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TRCH David Suchet

Art Works: Louisa Jane Irvine

18 August 12 words: Louisa Jane Irvine

" As a child I loved going to fabric shops to look at the spools of ribbons and threads, feeling and collecting different colours and textures"

I grew up in family of artists and have travelled extensively - both of which have influenced my work. I’m a textile artist, designer and photographer: my mother trained me as a photographer and although I see the world as a photographer , I’ve always been fascinated by textiles. As a child I loved going to fabric shops to look at the spools of ribbons and threads, feeling and collecting different colours and textures. Through my formal creative education I explored my passion for light and texture through photography, but was inspired by the sculpture of Kiki Smith, Magdalena Abakanowicz and Eva Hesse. During my degree I had the opportunity to experiment in a wider range of media and to develop ways to integrate alternative photography techniques with textiles. I haven’t combined the two disciplines for a while as I now I see them as quite separate.

With my textile pieces, I go through cycles of intense periods of producing work, interspersed with periods of learning - I love working with new techniques. After my degree, I did an eighteen-month apprenticeship in traditional Mayan weaving in Guatemala, then spent a couple of years building and exhibiting a body of sculptural textile work between Barcelona and Nottingham, where I explored concepts of femininity and living / dying. Over the past few years, though, I have become somewhat obsessed with perfecting traditional textiles techniques and have taken numerous sewing courses at the Textile Workshop in Sherwood, an amazing resource in Nottingham.

I was based in Nottingham with a studio at Oldknows Factory but have recently relocated to London to work on an Arts Council project. I’m now actively involved in working with a range of organisations who support and promote individual artists and the creative industries across the UK. I am a member of the Board of Trustees for Lewisham Arts Education Network and an active member of Southwark Arts Forum.

I’m in the process of working on a more decorative series of work  creating bespoke and commissioned pieces using the fabrics I've been gathering from markets and charity shops for the past ten years. This new strand of work is more inspired by other people's memories, and includes a bit more colour and pattern, than my previous work.  I always use craft-based, labor-intensive methods of production, and focus on materials and process.

Weighting, and some of my other work in the past, has been created using hundreds of pairs of my grandmother's old silk and nylon stockings. I exhibited a similar piece to this one in Barcelona several years ago, when my grandmother was at the end of her life. It's quite a personal piece for me, though, and I haven't felt like exhibiting it in the UK as of yet.

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