Textile Study Group

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Shelley Rhodes

Artist statement

I am interested in observing and recording detail: extracting small marks found in nature or on man-made objects. I am drawn to the effects of time, the transience of nature, the things that go un-noticed and the ever changing fragility of the things that I encounter. Current work explores the impact of man on the environment in particular, the bleaching and destruction of the world's coral reefs, due to rising sea temperatures. New work also begins to investigate the impact of discarded plastic on our oceans and marine life.

Much of my work involves fragmentation followed by reconstruction and repair. I use techniques inspired by Kantha and Japanese Boro, layering scraps of distressed, pre-used fabrics and paper to create a new whole by piecing, patching and layering. Work usually begins by collecting, drawing, mark-making and printing. Fabric and paper are also painted, dyed and stained. After careful selection, the small pieces are layered, pieced and patched, then held together with stitch or other materials such as metal, plaster, nails, pins, tacks, staples, fishing line, wire or whatever is relevant to the subject.

Another central part of my practice is working in sketchbooks, sometimes as preparatory work or a way of investigating a subject but other times purely for the pleasure of drawing. I draw and record daily, creating small visual diaries. This helps me to look, see and select what is important to me. Drawings, paintings, collage, words, text, photographs and found objects become an integral part of my sketchbooks. I enjoy the freedom and spontaneity that working in sketchbooks brings. I explore different approaches to sketchbooks in my book, 'Sketchbook Explorations - for Mixed-Media and Textile Artists' published by Batsford 2018.

I teach workshops from my studio, as well as venues though out the UK and abroad.

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