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Archive > Deborah O'Toole, Unravelling

Opening Event on 28 November from 6pm - 9pm

Exhibition runs from 6pm, 28 November - 3pm, 11 December 2014

I am drawn to the tactile nature of fabrics and am interested in the almost 3 dimensional quality resulting when layers are stitched together. I enjoy exploring the boundaries between textile craft and art, taking domestic techniques such as quilting, embroidery and crochet to a conceptual, artistic level. With a background in performing arts, I have a fascination with the glamour of theatrical costumes and haute couture, and began my practice using reclaimed and vintage fabrics and embellishments, many inherited from my late Nan’s stash. Inspiration is found on travels, looking closely at the natural world and in the materials themselves. My recent work employs the technique of eco-dyeing; a method of applying colour and/or prints to natural fabrics using leaves, flowers and other organic matter I find in my garden and local area. The resulting fabric is then cut, quilted, stitched and beaded to produce pieces with a fluid and organic yet contemporary aesthetic. I celebrate the imperfect, encouraging frayed edges, loose threads, blemishes and wandering lines of stitching rather than the straight and tidy. Combining luxe fabrics, metallic thread and beads with the rough-hewn finish, I achieve the artistic version of a dishevelled princess at the conclusion of the ball. I like to allow the material to direct the work; layering, folding, manipulating and placing fabrics and embellishments until my gut speaks to me. The challenge is to listen to this intuition and strike that balance between instinct and intellect.

‘Unravelling” represents the strongest of my work to date; a body of work amassed over nine years of practice. Reviewing the collection chronologically, and observing the dramatic drift towards a looser, more organic aesthetic, I see my artistic expression freeing, relaxing, unravelling like thread from it’s tightly wound spool.

In 2011 I graduated with Dip Arts, Studio Textile And Design at RMIT.