2018 Unnamed, Contains Art, Somerset, UK
2017 Hand & Lock Embroidery Textile Art Finalist, Bishopsgate Institute, London, UK
2016 Group Show, Buckinghamshire University, UK
2009 Group Show, Burgh House, Hampstead, Hampstead School of Art, UK
Residencies
2014 Pratt Fine Arts Centre, Seattle, USA
Career
1993 - 2013 Health Consultant, Private Practice, London
1989 - 1992 Freelance Artistic Director, Ireland
1986 - 1989 Selector, Marks and Spencer Head Office, London