Interview with Deirdre Nelson, embroiderer
Deirdre Nelson is a contemporary embroiderer and has exhibited widely in a variety of gallery and museum contexts and been involved in site specific works in heritage locations such as Gibside Estate Northumbria and Brosdworth Hall Yorkshire. Research and education forms a large part of her practice with extensive experience in school and community contexts.
Did you undertake formal training in college or within the industry, or did you find your ways into embroidery via a different route?
I had a formal training within art school, studying embroidered and woven textiles at Glasgow school of art and graduating in 1992. On graduating I became involved in many community and education projects and later returned to education to complete a Master's degree in philosophy.
A research based course has allowed me to develop my arts practice in many ways and research now plays an important role in making new work. Working within education also has allowed me to develop ways of making inclusive work relevant to communities.
How would you describe your work and your position within the world of embroidery and craft?
My textile practice has evolved through experimenting with materials and methods of making, in which hand work and craftsmanship provide both direction and context. Hand skills are transposed though the work in a humorous commentary on social and textile history within the contemporary gallery. My work crosses boundaries between traditional craft and contemporary art. Research and ideas determine the choice of techniques and methods of presentation within gallery and museum context. The work employs a variety of techniques and materials, fusing traditional textile skills and contemporary reinterpretation through photography and digital manipulation. Recent work involves collaboration with the animators 'rm*' which continues to fuse traditional skills with computer manipulation
What type of material do you prefer to use?
After a period of research, I choose materials appropriate to the ideas developed. I enjoy fusing both traditional and contemporary materials and found objects.
What would you like to make that you haven't so far?
I am very interested in the movement associated with hand skills and making and would like to work with motion capture animation to study movement associated with traditional hand skills such as sewing and knitting.