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.


A while ago I read of a doctor describing grief by sketching a gradually shrinking ball in a box containing a ‘pain button’ that gets triggered with less frequency over time.  

As time passes, the ball hits the button less often, but the pain is still intense and the instances it’s triggered are random.  

I love the way this illustrates how feelings surrounding loss can change over time and are unpredictable, and it led me to want to express this analogy and explore it through my own visual response.

With a working title of ‘The Ball and the Box’, the 3D pieces I’m making explore grief as one of the ‘dark emotions’ playing a necessary part in a non-linear journey towards acceptance and transformation.