Textiles and Design

Zoe McNamara



Textile art

The focus area this textiles project falls under is the category of textiles art, in the form of a wallhanging. The wallhanging incorporates a range of techniques and skills to create an aesthetically pleasing textural artwork.

It is to be displayed as an aesthetic feature in a communal place of gathering, where it can showcase its innovation and creativity. One of the main inspirations for the wallhanging is the intricate beauty found in the forms of the coral reef, jellyfish and other sea creatures.

These ancient forms are older than the existence of human beings, and deserve our reverence and protection. Within the wallhanging, their story is told through the intricacy of the tapestry, crochet features, form, structure, compositional clusters and peaceful movement.

Another source of inspiration is the ancient wallhanging the Bayeux Tapestry, depicting the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England. Its size, harmony, freshness of colours and storytelling are all concepts that have been adopted in the textile art.

The subject matter has been further inspired by the wall frescos of the Ancient Cretan artists, who revered the ocean and its creatures. This has been reflected through the use of movement and aquatic forms on a large scale in textile art.

Another focus area for this project is the concept of movement inspired by Japanese Ukiyo artist Hokusai’s Great Wave woodblock print, where a great wave encompasses the small boats. However, the focal point is what is below the wave and not on top of the wave. Both waves use line directionally to show movement of the wave and the crashing of the wave, but the textile wallhanging illustrates the crashing of the wave with a cluster of white hyperbolic stitching.

Further inspiration for this project is the sculptor Courtney Mattison, who creates ceramic sculptures of coral structures, and textiles designer Meredith Woolnough, who uses a non-woven fabric-making technique of threads and dissolvable vilene to make textile artworks.

My aim was to similarly bring depth and dimension by adding texture to a world that many only experience as a flat screen.

The coral reef is a textural place filled with a wide variety of different coral structures. The aim of the wallhanging was to capture these structures in essence and bring a tactile nature to the piece. This can be seen through the imaginative re-creations of oceanic life forms.

The softness and fluidity of the jellyfish structures resemble the ebb and flow movement of the jellyfish. The warm water of the tropical reef is symbolised by the warmth of the wool. Viewers can trace the wave-like structures woven in latch-hook coming to a crashing, foaming of the water with hyperbolic crochet and French knots.

The last focus area for this HSC textiles project is the idea of preserving the handmade processes. The wallhanging was made from handmade artisanal techniques including latch-hooking, hyperbolic crocheting, embroidery, needle felting and knitting.

The organic processes, techniques and materials are very important and can further be reflected through the hand dyeing of the wool and fabrics with avocados and rusted metal.

The inspirations and evident decorative features and techniques of the wall hanging complement each other, working well together to subsequently create a tactile and visually intricate piece of textile art.

The overall brief for this project was to create a unique piece of textile art which was both a statement piece that engages audience in all its intricacies and tranquil comfort within the subject matter and textural forms. The use of these many materials and techniques enables the project to meet its intention.