I am an artist who makes, illustrated and stitched books and journals. I come from a background of textile art which I taught in colleges and at many workshops all over the United Kingdom, France and Jersey.
I use many unorthodox methods and materials to construct and decorate books and journals and I gain great satisfaction from the fact that I have made the complete item. I recycle as many things as possible and start with very cheap and unpromising materials: old bedsheets, vintage fabrics and threads, etc. even my husbands old shirts! I strive to turn everything into something of worth.
I love illustration, but it is hand stitching I love the most. Feeling the fabric and thread between my fingers as I stitch connects me with my work more than any other process. I find, no matter how much I experiment, my work usually ends up being a book or a journal.
In March 2020 I started producing a series of journals and books. I tried to complete and post two pages a day on Instagram. These were titled my Covid Journals. They contained a daily record of my life whilst isolating with my husband who is almost completely blind. They contain a lot of drawings of birds and flowers which were the things that kept me going during isolation.
Because of my personal circumstances I don’t run workshops or give talks for Guilds and Groups.
I occasionally, accept one or two people for a two day (minimum) workshop at my home in Charing, Kent. Details can be found here.
I have often been artist in residence or featured artist at many events. Over the years I have appeared and demonstrated my work at numerous exhibitions and shows.
In 2014 I worked with my husband Jim Wire (when his eyesight was failing) to produce a 61 panel exhibition about life in the First World War in the villages of Charing and Charing Heath in Kent, UK. This exhibition, organised by the Charing and District Local History Society and was sponsored by the UK National Lottery Fund and a number of local authorities.
I take commissions, creating books tailored to clients’ individual needs. These are costed on an individual basis but generally start at around £800.00 each. Details can be obtained by sending me an email.
PUBLICATIONS AND ARTICLES
I have published two books “Page After Page”, originally published in October 2009 (reprinted 2015). “Under The Cover”, my second book, was published in August 2012. There are a few copies still available.
In 2018, I illustrated a book called “Charing in the First World War” under my married name of Frances Wire. It was designed and produced by my husband Jim (while he could still see). The book, based on the 2014 exhibition of the same name (see above), was produced in association with the Charing and District Local History Society. There are a few copies of this book still available.
My work has been published in a number of textile magazines: "Cloth Paper Scissors", "Workbox", etc. as well as “Landscape” magazine and numerous online features.
I taught: City & Guilds Embroidery Parts 1 and 2, Machine Embroidery, Machine Embroidery Distance Learning at Gloucester College of Art and Technology. Upon moving to Kent, I tought Stitched Textile masterclasses at Associate House in Ashford. before starting my own teaching and workshop business in 2005. Until Covid kicked in in 2020 I had taught at literally hundreds of workshops.
For nearly twenty years I took over and ran the well known and much loved Hawkwood College Masterclasses. They became very popular and I ended up running three courses a year to cope with the demand. However eventually, because of my husband’s health. I couldn’t logistically continue so in 2017 I sadly had to close them down.