There are four Sydney based OCA Textiles students (that we know about) and we have decided to get together from time to time to create a stronger network. Each of us come from a very different background and are at different stages of our creative evolution. Rather than these differences separating us I find that they offer wide benefits as each has something unique to throw into the pot which offers the others an insight into an area not already explored. Last weekend we met up and visited an exhibition at Sturt Gallery in Mittagong.
Whilst waiting for the fourth member of our group to arrive we peered through the windows of the on-site weaving rooms. Luckily a lady was just about to start some work and invited us in. Judy and Eva are both weavers, whereas I’ve only done the small amount in the previous OCA course and don’t even know the terminology they were happily trotting out.
However, even I could appreciate the wide range of equipment available for classes, from the small table top looms to huge complicated looking ones. I was shown a fully computerised one which, once programmed, automatically lifts the correct warps when creating patterns.
Some of the medium sized floor looms were warped up and work was getting underway. Each person was working to their own theme and a wide variety of thicknesses of yarns were showcased. One piece had some weft rows of nylon filament inserted which I understand will be drawn up before the woven piece is dyed, thus creating a shibori effect.
And on to shibori …………..
The exhibition, entitled Parallels, was a visual treat of work by Barbara Rogers. The gallery website describes it as:
‘Parallels – Contemporary Textiles by Barbara Rogers’ is an installation of contemporary textiles that explores the diversity and language of the stripe, the simplest of all patterns, yet a highly versatile tool for communication. Rogers uses her accumulated knowledge of numerous shibori techniques, together with experimental freedom, to push the possibilities towards its creative limits, urging the viewer to see, through cloth, with new eyes; building layers of colour and emphasising the strength behind the apparent fragility of a sheer silk.
I have been looking around for an exhibition based on printing, preferably screen-printing, whilst at this stage of my course but haven’t been able to source one but I feel that shibori dyeing techniques at least demonstrate deliberate colour and patterning as a design on to cloth.
Wandering through the gallery I became aware of how much can be done with just one idea or shape, in this case lines. I thought about my plans for my final printed work for assignment 2 and realised that one of the reasons I have been struggling with it so much is that I’m trying to be too clever, trying to encompass multiple shapes and images which aren’t really jelling together. I’ve been trying to force them into a cohesive, unified design that just isn’t happening. In fact, it’s fair to say that I haven’t been able to ‘see’ in my head any resolved outcome from the pieces I’m working with.
We ate lunch together and I looked at some written and diagrammatic notes Kath had which related to another creative venture she is involved with. I remember, clearly, sitting very still and feeling a new idea seeping into my thoughts. Between the simplicity and beauty of the exhibition and the visual notes I slowly felt my creative block easing.
Once home, I reviewed my small trial sketches, totally rejected everything I had decided to move forward with and started again in a completely new direction ……….
Photos by myself with permission from the gallery.
http://www.sturt.nsw.edu.au/whats-on/current-exhibition – obviously the entry I’ve copied above will only be available during the exhibition period.