Textile exhibit ties loose threads

February 29, 2024 BY

Sashiko: Embroidery and Japanese-style stitching by Lois Odgen features in the Ballarat Fibre and Textiles Network exhibition. Photo: SUPPLIED


LOOSE threads will be tied up as members of the Ballarat Fibre and Textile Network showcase the creative pieces they’ve been working on over the last year.

The group’s 2024 exhibition, Loose Threads, is coming to the Mercure Hotel and Convention Centre from Tuesday 26 March to Friday 26 April, presenting artwork in many hanging and 3D forms.

“We have many artists that do things from different sources; old VHS tapes, crochet and kitting, doilies that are torn apart and woven,” said exhibition coordinator Jenni Smith.

“It isn’t just about embroidery or patchwork. Many of the members are using things in new ways.

“In saying that, it’s traditionally some form of embroidery or patchwork that got the members first working with fibre and textiles.

“But everyone’s got their own journeys, and this is a showcase of where they’ve come to at this point.”

Smith, an embroiderer who joined the network for a new challenge, said many members of the group take inspiration from the natural world.

“Sometimes literally, using leaves and other natural resources to dye fabric, or to create wonderful eco-printed material, which can also progress into producing bags and scarves,” she said.

“Fleeces can be spun into fibre, wet or dry felted and otherwise manipulated, to be used to create beautiful objects, both useful and purely decorative.

“Some members create landscapes, animals and birds, either realistically or in a whimsical manner.”

The network has 32 members, some of which are exhibiting in the show, and Smith said she hopes the works she has curated show visitors that there are different ways of making and expressing art beyond canvas and paper.

“When you say art, people immediately think paintings, watercolours, and sketching, so we’re expressing that there are other forms of art that don’t fall into that painting and drawing experience,” she said.

“It will open the minds of people to what others are doing in their house, at their kitchen bench or in their studio, working and producing a wonderful array of artworks.”

The network celebrated 25 years in 2023, and Smith said they are always seeking new contributors.

“New members bring new ideas, and we are a sharing group,” she said.