Earth was the clear choice for Nadine Tabberer who took early inspiration from aerial photographs of a river gorge. Nadine likes to work large and often includes natural found objects or unusually textured materials in her work. We have come to see Nadine as the weaver in our group as she explores the potential of manipulating metals, cardboard and fibres.
Catherine Howard was drawn to the element of water after a visit to Antarctica. Colour and texture are important to her and she enjoyed producing detailed pieces which incorporated free machine embroidery and embellishment.
Catherine produced a series of felted pieces. Capturing the energy of water with the use of colour and repeated curved lines. Tiny seed beads caught the light to add the notion of foam. Each piece began, appropriately, as wet felt but detail was added with needle felting.
Catherine produced a number of vessels made from mulberry bark and silk fibres. Displaying these alongside the Antarctica photographs which had inspired the work further described the vivid blue tones found naturally in icebergs.
Anna Barrett, with her adventurous love of colour, texture and new techniques, worked on the element of fire. She took inspiration from midnight fires on the beach near her home and incorporated ideas from her extensive travels. Appropriately Anna used ‘hot textiles’ techniques in her work, setting about various synthetics with a heat gun with unique results.
Anna created both three dimensional and two dimensional work; experimenting with the combination of textiles with other media including paper, driftwood and pebbles.
Anna created an installation of her Fire Sticks and Fire Pebbles on the beach where she had originally found the materials
Anna used rust dying techniques to create these delicate pieces of silk
This complex piece combined charred driftwood and paper with fabrics dyed naturally with tea and rust
The Elements: Air
This is the second textile piece I have made to represent Air for our Elements exhibition and continues to use birds and flight as a theme. Again I wanted to create a ghost like image so there is minimal detail on the bird outline.
Techniques used to make the piece
This piece is essentially two layers. The base layer is a large piece of cotton which I dyed grey and then using printing blocks made by cutting Funky Foam into feather shapes, I used discharge paste to reveal the images.
For the top layer I started with a sketch of a bird which I enlarged on a photocopier. I taped the photocopied sketch onto a think piece of cardboard and then taped a piece of Georgette material over the top. As the Georgette is a sheer fabric I was able to see the drawing underneath which enabled me to easily paint the image onto the fabric. I used white acrylic paint to do this but with hindsight I should have used a textile medium because I found that the paint showed the subsequent needle marks. Still we learn as go don’t we?
The two layers were basted together before finally stitching over the painted bird by hand. I chose to make long stitches with various heavy weight cotton perle threads, hoping to give the impression of feathers. Initially I thought I would use shades of grey: here’s the fellow with a beady eye:
But I decided I didn’t really like the effect so needed to do some de-stitching!
The final piece is stretched and framed (not shown) and measures 75cm x 75cm
Using flight as a source of inspiration
This is the first piece I have made for our Elements exhibition. Having decided that I would use flight as my interpretation of the Air theme I was inspired by Eadweard Muybridge’s photographs of animal locomotion. Muybridge was a pioneer of motion photography who used multiple cameras to take a series of stop motion photographs. He then copied the silhouettes onto a disc which was viewed through his zoopraxiscope device, and to the observer the images appeared to move. This is considered a precursor to cinematography. My aim was to show the movement of a bird in flight by using a series of images similar to individual frames of Muybridge stop motion photographs.
I think hummingbirds are in my subconscious as there is a small wooden one hanging up in our bathroom; a souvenir from a holiday in Cuba. To emphasise the Air theme I wanted the images to be ghost like and transparent.
Techniques used to make the piece
I began by drawing the 6 images. These were then photocopied onto sheets of organza and cotton which can be run through an inkjet printer. The base layer is large piece of plain white cotton. I layered the sheets of printed cotton in place and then hand stitched over all of the lines in the image. Once the image was defined the excess areas of the printed sheets were cut away. On top of this layer I added a large piece of Procion dyed silk. The printed organza sheets were placed on top of this, repeating the stitching and cutting back. The layers were stretched over a canvas and finally fragments of sheer fabric was stitched loosely in place with invisible thread.
The finished piece is framed (not shown) and measures 86cm x 61cm.