Topophilia : a sense of belonging
This solo exhibition by Helen MacRitchie has been showing throughout September, ending on 2nd October. I’ve know Helen for many years and always admired her artworks.
The basis of her practice is wet felted wool on which she creates layered textural surfaces or sculptural forms. She is spectacular with a sewing machine and her free-motion stitching brings a completely different textural aspect to her art when set against the softness of the felting. She dyes her own yarns, threads, fibre and fabrics and is adept at choosing colours that work harmoniously together and to her theme.
The exhibition publicity details how, through her art works, Helen examines her life in Scotland, Australia and England, reflecting on her feeling of home for each of these particular places. Topophilia, more than simply a liking of a place, suggests a cultural connection, a sense of belonging.
Recurring felting, wrapping and embroidery techniques with intertwining and nest motifs express this visually. Ancestry, heritage, memories and colourful vistas past and present are her inspiration and points of topophilic identification.
This exhibition was a feast for the eyes, with a very different feel and sense of place for each of the locations depicted. I spent a lovely morning walking around the gallery with Helen while learning the inspiration behind each piece as well as many of the techniques she employed.
Good lunch together at a local cafe afterwards as well.