Nicole Ladrak: From conception to creation
Textile artist Nicole Ladrak continues to develop her style since graduating from college in 1984. Her work is figurative and portrays, mostly female characters and still-life subjects. The colorful final result always has a surprisingly strong spatial effect, especially when viewed at a distance.
Nicole trained at the Academy of Arts in Amsterdam. During her training she created her own unique technique of manufacture. In her artworks she uses this approach that can best be described as “textile paintings”. Paintings without paint or glue. In addition to her work as an artist she has also taught in several educational institutions and has designed the costumes of several theatre productions. Since 1998 she has her own atelier, which is located at the basement of her house in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
In this interview, which is part of our From Conception to Creation series, Nicole discusses a recent piece entitled ‘Wren’. We discover what instigated the work and explore step by step how it was created.
Name of piece: ‘Wren’
Year of piece: October 2015
Size of piece: 10 x 10 cm
Materials used: Textile
Techniques/methods used: Application
A fondness for birds
Nicole Ladrak: I have a great fondness for birds, especially for the little ones. I have a holiday home in the North of France with a large garden where many birds live. And also in my city garden in Amsterdam they fly off and on.
As an inspiration for my work I look at the birds in their natural habitat, but for the details I use the Internet. It is hard to see all the small lines with the naked eye. It is amazingly beautiful to see a bird in detail.
How do you do it?
Sometimes I make a few designs before I start, but usually I create the work directly on the canvas. I start with gathering all the colours of fabric I want to work with. My working process is very much based on colour, no matter how big or small the artwork is going to be.
I often get the question: how do you do it? And I always try to clarify, that it is only textile! No paint, no glue, just textile. I buy the fabric on the market.
Putting the art together
Along with the fabric I use needles, yarn, scissors and a lot of pins. This is all I use to put my artworks together. Using several levels of textiles, an initial image is made, which I then cover with tulle to create a background atmosphere. The perspective and depth are then further enhanced by creating light and dark areas. Big playful stitches are then applied to the tulle and the initial image to illustrate and emphasize essential outlines. The work is figurative in style and portrays, mostly female characters and still-life subjects. The colourful final result always has a surprisingly strong spatial effect, especially when viewed at a distance.
Flying the nest
This little bird goes to gallery Artacasa in Amsterdam for the exposition in February 2016. Till then he will stay with me. I make different sizes of work. From bigger artworks as you can see on the pictures below, but also very small works (10 x 10 cm). At the moment, with Christmas coming, there is a lot of demand for small birds, used as small presents. After all these years I still love my work. I hope to continue for several more years and to create more and more.
I will now show how to get from fabrics and stitches, to a tiny little bird. The technique for large or small work does not differ from each other. But when I make a larger artwork, I work with larger pieces of fabric.
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