Isabel Foster: A lifelong textile love affair
Delightfully bright, bold and bizarre textiles will be on display as part of The Challenge of Colour, the retrospective exhibition of flamboyant 92 year old artist Isabel Foster. The huge body of her lifetime’s work shows a devotion to thread, colour and the use of ‘reverse garbage’.
Resilience, Independence, Creativity
As a child, born between two world wars, Isabel was raised in a time where thrift and up-cycling was a given and home furnishings were frequently handmade. This upbringing planted the seeds of resilience, independence and creativity, which have become the hall marks of this remarkable textile artist.
The exhibition will feature pieces from Isabel’s whole career from her ‘Tribute to Truganninni’ knotted cloak, rugs, wall hangings, colourful ‘Oddballs’ of all sizes, colourful arm chairs and an extraordinary piece featuring crocheted tendrils of copper wire. Putting together all these works in an exhibition of a life’s work can be tricky; Isabel says ‘All the things I’ve put away for years, they are saying choose me, choose me!’
Letting materials loose
Isabel’s creative process has developed over many years, resulting in a style which blends technique, colours and materials with ingenuity and thrift; ‘I use all fibres – I never know what will come from a wrap and because I love my materials, I let them loose in my hands and they take over. I know something exciting will happen. Also what I do know is – there is a magic moment to be waited for when the work is complete – beyond this no more need be said.’
Her relationship with colour is the driving force; ‘I’m controlled by colour. Red pounds inside me. It’s agony waiting to create new works… I’m on a journey making me very romantic with my work.’
A passion to produce
Isabel has been overcome by a passion to produce which has remained with her until this day, As Isabel said herself during a phone interview, ‘Please excuse me, I have gotten dye all over the phone!……I have always got my hands in some colour or on some fabric.’
When she manages to escape from her artistic urges, she is heavily involved in many guilds, textile events and educational institutions including; acting as secretary for the Handweavers & Spinners Guild of Victoria and presenting stunning works at The Rug Event and Wool and Beyond conferences. She was also a champion Table Tennis player until the age of 90! Isabel has left a resounding impact on the Australian textiles world and she continues to share her knowledge and flair to this day.
The fascinating works on display show the remarkable honesty of fabrics and highlight a lifetime’s supply of resourceful techniques driven by an overwhelming passion.
‘I am really excited to be hosting this exhibition. It features an array of incredibly interesting shapes, colours, contours and ideas…. She is truly a lady that has been addicted to her work and that comes through in the breadth and variety of works on show.‘ Zachary Exner, Burrinja Cultural Centre.
The exhibition will be on show from the 14th of December until 16th of March (Closed from 23rd December – 2nd January). For details visit www.burrinja.org.au.
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