African Odyssey – A Common Thread
Three established textile artists share a new body of work taking fabrics and inspiration from Africa as the overall theme, hence the common thread.
Janice Gunner, Liz Hewitt and Magie Relph, three friends who share a passion for using African fabrics in their own way, have joined forces to present an exciting and varied exhibition. Each artist, working to their own style and interpretation of the theme, presents new work that interprets their actual or metaphorical travels with fabric. The results include a wide variety of techniques, including hand and machine stitching.
Stitching is a vital part of Janice’s life, whether by hand or machine. Her recent work featured Shibori techniques, screen printing and improv piecing but for this exhibition Janice has worked with a variety of techniques using a wide range of African fabrics, including those dyed in Indigo and Kola nut.
Liz has taken two different themes based on the uses of strip cloth – bogolan (mud cloth) and indigo dyed cloth. Firstly Liz explores the traditional uses and language bound within mud cloth, experimenting with natural pigments. Secondly Liz explores the process of mending, using patching, piecing, Kantha, Boro and fragments of vintage Indigo fabrics collected from around the world, to mend and create new cloths, and honouring the original makers and preserving its beauty.
Her 35-year love affair with African fabrics has taken Magie Relph by truck, bus, car and donkey cart to villages and markets across 32 African countries – researching and buying African textiles for her fair trade business The African Fabric Shop. Inevitably the colours, designs and textures of Africa are key influences in her work.