Workbox Introduction: Cathy Cullis

'Telling Stories'
'Rat-a-tat Mystery'
Haunting, poetic and oh-so-finely detailed.
We know that many of you reading this will have already recognised the beautiful work shown here as that of Cathy Cullis; poet and mixed-media artist and the creative soul behind this week's Workbox Introduction.

We will confess that here in the Applewood workshop we are huge admirers of Cathy's work. Her skill in free machine embroidery has a delicacy of detail that few can achieve so well. So too, her works in watercolour have a fragility and air of things past which is captivating. 
Cathy often works in a limited colour palette which focuses you on the subject and draws attention to the materials being used; time faded papers, watercolour paint, a vintage mother of pearl button or two, creamy calico. What Cathy refers to as 'basic' materials, they may be, but in her hands they are used with aplomb. The essence of Cathy's inspiration is evident through both her poetry and her stitched and painted works - her interest in memory, nostalgia and dreams.

"My work pulls on all kinds of interests and obsessions: poetry and romantic literature, art history of varying times, nostalgia, melancholy, childhood, abstraction." source

 Cathy's interest in things with a history, a patina of a past life, permeates to the boxes and crates she uses in her workspace to store her materials in.  These boxes look as though they have seen adventures, perhaps been to sea or hoarded treasures in a former life. Fitting for someone who is inspired by folklore and fairytales to keep their textile treasures in.   
Rabbit Girl
 Scattered amongst her materials you will find tiny, inspirational  treasures such as pieces of moss or the little enamel bird shown here, above right, amidst a pile of wooden cotton reels. 

Cathy works from what she calls a small 'nook' within her family home. This means that many of her materials get packed away in her vintage boxes until she needs them again - a situation many of us can identify with. She has claimed an area of wall within her workspace where she can display work she is developing or items of interest. The display is moved around and altered depending on what Cathy  currently finds inspirational.
Who needs lots of space anyway? Within this nook, with her nimble fingers and lively imagination, Cathy creates her own world...

Tudor Rose

Cathy has exhibited her work overseas and in the UK. She blogs regularly about the progress of her work and also announces when new pieces are coming up for sale in her Etsy shop. You've got to be quick off the mark if you want a piece though because they get snapped up fast! The yellow piece above, 'Honey Bee', is one such example which sold as soon as it became available this week. 

Cathy tells us that she is currently working towards a new series of prints, wearable embroidery pieces and a new Zine which is due out in December. Lots to keep your beady eyes on so don't miss out on what comes next. 
Here's where you can keep up:

We'd like to offer a big thank you to Cathy who kindly gave up time to take part and take photographs for us. The Applewood workshop team are indebited to you! 

Please note: all photographs in this piece are the property of Cathy Cullis who has kindly allowed us to use them here.