‘Hidden Traces’


Describing the ‘Pathways’ connection to her body of work, Patricia says: ‘My work and this piece, ‘Hidden Traces,’ are very much inspired by my belonging to the place in which I live.


Occupying a house in rural Ireland, which has been inhabited by my family for many generations, has given me a great sense of connection to the past and to my family history. I work with layers of fabric, many of them recycled family clothing, in the effort to evoke the lives of those gone before, and the many paths crossed. I grew up on a family farm where, for generations, we worked with the very earthy and tactile occupations of haymaking and turf cutting, even some ropemaking. I attribute these activities to the tactile way in which I work today.


I stitch repeated lines in a grid like way, lines which are not perfectly straight, just as the land was worked and reworked in a repetitive and linear way. My work is influenced by the Japanese concept of Wabi-Sabi, seeing beauty in the imperfect. I am also inspired by the delicate tangled lines created by the tree branches which I encounter on my daily walks. These lines inspire me especially in winter when they are silhouetted at sunset. This piece has traces of that clothing buried in the work suggesting the traces, previous generations have left behind, physically in field boundaries, walls, and in memories. The red square in the centre represents the importance of red clothing in our past. Babies were wrapped in red at birth to keep away evil. As well as in red shawls and skirts to create a striking look, women wore bands of red textile around their chest to combat lumbago and rheumatism. Apparently, the dye madder had medicinal qualities. The black areas suggest the poverty, suffering and hardships so many of our ancestors endured.’


Machine stitched collage 92.5cm sq. framed.


Artist Bio

Patricia lives in County Fermanagh. She attended the art college at Ulster University in Belfast where she obtained a B.A. Honours degree in Fine Craft Design, specialising in embroidered textiles.

 Using free motion embroidery techniques to create her works, which in recent times have become more abstract, there is a strong focus on the use of the stitched line.

Inspiration and influence come from many sources including the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi, which is to see beauty in the imperfect; as well as from the rugged landscape and skies in the west of Ireland, where lines created by tangled hedgerows are silhouetted against coloured skies. 


The sense of belonging to a place, where family history is interwoven through present lives greatly influences Patricia too.  Incorporating recycled old textiles, often used by ancestors in quilt making, conveys something of the multi layered nature of lives linked, stitched together – changing but staying the same, shifting, breathing, living.