clara batton smith
The title of this show keeps conjuring up “soul baring” for me. I shouldn’t speak for all artists but I do believe that most of us are trying to leave a small part of the things that ignited our souls behind in our work. The majority of my pieces focus on cultural expectations on and around women, my own feelings of failure vs the need to push back against what is expected and exploring both my coping mechanisms and the images that give me strength to attempt to lift up both myself and others.
Mary-Ellen Belleville has explored many aspects of creating with textiles since completing her Bachelor of Education (Art & Craft) in 1979. She majored in ceramics and textiles, and exhibited in graduation student shows, and successfully displayed and sold her unique works – that often combine multimedia textile elements – at galleries in Melbourne.
A ‘sideways’ career move into the food and hospitality industry totally absorbed her creative energies for more than 30 years. However, always keen to explore aspects of textile arts, Mary-Ellen continued attending artist workshops, experimenting in textile arts techniques.
A keen beach walker and bush camper, she is a true bower bird, collecting all manner of ocean treasures, forest floor litter, discarded plastics and so on. This ‘harvesting activity’ led to a successful solo exhibition in 2018 of over 30 small sculptures, based on the female form, all embellished with upcycled materials. Since then her textile collages have been exhibited in the AATA 2022, and in CrossXpollinatioN earlier this year. “I love to emphasise the natural beauty and imperfections found in leaves, bark, stones. Mary-Ellen delights in creating unique pieces that celebrate ‘repurposing’ as a statement of concern for our environment.
Deborah McHugh is a maker and artist who completed an Associate Diploma of Arts (Studio Textiles) at Melbourne Institute of Textiles (RMIT), currently undertaking a Fine Art degree (Sculpture) at RMIT.
She has developed a Geelong based studio practice, exploring the traditional craft of hand weaving framed within the context of contemporary art. Deborah has cultivated an individual language, expressed through the creation, observation and tactility of textiles. This language speaks to the sensitivity of unique materials, capturing a presence in time and drawing upon simplicity of hand.
I am a Textile Artist from Melbourne. I specialise in free machine embroidery, hand stitching and mending exploring and interpreting my surroundings through embroidery.
My practice engages with the natural environment recreating the images and shapes in my embroidered works in both 2 and 3D form. My work looks at slowing down and portraying my concerns around social issues including the environment, climate change and the treatment of asylum seekers. I find textiles the perfect medium for expressing my thoughts using both hand and machine stitching.
Working with found materials I find the joy is the unexpected uses that can be found for them. Loving this unpredictability and enjoying the inventiveness necessary to transform them. The materials not only highlight a need to address the amount of waste we produce, but also contributes to the story. In creating each item, I work with materials which have been discarded, things with a history that might otherwise end up in landfill.
My work has been exhibited in the United Kingdom and Australia. I have been featured in Textile Fibre Forum, Art Hole, Fibre Arts and Machine Embroidery & Textile Art magazines.
Miranda Brettt is a textile artist based in Melbourne. Her artworks arise from a collaboration with materials at hand and finding ways to integrate diverse elements using feltmaking, hand embroidery and mixed media….. and reveal their intertwining story. Textiles and the creative process are her ‘sounding board’ for life. Miranda has participated in exhibitions in Geelong, Melbourne, NSW and the UK, culminating in a solo exhibition “Wool – in the Making” Hay NSW in 2019.
Jess Hall is a multi-disciplinary artist working with painting, drawing and textiles. Training as a painter, printmaker and as a textile designer, Jess completed first class Honours at Queensland College of Art (2005), a Master of Fine Art at VCAM (2010) and the Bachelor of Textiles (Design) (2021) at RMIT. The work is influenced by aspects of printmaking, painting and textiles and reflects the artists’ training in these areas. Underpinning all painting and textile work is a descriptive drawing practice. Jess’ work has been purchased for private and public collections and has featured in numerous art prizes, group and solo exhibitions, including international craft prizes.
On seeing a Roman/Greek style vessel of this nature in a small window in Geelong I have been longing to stitch a replica. These pots from antiquity have embedded themselves in my brain . Vessels especially those made by stitching cannott contain in the usual ways, but they can be the keeper of dreams and secrets.
Ellis is a Melbourne artist living on Wurundjeri land with a degree in Printmaking from RMIT a self taught hand embroiderer and baker interested in textile history and the natural world.
