Recently I completed a large textile art piece which I had started during the Covid years. The World Museum used to be called the tropical museum but has totally changed in recent years for the better, with amazing exhibitions about culture and diversity and learning about each other and respect. In between lockdowns they had mask making with various artists. My all time favourite Dutch artist Bas Kosters gave a workshop making protest masks. We had to choose a text to write on the mask. I chose “Speak up” and “Speak your Truth”. This was the start of this piece which became an entirely different journey as it developed over a few years, yes it is big and all hand sewn so that takes time, slow stitching.

The original mask from the workshop

Starting to build up with scraps












Then the murder of George Floyd happened in May 2020. I have been following the Civil Rights movement in the US since the Alabama Baptist church bombings in 1963 when 4 little girls were the victims of a white supremacist terrorist attack. I still have the cutting of the Time magazine, I was only 11 but already looking beyond my own experiences and country. In the 70’s I was in San Francisco and lived with the Rev. Kittling and his family which was an incredible experience in the black area of town. my daughters father came from Curacao, and I lived in London in Notting Hill Gate in the 80’s around the time of the riots there, so these issues have always been an important part of my life.

So you can understand being indoors with lock down and following what happened after the killing of George Floyd there was a deep connection with the pain and the emotion of what people were experiencing in the U.S. and around the world. I felt it was important to share this historical moment in time and we all hoped it would bring about change and understanding.


By now the protests were taking place after the murder of George Floyd

This was where the idea was born that your story is a part of my story, it is a part of my life experience and it was my way of sharing this with your experience with respect.

Taking shape











My piece evolved, I find hand sewing and embroidery very calming and is my means of expression, so I sewed to express the experience and the piece grew and grew. It changed, I added more text as protests took place all over the world about the injustice ( I don’t normally use text at all).
I kept adding, using scraps I found or were gifted. African prints, but also bits of other projects, patching them layer on layer and embroidering them. Then it developed into a bigger piece so I added some black and then it became a head. I did not plan this! the piece developed over time, adding pieces but also taking pieces away. Then the head took shape and the spikes and then I used trapunto to pad out areas. It was a labour of love an ode and remembrance to the time in which it was made and the people who felt this deeply.

Starting to shape the head

Now it is speaking up












The work is now complete and was over 2 years in the making, it is quite large approx 1,50 x 1,50 meters and my artist friend Siobhan had this African material with blue fingers pointing which she had gifted to me and I found perfect to edge the piece with. I always leave the backs of my works uncovered so that all the hand stitching is visible. See below the finished piece.


Close up of finished work