Founded in 1999 Fibre Art Wales is a collective of artists working in the medium of fibre or using processes that engage with textile practice. As a result of the diversity mixed media art offers the nature of the member’s work is dynamic. The visual and evocative pieces produced are part of the group’s commitment to raising the profile of Welsh contemporary fibre art.
The latest exhibition Transience is in association with the Makers Guild in Wales, an independent charitable organisation focused on advancing public education in the visual arts and crafts. The body of work produced is an example of the fluidity of textile practice in postmodern culture as the artists explore the concerns and concepts linked with contemporary society.
Silence, Stillness, Presence, Absence, Transience, Tranquillity.
These six words embody the planning and thinking behind the exhibition and run through the pieces as each of the eight artists give them form. The display is housed at Craft in the Bay and features the work of Shellie Holden, Ruth Harries, Elizabeth Brickell, Lisa Porch, Michelle Griffiths, Alison Mercer, Helen Foroughi and Jenni Steele.
Last week Lisa Porch and Shellie Holden presented their work as part of the Artists in Conversation event. Talking in depth about the themes that inspired her work, Lisa Porch discussed her principal pieces entitled ‘Bandages’ and ‘Wounds’. A central preoccupation that informs Lisa’s work is the inadequacies of language, in an endeavour to connect and use her artistic voice. The lines of communication Lisa followed in her research were concerned with the theme of loss charting the processes of grief and healing. Lisa used art to work through her own struggles with the tragic loss of a child, her artwork became a way to give her own grief physical form.
“Repetitive, obsessive, meditative.”
Lisa’s pieces are innovative and subversive with the thick red stitching and use of recycled materials such as woollen blankets and cotton gauze representing the cultural practices of healing and protecting. Her work uses traditional stitch such as bullion, satin stitch and knots to interpret and translate wounds. Her concept of the ‘subversive stitch’ takes influence from Margot Waddell who suggested that mental capacities could be expanded by offering these faculties shape.
The process of transformation informs and influences Shellie Holden’s work, experimenting with writing and words that feeds into her pieces. Shellie’s work for the exhibition was inspired by a sense of transience and the movement from one moment to the next. The interaction between image and text continues to be an underlying theme for Shellie, as part of objectifying words to inject meaning.
The exhibition is an innovative showcase of the intertwining of image and textile, idea and process in an exploration of boundaries and space. The pieces produced by each artist in a respond to the solitary words resonate with contemporary concerns and are example of the intricate and provocative pieces fibre art can create.