Sandra Wyman, textile artist
Sandra Wyman got in touch on the first day of the exhibition. Another Leeds-based disabled artist, she was keen to be part of this project.
It’s a pleasure to feature her work on the website.
Image above: Letters to the Demons.
I am a disabled artist working with textiles and mixed media.
My superpower is synaesthesia: a jumbling up of senses in which I experience sounds, letters, numbers, smells in colour.
Sewing and creating fabrics using various printing and dyeing techniques forms a basis for stitching, a process which for me is essentially meditative. My work is mainly autobiographical or centred on personal symbols.
I retired from teaching and trade union activity in my mid forties. But I am still a political activist, working on disability issues within the Labour Party both locally and nationally.
Dragonflies begin by spending their time grobbling around in murky water alternating between periods of change and stasis over a long time before they reach their final form. As such they have become a symbol for self-realisation. I’ve had a life that follows a similar pattern so this is an important personal symbol.
The dragonfly in shades of blue fills the frame, with mosaic-like wings. Even the background is made of squares of different blues, with faint outlines of bugs and insects.
Not Just DNA
I explore the way in which attitudes and characteristics are passed down through the generations and develop through time. On the right are portraits of my great grandmother, grandmother and mother; on the left different stages in my own life.
Written accounts form the background, only partly readable – the way history is. The two sides are divided by a spiral from top to bottom, like the DNA double helix.
This piece is based on the music of Seckou Keita and Catrin Finch: their album Soar explores themes of migration. Clarach was the first osprey to hatch, migrate and return to the Dyfi Osprey project in mid Wales and the bird in flight is the central symbol of the work. [Clarach is also the name of a river in north Wales].
It incorporates family history with relatives migrating to Argentina, Canada and Australia. Clarach also expresses concern for all those who migrate because they have no choice: it’s about survival.