Culture Victoria

Gathering the threads again.

By Susan Mathews Posted Under Wangaratta Textile Project

Having finished my piece I was feeling very motivated to go back and follow the "threads" that I started exploring in my development process. However, there was a slight hitch in that I had an impending solo exhibition on a large scale to get under control. The exhibition was of selected pieces my work from the last 20 years as well as some current work. It was presented by the local arts council with whom I have had a close relationship with over two decades and was a kind of farewell as my husband and I prepare to leave the area and relocate to the Bellarine Peninsula. It was an enormous amount of work but the exhibition was a great success running for four days over the Queen's birthday weekend. It's now over and I'm looking forward to completing another piece of work based on Wangaratta's textile industry. I have done a substantial amount of work and really only need to figure out how it will go together. I have found the project really stimulating and I feel that I may need to go on and complete another couple of works as well. That's my guess at this time at least. I wanted to work with the collagraph and linocut prints that I was developing early on in the project. Also the image of the wires from the jacquard loom were a very compelling source of imagery for me and I had completed a trial piece of stitching based on them before I got stuck into my exhibition preparation and thought it had great potential. Here are some of the pieces of the work that I have so far:-

 

At left, the collagraph block I was using earlier is repeat printed on turquoise hand dyed cotton fabric to form a long narrow panel. Yellow fabric has been inserted to represent threads and also to link it by colour to the panel at right. A base of breakdown silk screen printed cotton fabric (the yellow) was printed with my warp roller end inspired linocut block in two colours and then quilted to create a second long, narrow panel.

 

Here another long, narrow panel was created by printing the warp roller end onto sheer brown fabric. This was laid over turquoise hand dyed cotton fabric which had been repeat printed with a linocut block inspired by the wires controlling the heddles on the big jacquard looms at Bruck. The piece was  free motion quilted and then the areas between the "roller ends" was cut away revealing the criss-cross pattern of the "wires".

 

Below, hand dyed cotton fabric  has been quilted with bright green polyester thread to represent the appearance of the wires of the jacquard looms at  Bruck. The intention is that this will form the central panel of the proposed piece of work with narrow panels such as the ones above placed on either side. I love the shimmery effect of the threads, though you may not be able to get the idea so well on screen.

 

 

Since I began this post a week or two has gone by. The Stitched Up Festival has been on in Wangaratta and I had a busy time helping to hang two exhibitions I had work in, attending three different openings in a week, participating in a great Maker's Market and, of course visiting all of the other exhibtions on offer! The festival has been revitalised and was really great. I suggest that all textile lovers make a note  to come to Wangaratta when the festival is on in 2013. Although the festival is over, one of my exhibitions is still up. Bundled and Bound is on at the LiTTLE art space next to The Olive Shop on the Snow Rd at Milawa. It runs until the end of July and three of us have work on display. My friends Kathy Beilby and Kate Martin and I have created works using eco-dyed and printed fabrics. Kathy and I are showing small textile hangings and Kate has made a wonderful range of jackets, vests and wraps. Milawa is also a great place to visit for wonderful produce, wines and eateries. Also, I now have a website up and running. It is a bit of a work in progress but there is plenty to see there. Check it out at www.susanmathews.info. Hopefully I'll now have some time to get back to my piece and show you my progress soon.

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