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Susie Gillespie

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Earth materials 2023

Unearthed 2023

Perhaps in an unconscious search for something human and elemental, I am influenced by prehistoric and early textiles. Practising spinning yarn with a distaff I am struck what a human thing it is to make cloth from bits of organic fibre, and of the hours spent at the loom to produce a small quantity of cloth. Cloth must have been much more valued than it is now, each piece being put to good use, gradually being cut down and re-used, until only patches remained to be sewn together into new form before returning to the earth.

 

My work is connected with the processes that form textiles, not only in the growing and harvesting of plants that yield fibre, but in the spinning, weaving and stitching of yarn. There is an energy in hand-made material, its ‘clothiness’, the way it shimmers in certain light, the unevenness of the yarn that give it texture and life. Unplanned, I weave as I reflect, in an intuitive process that allows the inherent qualities of the yarn to assert its nature.

 

Using unbleached linen that came from an ancient French mill or with linen and nettle that I have processed myself, some pieces are coarse and as wide as my loom allows, others are fine and small, sewn together later into larger form. 

 

I have developed my own method of ‘beating down’ that creates an organic yet contemporary style.

 

Besides the range of natural colour of the yarn, I use dye that I make from the tannin of oak galls, or clay paint. I often add crude stitching to my work.

 

Composed of abstract, textured elements, these two pieces are a reflection of this.

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