Today my fourth solo exhibition opens at Falkner Gallery in Castlemaine, Central Victoria. It runs for seven weeks and includes 23 framed and 41 unframed drawings of silk tassels and fragments of fabric that look like lace knitting. This is an exciting milestone for me as I have admired this gallery for many years. With family in Bendigo, I would often drive the Calder Freeway from Melbourne, stopping occasionally at Falkner Gallery to admire the work of the established artists from the local area. So to be selected as one of these artists has even more meaning at this time in my art career. My art can be viewed on the ground floor of the gallery while Judy Schrever's gorgeous oil paintings are featured on the second floor.
Why Tassels and Fragments? In 2016 I started drawing Tassels with black ink copic markers. It started with copying a cream coloured tassel that I had in the studio. I discovered that I loved combining two sizes of copic marker; a .2 and 1 size so there was a contrast in the line size. There was a quirky feel to each Tassel that arrived, like they had their own personality and I found great enjoyment doing the line and pattern work as the series evolved. At the time I had no idea why they were appearing. It really felt like surrendering to the enjoyment of discovery along the way. A bit like meeting a whole heap of fun-loving new friends!
Around the same time I was starting to research indigo cloth and its connection to the transatlantic slave trade. I read a book called Indigo by Catherine McFinlay which talked about "A person's spirit being in the cloth". This deeply moved me and sparked my imagination, especially after discovering that a women's cloth wrapper would be traded for a person during the slave trade in Africa. What if the cloth held the spirit of the slave? What would this mean?
From there I started to research vintage African textiles and experimented in my moleskine sketchbook. It was through this exploration process that I discovered a style using Indigo coloured Gouache and White Ink Gel Pen that imitated stitches used in wax resist Indigo dyeing methods. As I continued to experiment I started to link this to my own textile history of knitting, in particular lace knitting. This made the work more personal and seemed to reference my own heritage, family relationships and colonial past having been raised in the small town of Kyneton in Central Victoria.
The Fragments grew out of this research and exploration and seem to have a life of their own! They just keep coming and I am really enjoying making small Fragments (A5 and A3 sizes feature in this exhibition) as well as larger works and custom designed pieces commissioned for a particular home or business. It feels like I have now found my true creative voice and although it has been a long time coming (around 20 years), it is well worth the wait.
I hope you get a chance to see this show. If you cannot attend, please do not hesitate to contact me for a copy of the Catalogue so you don't miss out. Thank you for supporting my art practice.