The Many Faces of Nalda Searles

By Anne Kempton

Face 1 – ecodyed cotton, handmade felt and woollen blanket in rusted box.  

Face 1B (back of 1) – woollen blanket, fabric paints and thread in rusted box.  

Face 2 – casted cement fondue in rusted box.  

Face 3 – watercolour, buffalo paper, embroidery thread.  

Face 4 – metal fabric, resin and thread.  

Face 5 – paper, handmade inks in rusted box.  

Face 6 – hand made felt, embroidery thread, eco dyed linen napkin, hand made inks.  

Why Nalda Searles?

Nalda Searles is a highly regarded WA fibre artist, who has spent decades working collaboratively with Indigenous women in the bush. I am inspired by her love of interpretive mark making; found objects and natural materials; including bush plants fibres and her link to family history. 

I have explored many techniques: felt making; paper-mache; drawing; abstractions; cement fondue; resin masks and screen printing in an attempt to present the many faces of Nalda Searles. The rusted tin frames encapsulate these faces, hopefully presenting one intriguing face of Nalda who has contributed so much to the world of fibre art. This artwork is a broad presentation of Nalda’s materials and techniques, celebrating her unique contribution to fibre art- a nod to her work by incorporating marks of red (stitching, kangaroo paws or glasses), handmade ink and dyes from the desert, and found objects.

About the Artist

Anne’s passion for fibre art started at her mother’s knee – this enchantment with colour, the richness of fabric falling at her feet as she pedalled the Singer sewing machine. Soon followed a hoarder’s hungry passion, collecting from many cultures and points in time.

Anne is both a practising fibre artist and the owner of Timeless Textiles Gallery, which is the only commercial fibre art gallery in Australia. Anne initially started as a fibre artist under the watchful eye of feltmakers; Polly Stirling and Sylvia Watt and has since had the pleasure of working with many fibre artists around the world.

Anne loves to work with mixed media, especially in sculpture.  Anne is committed to raising the profile and collectability of fibre art.


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