Jean Draper

  • Rock Rhythms.jpg Rock Rhythms, 2012. Cotton fabric heavily manipulated with hand stitching in cotton and silk threads. Photo credit: Mark Duffell.
  • Burnt Trees Detail.jpg Burnt Trees (Detail), 2012. Three tall 3D forms. Cotton fabric manipulated with machine stitching, dye, paint and mixed media. Photo credit: Mark Duffell.
  • Aftermath.jpg Aftermath, 2012. Group of 3D forms representing fire-scorched rocks. Stiffened cotton fabric with hand and machine stitching, clap slip, paint and wood. Photo credit: Mark Duffell.
  • Burnt Books 3.jpg Burnt Book, 2010. Burnt, painted and stained paperback book. Added thorns and stitched spine with painted cane. Photo credit: Mark Duffell.

What inspires me

Everything comes from proper sources, through research and drawing, photography, reading around a subject. My work is led by my ideas about places, often the details: the barrenness of land, the surface, textures, rock formations; also about the people who inhabit or did inhabit that place.

The American South West has been a big inspiration and rocky, desolate places in the British Isles. The techniques are traditional ones but don't look traditional because they're pushed about, the scale is altered, materials are very different, but it comes through from my knowledge in embroidery.

I use wire and all sort of non-conventional embroidery threads, hemp, string, paper threads, etc. So the work is now mostly 3D structural textiles, sculptural pieces, either free standing or release-hung wall pieces.

Making in the Midlands

I was born in the Midlands and have lived here most of my life. But it has not influenced me too much – I just happen to live here and like living here and think of the Midlands as a grounded sort of place.

What has changed most about the crafts in the last thirty years

I think that there's less of a homely quality. There's possibly a greater level of professionalism and although of course function is still important, I see less functional work. More work seems to be using craft techniques and the materials but what is being made is perhaps more closely related to art forms. So for example, you've still got beautiful jewellery, but it's like mini sculptures a lot of the time. So I think you see more of that quality running through all the different disciplines to a greater extent.