My work focusses on that moment as you catch a glimpse of something fantastic; the kingfisher as he takes flight and you see the flash of iridescent blue; light on water; filtering through trees or the luminosity of a flower in full sun. When you catch your breath because you have seen something (or someone) at its/their most glorious. But that is no longer sufficient.

Since losing my sight and being diagnosed with a critical illness, I am sensitive to being precious with everything and take nothing for granted. I want this message to be clear in my work.

Tessa - Like the celestial ladder
'Like the celestial ladder' - mixed media and gold leaf

What's your favourite book and/or film?

I cannot pick one book or one film. That’s like asking me my favourite colour! The many titles reflect the connection I feel, from the soul, and this varies. They could be poetry, a hymn book, a piece of music and lyrics, which evoke the passion, and emotion I feel whist working. Or my own words might hang in my head.

I love paper. As a child and young teenager I collected Bibles. It wasn’t the content but the thin weight and delicacy of the paper and it’s gold edge. I have evolved and hear the words now. I love torn edges contrasting with the crisp man made edge of a frame. Add the warmth, richness and precious entity of gold itself and it becomes addictive. It’s my passion for Klimt and precious treasure. I love to collage, to create edges and texture. For the viewer is it paper, a painted edge or a change of surface created by stitch? Is it drawn, scraped, torn or a wafer thin layer of paint or paper?

Where's your favourite place?

Venice - The light, the architecture and the reflections. I use metallic to interpret light's ever changing permutations. The work will never look the same day-to-day, day from night. It will be transformed by morning, evening sunshine or moonlight just as nature is - just as Venice does.

Tessa - Commissioned Furniture Piece
Commissioned furniture piece

Who would you most like to meet (anyone dead or alive)?

John Piper, the major source of inspiration throughout my life. I refer back to his work, over and over. I wrote to him whilst studying my degree and received a wonderful letter from his wife, which I still treasure today. I would also like to meet Victoria Crowe. Her stories are embedded in pattern and texture. I felt physically moved by her work and was unable to leave the exhibition, wanting to drink everything in and hang on to every moment. I couldn’t believe I had not heard of her - I felt so closely linked. The layers in the work personify life’s layers. We all have a façade from which we face the world. When you fall in love with someone, you have an instinctive connection with him or her and you gradually learn all there is to know and develop a relationship. Never growing tired of looking and spending time with them and that is what I want people to do with my work.

Who is your hero/who do you most admire?

El Anatsui is most definitely a hero. His motives for his work, his ideals and his practice. He spoke so eloquently and humbly. It truly was a dream come true to meet and speak with him.

Tessa - And still I thought of you
'And still I thought of you' - mixed media and gold leaf

What irritates you?

I have always loved words. Often used them incorrectly as a youngster because I loved how they sounded. But ‘Nice’ should be banned! We have so many descriptive, adjectives and as for the ‘F’ word. It is a verb… not an adjective. But as I dislike hypocrites, I admit to using the latter when I’m very angry or rather tipsy!

Moving on and rounding up - I trained at Birmingham Polytechnic, now University of Central England completing a BA (Hons) Fashion and Textiles and a Post Graduate Diploma. I completed my teaching PGDip at Homerton College, Cambridge. I have been an Artist in Residence at a number of places and exhibited all over this country and Italy. My work has now spread internationally. My passion for people and art led me to a career in teaching. Following early retirement I have been able to focus on my own practice - though I still enjoy helping others.

I specialise in a mixed media approach to my work, whether large - or small scale, regarding it as ‘paintings with purpose’ since some pieces have a function.

I love using print; collage; drawn, and stitched media. I transpose my drawings onto silk-screen and build the messages and stories by layering. The places portrayed are precious to me, to be sustained and protected. It is fundamental in my practice to recycle and repurpose, sourcing discarded objects and giving them renewed value. I take what has been discarded and make it precious again.

What's the best work related thing you have done recently?

I was awarded the Emerging Artist Bursary 2014 from the Thelma Hulbert Gallery, gained first prize at The Oxford International Art Exhibition in 2016, and took part in the XI Florence Biennale 2017. I was delighted to be part of our Drawn to London Show and then have work accepted for the Royal Arts Prize at the Gallery. Last year I was shortlisted in the Visual Arts Open and had work accepted and hung in the Royal West Academy, Bristol. Being invited and exhibiting in the XIth Florence Biennale and meeting El Anatsui will take a bit of beating!