MY FAVOURITE VIEW
Woven textile designer Margo Selby
Textile designer Margo Selby loves The Street in Whitstable
I moved to Whitstable about five years ago and ever since then I’ve been in love with The Street on Tankerton Beach. This part of the shoreline reveals itself when the tide goes out and you’re left with a long, half-mile strip of island, which you can walk right out to the end of, so it feels like you’re almost standing in the middle of the sea with water all around you.
I’ve got quite an emotional reaction to water and I find the feeling of space all around me really powerful. This is also why The Street is so amazing in autumn and winter as the seas can be rougher and add to that excitement of being in the middle of it all. I’m somebody who loves storms – I love thunder and lightning and waves, and the energy you get from water.
The path is so magical in that it only exists twice a day and completely disappears at high tide. The area itself is lovely, with the pebbled beach and its tempting wild fennel flanked by rows of beach huts. On the horizon there’s a wind farm, which bothers a lot of people, but I actually like them, even beyond the renewable energy they produce, as I find the movement of the arms as they go round quite energising.
Finding a time when low tide coincides with sunset is the most incredible thing. It’s unusual to have the sun set to the east of England, but because of the way Whitstable is angled you get this lovely sunset over the sea. Then, after walking out onto this long, thin strip of sand, the little dimples in the sand begin to fill up with water and as the sun comes down they reflect the sun and glow orange, so it’s almost like being on an alien surface. It’s quite romantic!
It’s become an important spot for me in the five years I’ve been enjoying this view. My dad moved in with us a year after we set up here because he was unwell, and for those last two years of his life this is where we would take him. He wasn’t that mobile, but we were able to drive him down and let him soak in the view, and the memories and photographs I have of him at the edge of the sea are something I cherish. We even scattered his ashes at the end of The Street after he passed away, which makes it an even more poignant spot.
Moving to Whitstable has changed my work a lot. I’ve always been a ‘more is more’ person with lots going on in my designs, but since I’ve been living here I’ve been creating simpler work, much more pared back, like my handwoven artworks designed by taking small elements and blowing them to get these big bold abstractions of colour. I think it’s to do with the pace of life and enjoying the slowness you can get from making textiles, as well as the slowness you get from living in a place like this. It really is amazing.
To see Margo’s most recent handwoven artworks, go to margoselby.com/art.