The natural world: 5 textile artists inspired by landscapes
It’s not unusual to see landscapes depicted in art but when the imagery is formed with textiles it can trigger a very different set of emotions. Many artists choose to take inspiration from what is outside their front door and we certainly feel excited when we witness the South Coast transformed by thread or the Lake District stunningly realised in stitch.
In this article, part of our Discover… series, we introduce you to 5 top textile artists who take their inspiration from the natural world which surrounds them.
Caroline Dunn hails from the Yorkshire Dales, a very beautiful part of England, that provides constant inspiration in the form of its wonderful landscapes, bird life and architecture. She uses mixed media techniques and machine embroidery to create artwork that reflects her love of the landscape and the natural beauty that surrounds her. Preferred materials include natural fabrics used as backgrounds, which Caroline then paints and dyes before embellishing with applique and embroidery, both machine and hand stitch.
For more information visit: www.carolinedunn.weebly.com
Kim Marguerite LaPolla
Kim lives and works in New York. Her chief aim is to encapsulate nuance and duality in her stitched, layered, and embellished fiber art. Kim creates by using a combination of spontaneous inspiration and passionate design. She is inspired by nature and everyday objects and enjoys the challenge of interpreting these elements in unexpected colors and patterns. She then assembles her art using a variety of construction and surface design techniques.
For more information visit: www.crazybydesign.com
Dee Thomas is a contemporary textile artist using mark-making, colour and texture to represent moments in time. The fabrics, stitches and images are carefully chosen to reflect a sense of place or an emotion which has been captured in a fleeting moment. This ‘snapshot’ view is a recurring theme in her work. Dee, who had always professed to disliking stitch, had her head turned forever when she accompanied a friend to a meeting of the Embroiderers’ Guild. There she found an outlet for her love of textures and colour.
For more information visit: www.deethomas.co.uk
Judi Miller creates pictures using thread, a textile base and a sewing machine. In free motion machine embroidery the sewing machine needle is used as a pencil or paint brush. Photographs are most often a starting point that provide composition, colour and detail reference. She starts with a sketch on fabric and may use watercolour pencil, silk paints or dyes to produce the desired effect for the background. She fills in detail using machine embroidery, from coarse texture to fine detail. Landscapes are a current favourite as the texture of the fabric and the thread enhance the composition.
For more information visit: www.judimiller.ca
Fiona Robertson originally trained in fine art and this influence is evident in her work as a textile artist. Working with embroidery to create intricate landscapes has altered her way of looking at the world. The versatility of nature as a subject is a constant source of inspiration; the striking contrast of a landscape that has been muted by rain, or has been sharpened by the light of the sun provides endless possibilities for exploration. She creates her imagery from personal experience, sketchbooks and photography. Each piece is built from hand-dyed silk, cotton scrim and a combination of other diverse fibres. The basis for Fiona’s work is machine stitched, before detail is added by hand.
For more information visit: www.fionarobertsonartworks.co.uk
If you are inspired by the work featured in this article, take a look at the eBook Textiles: A Response to Landscape, which brings together 10 more incredible contemporary artists who speak of the subject matter in a unique way. In compiling the book, we sought to highlight the vast range of opportunities textiles offer as a means of interpretation by exploring the stories, influences and techniques of the artists featured. There’s also a wide selection of beautiful images of their work.
You’ll share in the stories of Alison King, who is inspired by the hills and valleys of Scotland, and Shona Skinner, who became frustrated with the flatness of paint and moved to textiles as a means of expressing the landscape of the Shetland Isles.
You’ll also be invited into the worlds of the longest serving member of the renowned 62 Group Jan Beaney, Indiana-based quilter Daren Redman, and long-time TextileArtist.org contributor Carol Naylor. And you’ll take a glimpse into the processes of Pauline Nijenhuis, who uses acrylic paint and stitch on untreated linen, Debbie Lyddon, who makes non-representational objects and wall hung pieces, and Carol Shinn, who creates photo-realistic machine embroidery. Finally, you’ll discover what lies behind the work of collage-artist Barbara Lee Smith and Licentiate member of the Society of Designer Craftsmen Diana McKinnon.
Check out the 5-star reviews of the book, which is available now for just £3.99.