I’ve always been a maker of things. From my completely bonkers and unpractical totem pole hat entry, in my primary school’s Easter Bonnet competition (I was gutted to get 2nd prize because the 1st prize went to a spectacularly dull (in my humble opinion) bonnet covered in daffodils!) to a recent big ‘make’ of a Fair Isle jumper.
I’m drawn to songs that are inclusive and anthemic, big-hearted and life affirming; songs with text that’s inclusive and universal to the human condition. So that’s what I try and write. AB
My Mum, bless her, taught me to use a sewing machine and to knit before I started school – two things that are now second nature to me. When I left school I began training as a musical instrument maker at the London College of Furniture. I didn’t finish the course but it left me with a solid grasp on materials science, woodworking skills and a love of technical drawing (special paper AND special pens! Swoon!). And since then I’ve made and created all sorts of things: clothes; furniture; artwork; decorations for ceremonies and props for theatre companies. If I see something appealing in a shop my first thought is always ‘I could make that!’ Consequently my home is full of tools and bits and pieces of various makery shenanigans.
And then at some point I began using artwork and sometimes craft as a way of supporting my songwriting. My creative process is generally to have a BIG slow-moving theme that I’m sitting with for a few years. For a long time I wrote about my relationship to the land. And then for 10 years or so I’ve explored belonging and community. I’ve written lots of songs about grief and surviving. And now I’m mostly thinking and writing about transition to a low carbon lifestyle and climate changes. All those themes still feature in my current work.