Material Pulses: Riffe Gallery,
State of Ohio, USA
An artist exhibition of quilt and surface design artists by Nancy Crow, with an emphasis on mark-making. Featuring the work of Claire Benn and many other notable teacher and student artists who have worked with Nancy over the years. (Click image to play video.)
Video Courtesy: The Ohio Channel, USA
My work is mixed media with a focus on art textiles. I love cloth and my starting point is a plain, white piece of ‘canvas’ (currently linen or cotton), but I choose not to stretch it over a frame when I’m done. Using cloth offers me the scope to work with a wider range of media – including dye and discharging agents – in addition to paint and paper. Hand stitch is important for me as a meditative process that allows me to get up close and handle the cloth. My current work ranges in size from 2m x 1.25m down to 80x80cm. Working on smaller pieces allows me to experiment – I think of them as ‘sketches’ that enable me to sample ideas before committing to a larger scale.
I’m currently focused on work based on three streams: travels to remote landscapes such as Patagonia or northern Norway; places of strong visual interest (such as the restored timber-framed barn I work in) and finally, intensive hand stitching.
My landscape works reflect my preference for the wilderness – areas that are desolate, bleak and without much to offer to the eye. But, these places offer the opportunity to look – at the whole and at the small details. Subtle changes in colour or value, a tree-line, an abandoned structure, natural forms, pure lines. Remote places also offer an atmosphere of stillness, simplicity and restfulness – something I try to recreate in my work.
Places of strong visual interest – such as Potter’s Farm Barn – give me a different kind of visual stimulus. The structural elements of the barn – particularly in its derelict state – offered much to the eye; raw edges, saw marks, rotten wood, nails and chains, bits of steel, bird shit, bright green moss, dangling ivy, layers of detritus and junk – all contained within the strong structure of the timber frame. Whilst the restoration has cleaned this all up, trace evidence still remains. The barn is also well placed to view the sky and incoming weather, which in turn drive different levels of light - highlighting details or casting interesting shadows.
Finally, my third stream of work is intensive hand stitching. In 2013 James and I experienced a 28-day detox process at an Ayurvedic clinic in India. My occupation and meditation during this ‘Panchakarma’ period was to hand stitch a large piece of linen (hence the title of the piece). I love the outcome and will continue to devote time to develop more of these pieces.