It is not made up! Her surname originates from Ireland. Originally it was probably Kellagher, and was written down as Killhare when her ancestors migrated from Ireland to Middleton-by-Wirksworth, Derbyshire in the late 16th century. It was then changed to Killer in the 18th century. Her family were furniture makers. Whilst building a new house, they discovered the way the local stone could easily be quarried in large blocks. Thus began Killer Brothers Stone known as English Marble. They built a railway line to transport the stone from the quarries to the main line. It still exists.
Technical drawing pens, indian ink & silk paint.
All natural sustainable ones; Honan, antung & organza silks, cotton organdie & velvet.
Fabric paints on opaque silks, & silk paints on diaphanous silks. The brands I favour are Pebeo Setacolor Transparent, Marabou Fabric Paint, & the metalic paints from Polyprint in Belfast.
I used to use Rolls Fabrifix or spray starch to slightly stiffen the fabrics prior to drawing and painting.
A Bernina 830 Electronic Record, purchased in 1981.
Madeira Classic (all weights) & Tanne, & occasionally their FS & Supertwist.
The most frequently asked question, to which I have to say that it depends whether it is a single piece or a new body of work, how big it is, what the budget is etc. The research takes the longest amount of time (and is the most exciting), looking, drawing, sampling, and selecting. The actual making of a piece is short in comparison. Also, if the piece was done years ago, It’s difficult to say!
3 to 6 months.
I relish commissions; they are a challenge as they can turn me in a new direction of discovery, such as when working on the commission for a life-size portrait of Mary Tudor a few years ago, I recreated her clothing with drawing. Thus commenced a new body of work informed by lace, embroidered, woven, and printed textiles, some of which are from public & private collections, eg.Temple Newsham in Leeds and the Textile Department at the V&A.
It depends on the era. In the seventies it was the Pre-Raphealites; in the 80s & 90s, Renaissance painters; in the noughties it is anyone who draws in detail.
The self-portrait, One Peugeot, Two Persians & Paddy will always be a favourite, because it includes my cats. Apart from that it would be Researching Grandfather.
That is to say many of the everyday tasks enabling more time to create with pen, ink, thread and natural materials.
My family & the fact that Halifax was a textile town when I was a child & all my family worked in the industry in one way or another. My father, who was a member of the Fabian Society, taught me to draw & paint when I was very small. He took me to galleries & museums throughout Yorkshire & Lancashire. My grandmother taught my to embroider when I was 5. I made my first skirt on the sewing machine when I was 8.
I was taught Art all my way through school by my now great friend Vicky Watling (Bottomley). So I naturally went on to do it as a career, a precarious occupation at the best of times!