Jackie Bennett

My work is driven by the urge to experiment and sample yarns. I respond to the environments I find myself in, urban or rural. Trees are a constant inspiration, as are buildings. I have recently been making work concerned with vision and the loss of sight. I favour plant fibres: cotton, hemp, linen, jute and bamboo but also include wool and silk.

I have been weaving on small frames since I was a child. Following an art and design Foundation Course, I gained a BA (Hons) in African and Asian Art and Archaeology at SOAS, London University. I have worked as an arts administrator and assistant for artists and arts organisations, gaining a certificate in Arts Management and Levels 1 & 2 OCA Textiles. Having specialised in Tapestry Weaving, I completed the post-graduate diploma at West Dean College in 1997. I exhibit in the UK and internationally.

Conversely, I am also working on and researching a medieval-inspired community embroidered tapestry to commemorate the Battle of Lewes (1264). I teach tapestry weaving and crewel embroidery techniques.

In the digital, screen-age world, I seek to reintroduce texture and three-dimensionality. I am influenced by the physical world around me and my feelings about it, a combination of what I observe and what I experience. The tapestry weaving process takes a lot of time, allowing for attention to the surface. But weaving is also a three-dimensional process, as you are constructing a fabric in order to work on the surface and it can become sculptural.

I like to experiment with my weaving, sometimes leaving it to chance how it will come together. The sculptural works are woven in sections that are later constructed by pulling the warp to contort the forms and stitching them together. I also use knotting and embroidery in my work.

I have been creating artworks in woven form for over 20 years. Recent themes include local landscapes and Chinese medicine, aiming to capture the essence of a thought or feeling as a physical, textural expression. I weave with plant fibres: cotton, hemp, linen, jute and bamboo as well as wool, silk and synthetics.