While travelling on the tube to my ‘alchemy’ class with Ross Belton (learning how to colour with natural dyes) I became intrigued with the description of the layers of skin that enable Cephalapods to change colour in an instant. I have been experimenting with creating dynamic patterns of colour using reflection and LED ‘beads’ (almost the opposite of natural dyes, but contrast is important). Peter Godfrey-Smith’s book Other Minds opened an utterly fascinating world to me.
The idea of replicating the reflective layers of Cephalopod skin using stitch and light began developing. It has required researching, drawing and sampling and the final project combines old and new textile techniques, and a little programming. It is a long time since I have spent so long reflecting as part of the work.
No work on marine creatures can ignore the dramatic impact of our rubbish on their environment. The defining constraint of this project is to use, where possible, recycled or waste materials and to acquire as little as possible from new. There is an unexpectedly meditative benefit to stitching and soldering while reflecting on the origin of the materials.