Tara is a modern quilt artist and designer known for her bold use of colour, strong geometry and preference for using recycled, perennial or traditional textiles. Her work is divided between exhibition pieces and a more crafts-based practice designing quilt patterns. Tara’s attraction to textiles – whether quilted, knitted or stitched, is the mix of utility and art form – beauty with a practical purpose.
Tara’s exhibition work is often a form of social commentary. Firstly, on the notion of textiles as women’s work, which sees them undervalued as an artform, both by the fine art community, but also frequently by the artists themselves. Equally, it explores the notion of textiles as art versus a crafts-based production practice and the tensions between working as textile artist compared to that of a traditional career, including what the consequences of these choices mean for both her personally and financially, as well as the broader physical environment.
Caroline’s love of fibre has been instilled through the talented female generations of her family. She has recently turned her attention to clay, exploring the relationship between the two mediums. To gain more insight on how to meld the two slow crafts, she studied at Northern Beaches TAFE, completing her Diploma and Advanced Diploma in Visual Arts (Ceramics) in 2018 and 2020 respectively. Her ceramic work forms showcase the amazing ability of clay to highlight the knitted and crocheted stitches.
A regular exhibitor at the Northern Beaches TAFE yearly exhibitions from 2015 to 2020, Caroline has also shown her knitted and crocheted works at “The Fernery” in Newcastle’s Islington, Craft NSW in The Rocks Sydney and Macleay Regional Art Gallery on the Mid North Coast of NSW. The group show at The Shop Gallery Glebe in October 2020, “Reshaped” provided her with an opportunity to showcase her major work for 2020, which took the form of lightshades, vessels and ‘hard hats’.
Caroline’s ceramic work “Knitted Gem” was selected as a finalist for the 2020 Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize.
Amelia Dowling is a Melbourne based visual artist and curator. Trained in fashion design, art history and curatorial studies, Dowling uses language and textiles to investigate the intimate and public power that art holds to connect, protest, subvert, play and heal. Dowling exhibits in solo and group exhibitions, undertakes commissions and her work is held in collections in Australia, NZ and the UK. Dowling is a featured artist with Modern Times Australia and works from her studio in Melbourne.
For the thread[laid]bare exhibition, Dowling explores what it means to be ‘laid bare’. Approaching the theme as a means to ‘reveal or to uncover’, the artist presents 3 new textile works that utilise the repetitive and tactile nature of hand embroidery as an act towards contemplation, humour and emotional repair.
“The ways you have learned to survive may not be the ways you wish to continue to live.” – Dr Thema Bryant
Katherine’s art practice is process driven as she often finds herself losing all sense of time in the meditative act of random and repetitive mark-making which she utilises to invite the viewer to contemplate, reflect and to take a closer look. Objects found in nature and collected items are often repurposed and feature in her work in an unconventional and unexpected manner.
Fiona Gavens is a textile designer based in Melbourne. She has broad experience developed over a lifetime of involvement with textiles.
Her multiple careers include being a freelance quilt artist, exhibitor and teacher for many years; manager of a regional conservatorium; and university and arts administrator. As a self-taught artist she embraced the opportunity to develop formal design skills in her studies in the B.A. (Textile Design), RMIT University, graduating in 2018.
Fiona is a “hands-on designer”, often developing the work through the construction process. Graphic shapes, bold colour and texture have always featured strongly, whatever the medium.
Grace Pundyk is an artist, curator, author, playwright and scholar based in Melbourne, and living on the lands of the Boon-wurrung and Woi-wurrung. Her practice – both artistic and research – is interdisciplinary, often journey-inspired, and seeks to blur the boundaries of identity and memory, belonging, death and the beyond through practices of ritual and materials sourced from nature and the wild. Materials used in her work include parchment, which she sources and makes from marsupial roadkill, linen, silk, beeswax, and grasses and seeds. Her latest project ‘heirloom’, a textile-based series of wearable headpieces, was shown this April as a solo exhibition at the Embroiderers Guild of NSW’s Gallery 76 in Sydney, and as a choreographic work with Mature Artists Dance Experience (MADE) in Hobart in September. Grace also curated the inaugural Paper off Skin exhibition at RANT Arts in Devonport this June.