Kay Mullenger

Kay Mullenger

I’m inspired by the natural world, which is where my subject matter most often comes from.  In my work I seek closeness to land, sea and sky in a world where I feel human connection to nature is becoming increasingly lost and overtaken by materialistic concerns.  

I never tire of watching and recording the play of light, particularly on water, sand and wet river-bed mud; I’m also fascinated by decay, corrosion and the transformation that often accompanies gradual changes wrought by elemental forces.  I photograph to record, document and gain inspiration, often using my photographs in my work.

Much of my work is mixed media, incorporating many materials such as my photographs, textile collage, paper and paint, combined with free machine embroidery.  Also referred to as ‘painting with thread’, this is a technique I use in many ways, often with dissolvable fabric.  The process of washing away the supporting fabric reminds me of how the sea erodes and transforms coastal features, such as groynes on the beach.  In these works, the stitching becomes a piece of fabric in itself with its own structure and integrity.


For Power of Stitch

I was initially inspired by Adrienne Rich's poem Diving into the Wreck. In this work I focus on a favourite area of East Anglia - the Norfolk coast, where elemental forces and the passing of time transform the shoreline and the previously buried groynes on Caister beach. 

The groynes emerge from and disappear back into the land and sea, zigzagging their way as if stitched into place.

The power of the sea has forced large stones between the groynes’ metal poles, while their rusting and decaying bear witness to the fragility and the transience of human-imposed structures that nature will eventually reclaim.