The Embroidered Thread: Interpretations from Australia and America: Meredith Woolnough & Jennifer Crenshaw
The Embroidered Thread: Interpretations from Australia and America: Meredith Woolnough & Jennifer Cranshaw
The latest exhibition at Newcastle’s Timeless Textiles Gallery presents the work of two internationally renowned textile artists. These two artists have never met, but they both use a unique medium.
Meredith Woolnough and Jennifer Crenshaw both use an unusual embroidery technique. Working with a domestic sewing machine and a fabric that dissolves in water, they create delicate sculptural forms unlike anything you will have seen before.
The upcoming exhibition; The Embroidered Thread: Interpretations from Australia and America, presents their work together for the first time. While each artist approaches the medium in different ways, there is a comfortable familiarity in the works.
Celebrated local artist Meredith Woolnough has exhibited work at Timeless Textiles several times over the last five years. Her elegant embroidered traceries capture the beauty and fragility of nature in knotted embroidery threads. Through a delicate system of tiny stitches she creates intricate and complex openwork compositions. They are pinned like preserved specimens in shadow boxes.
Meredith’s work involves extensive fieldwork to research the natural specimens that she depicts. In this latest body of work, she has taken her inspiration from plants that are close to her home.
“Since becoming a mother, it has been hard to get to exotic places to study plants,” she explains. “I have kept my fieldwork local. I study my houseplants or leaves collected on walks with my daughter. It is nice to study and appreciate the natural beauty on my doorstep.”
By focusing on the veins, patterns and colours of leaves, she aims to highlight the beautiful intricacies in leaves, which are often overlooked. Some of the works are large-scale studies of a single leaf. Others feature more than 100 leaves in swirling designs.
American artist, Jennifer Crenshaw, says her work with free motion embroidery began with the desire to create multiple motifs and shapes using metallic threads. She wanted to create free forms that are not attached to a substrate.
“Through repetitive motion I am able to join the individual shapes and create sculptural forms. I use my knowledge of weaving, drawing and sewing to create my work.”
Jennifer describes a ‘cathartic expression’, which comes through the rhythmic work process and allows her a psychological relief. Visually, this process translates into individual shapes, which are joined into singular, dynamic and sculptural forms. The act of gathering, the tactile use of material, and the freedom of movement with the sewing machine create new opportunities in the way that the shapes are joined.
“My artwork explores simple geometric forms, and also narratives about nature and the cycle of life,” she explains. “The movement of the artwork and the flexibility of how to construct each installation is very liberating and spontaneous.”
Each of Jennifer’s installations has the ability to take on new forms, shapes and shadows. By hanging, suspending in space or placing on a flat surface, a new set of patterns and reflections emerge and the artwork is re-born.
“It allows me to let go of control and to trust internal cues, which come from years of working with the elements of design,” she explains. “The process becomes a dialogue between creation and creator. It is the result of responsive interaction with the unfolding story of the work.”