From the exhibition Nurture.
Materials: Embroidery on cotton velveteen
Dimensions: 201 x 200 x 50mm
The immersive activity of hand stitching is an energising experience for me. Besides the love of the threads and colours, the simple action of repeatedly dipping a needle into a piece of soft fabric is a favourite aspect of my embroidery practice. Knitting can be the same. By simply engaging with beautiful yarns to form stitches and construct a fabric creates a place of stillness in my day. Both these activities offer a basis of calm that nurture a sense of wellbeing in my life. It is an essential ingredient in my textiles practice.
During the Lockdowns, I continued to reflect on my residency in Belgrade 2018 and explore new work. This residency continues to influence my practice. I began a series of embroidered works on the decorative patterns based on my discoveries while wandering through Belgrade’s old city. I had observed many patterns constructed with stylised motifs as a decorative element in this urban environment. I was intrigued by the prevalence of pattern on the city’s buildings. Often I saw motifs used to create patterned screens as window and door fortifications. Decorative elements are generally not used in modern western architecture or urban Australian environments.
‘Black and Bling’ was a strong theme for Belgrade fashionistas Winter Street wear in 2018. Outfits were predominantly black with decorative touches and patterns highlighted with sequins, crystals, mirror pieces, jewellery. Anything that sparkled was used. The Night life on the Sava River with its floating nightclubs teemed with special lighting. Again, it was a theme of light sparkling against the darkness.
As the Pandemic swept the world, we deferred a return trip to the Balkans in 2020 and I continued to research more about Eastern European cultures. I have loved reading about the origins of eastern European decorative patterns found in their national costumes and embroidery traditions. Many textile practices in local regional traditions were influenced by the Ottoman and Byzantine empires. The cultural impact of both these empires can still be found in many national textile products, interior decoration and architectural facades of the Balkans.
Available for shipment or collection from 25 October 2022.
Photos: Tim Bean Photography
Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre acknowledges the Ngunnawal people as the traditional custodians of the ACT and surrounding areas. We honour and respect their ongoing cultural and spiritual connections to this country and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region. We aim to respect cultural heritage, customs and beliefs of all Indigenous people.