Gizella K Warburton: Physical and emotional landscapes
Gizella K Warburton’s work explores ‘an intuitive response to linear, textural and light detail within landscape and surface’. Mark making to create abstract compositions, Gizella draws with paper, cloth and thread. Her approach is not technically-led, but rather a ‘felt’ process; she describes her relationship with making as ‘visceral’.
In our interview with Gizella, she tells us why her studio acts as both sanctuary and sketchbook, and talks about the wide range of materials she uses in her work as an artist.
Colours, textures and decorative details
TextileArtist.org: What or who were your early influences and how has your life/upbringing influenced your work?
Gizella K Warburton: From an early age I responded to the rich colours, textures and decorative details of ethnic textiles, and I remember as a child making patchwork and textile collage with my mother. Also as a child, visiting and experiencing diverse exhibitions and interesting places inspired a curiosity, wonder and aesthetic that continues within my practice today.
I have always found ancient and humble textiles and primitive vessel forms particularly compelling; the raw and worn simplicity of the weaving, stitching, binding and repairing bear the patina of our human histories. I am drawn to materials which suggest a fragile balance; strength and legacy, yet susceptibility to wear and tear, permeating them with their own intrinsic tactile qualities.
What was your route to becoming an artist? (Formal training or another pathway?)
Foundation Course in Art followed by a BA Honours Degree in Printed and Woven Textiles at Manchester School of Art. Further studies include a Postgraduate Certificate in Arts Practice at the University of Derby, and an ‘Artists Professional Development Programme: Arts in Health’ at Staffordshire University.
Professional experience has also included numerous projects working in partnership with Arts and Museum services, contemporary craft organisations, and galleries, and schools and colleges, alongside making my own work. I was also Artist in Residence at Coventry War Memorial Park for several months, as part of a ‘Making Moves’ project with ‘Craftspace’ – www.makingmoves.org
What is your chosen medium and what are your techniques?
I work with a variety of materials: natural cloths and papers, yarns and strings, paint, charcoal, weathered wood, etc. I choose and create forms, surfaces and marks that for me, are an expression of physical and emotional landscapes, times, places, relationships and memories. Innate, interwoven and touching on a sense of spiritual. Fleeting, ephemeral, visceral and embedded. My current practice has its origins in stitched cloths. Though undoubtedly rooted in ‘weaving’, ‘embroidery’ and ‘patchwork’, I experiment with and refine processes in a search to describe the way elements have imprinted themselves in my mind.
Fragments of materials are brought together in a similar way to collage or assemblage, with tiny holding stitches to capture layers. I create gestural marks with threads, paint, charcoal, and other media, and printmaking, felting, papermaking and woven techniques may be involved.
My relationship with making is visceral. I ‘feel’ where the work emanates from, and is leading, as much as I ‘see’ it. The materiality of cloth, paper, thread, wood and paint connects me to an innate human urge to make marks to decipher the meaning of our physical and emotional landscapes, and the transient nature of the warp and weft of our lives. The slow tactile intimacy of stitching is a mantra.
How would you describe your work and where do you think it fits within the sphere of contemporary art?
Unique objects include framed, hanging and sculptural artworks and installations.
My work explores an intuitive response to linear, textural and light detail within landscape and surface. Abstract compositions evolve through the tactile and contemplative process of drawing with paper, cloth and thread. Mark making is an intrinsic part of my practice: shadowed, scratched, stained, scarred, pierced, wrapped and stitched.
Developments include works on slate and weathered wood grounds, printed and woven elements, and sculptural forms and vessels.
Tell us a bit about your process and what environment you like to work in?
I have a studio that looks out over fields and skies and the light is ever changing. Though I carry my thoughts and concepts with me always, this is my place for making work, a sanctuary and a place to experiment and focus and evolve my ideas.
This space is my sketchbook, gathered within it are collected objects, drawings, marks, compositional sketches, experimental fragments, the beginnings and the endings of evolving pieces.
Do you give talks or run workshops or classes? If so where can readers find information about these?
I do give talks and run workshops for different groups or organisations. Next July I have been invited to teach by ‘Fibre Arts Australia’ in a couple of locations near Melbourne, and I will be delivering a weekend workshop in Stroud in October.
I am also hoping to offer some one day sessions in the Spring, details of which will appear on my website – www.gizellakwarburton.co.uk
Anyone who may be interested in these can contact me directly on [email protected]
How do you go about choosing where to show your work?
I am open minded about new opportunities to show work, but always carefully consider any decisions. My pieces work best in quiet spaces with room to breathe. I am also interested in the juxtaposition of my work with other art forms such as ceramics, sculpture, printmaking, etc. In the last couple of years I have exhibited work overseas in New York, Paris and Le Mans, France.
Where can readers see your work this year?
I have also been invited to show work with Browngrotta Arts, USA, in their new exhibition; ‘Influence and Evolution’, in May 2015 – www.browngrotta.com
Full details of these will be found on my website.