Distant Horizons: Nicola Henley

The life of birds has been a consistent preoccupation for textile artist Nicola Henley. Especially the freedom offered to birds through flight, a freedom gifted to humans through air travel.

Having that freedom curtailed by COVID travel restrictions forced a period of introspection for Henley, as it did for many of us. It resulted in the creative outpouring that forms her latest exhibition – Distant Horizons – opening at Timeless Textiles Gallery in January next year.

Being prevented from visiting loved ones, who she had always been able to spend time with, was disturbing for Henley. It made her aware of how precious that ‘freedom’ is.

“Maybe I wasn’t allowed to ‘fly away’ on one level, but like many of us I found a way to feel free inside, through the power of nature,” she said. “My garden was full of birds, bird song and life, I cherished that voice of nature and imagined my distant horizons always open to me.”

Henley’s interest in birds is based on their movement and how they interact with the land and seascapes in which they fly. It conjures for her something deeper and more universal – personal freedom and our ability to choose where and how we live our lives.

“It gives me hope that so many people became aware of our connection with the living world through this strange time”, she said. “I hope that the work in the exhibition will help to remind us of that connection and feel the sense of our inner freedom, which is boundless and beyond measure.”

Henly mused on this theme of finding internal freedom through imagination.

“Our ability to dream and imagine beyond the material is our way to remain free because we are more than material beings, we have our souls, and through creativity we can access and express this deepest part of ourselves.”

Nicola Henley has achieved this in Distant Horizons exhibition.


04 Jan 2023 - 12 Feb 2023


8:00 am - 6:00 pm